Last Sunday, after a very fruitful trip to Native Revival Nursery (more about that later) I went to the local Summerwinds Nursery in search for a few things Native Revival hadn't carried. The Summerwinds Nursery has a nice native plant section with healthy plants from Summerwinds Nurseries, though their selection isn't very big.
I was lucky to find exactly what I was looking for, an upright native Mahonia. Strangely enough, the plant, which was labeled as Mahonia aquifolium 'Skylark' was supposed to grow only to 3 feet (so the label said). I needed a plant that grew to about 5 feet. I went home, and the Suncrest Nurseries website assured me that, just like all upright Mahonias, this one would grow to about 5 feet.
Reassured, I returned to the nursery, put 3 Mahonias in my cart, and walked toward the register.
"What's that plant?" a woman stopped me. "A Mahonia," I replied. "It's in the California Natives section. They have a few more." Excited, the woman walked in the direction I was pointing. The same thing happened at the register. Two people wanted to know what the plant was, and I explained.
I left happy and somewhat puzzled. Yes, I can believe that everyone likes Mahonia, with its green foilage and yellow blossoms in the spring and interesting fall color and blue berries in the fall. But it seemed noone had seen the plant before. Do people still stay away from the California Native section just because they're sure they won't like natives? Is the myth of dried sticks and brown grasses still alive?
I'll never know, but I'm very happy with my purchase, and hope they'll enjoy my garden, grow to 5 feet and give me flowers and berries for the birds.