Long after closing time at Baron Brothers Nursery, dozens of creatures remain behind to frolic around the lily pond on the 4-acre property in Camarillo. There are children with fishing poles, grizzly bears hunting salmon, youngsters wrestling puppies, graceful deer and howling coyotes.
“We have the largest selection of bronze statuary in the area,” says James Baron, who, with his brother Richard, owns the company. “The faces on the kids are like Botticelli’s; they are just really beautiful.”
When James and Richard Baron launched Pacific Landscaping Service in 1972 little did they know it would eventually grow to include a full-service retail garden center, 220 acres of growing ground and a reputation for carrying heritage specimen trees.
Alongside the large selection of plants, the garden center has all the tools and inspiration you need to make a garden thrive. Rows of Chinese glazed and Italian clay pots in various shapes and sizes offer plenty of choices. But it is the topiaries that command the most interest. They include simple spirals, Japanese-style pompoms, dinosaurs and a full topiary airplane poised to launch over a group of sculpted children at play. And, if customers don’t find just what they want, Baron Brothers will custom order it for them.
7568 Santa Rosa Road, Camarillo
DRESS IT UP WITH A WATER FEATURE
Carleen Reinstein says some loyal customers come to Meadow Gardens simply to relax and soak in the ambiance—the soothing sounds of water trickling from dozens of garden fountains, her birds singing gently, the heavenly scent of fine candles.
But that’s not her primary goal. This special place carries fountains, fine pots and statuary, all competitively priced and poised to adorn local gardens large and small. It’s more about helping customers create their own home garden retreats.
Meadow Gardens has a large selection of fountains reflecting styles inspired by fine American prop-erties such as the Biltmore House in North Carolina and Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. It also has Asian designs as well as lovely, rich Mediterranean styles.
The store, in its 14th year, evolved out of Reinstein’s work as a landscape designer. That coupled with her background in department store merchandising prepared her for what she does now, running a charming shop chock-full of fountains, pottery and small garden accessories.
31149 Via Colinas, Westlake Village
When retired schoolteacher Laurie Turner began thinking about what she wanted to do with the next chapter of her life, her husband asked her, “What’s your passion?” Her response was immediate: “gardening and old stuff.”
Turner is always searching for great old things, particularly from 1950s. She keeps them in their aged stage, rusted, peeling and in need of repair, what she describes as “time-weathered.”
Wandering through the shop and its garden is like going on a treasure hunt. The concrete animals tend to be from the 1940s. Although some people like to clean them up and give them a fresh coat of paint, Turner prefers them in their original state, peeled to perfection by the years.
Vintage Garden also carries a line of birdhouses newly constructed out of aged barn wood and specialty pottery by Guy Wolff and Campo de Fiori.
Artist Lynn Conlan helps Turner run the shop and her charming watercolors are show-cased throughout.
Vintage Garden & Bloom
1696 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Owner Glenn Izard opened Nordic Nursery in Newbury Park 35 years ago, when the stretch along the 101 Freeway ran through miles of open space, and new homes were still popping up by the dozens.
Today the friendly, family-run nursery is a full-service garden center with a nice selection of fountains, pottery and garden accessories.
The pottery, mostly Asian and Italian, is stacked in rows beneath the shade of a large old oak tree. It’s a pleasant atmosphere for browsing through pots glazed in brilliant blues, sea greens and white with embossed scrolling.
The gift shop is filled with garden accessories. There are some lovely hummingbird feeders, wind chimes in all shapes and sizes, and unusual garden garnishes like the peat moss purse planters. And kids can enjoy the garden tools made for small hands.
But Izard says Nordic’s real “claim to fame” is knowledge and expertise. This gardener likes it because of its personal appeal, a far cry from the big-box warehouse stores. And that’s why customers from Malibu and Calabasas, and from Camarillo and Moorpark come to take advantage of Nordic’s treasures.
1312 Newbury Road