WEATHER »
Seaside Gardens Office Manager Diana Sandner and Alex Martinez.

Paul Wellman

Seaside Gardens Office Manager Diana Sandner and Alex Martinez.


Secrets of Seaside Gardens

Plant Nursery and Public Gardens


Tucked away amid the throng of wholesale nurseries lining Carpinteria’s Via Real sits one of Santa Barbara’s best-kept secrets. Though it’s been in business for 12 years, Seaside Gardens stays under the radar of many garden-minded folks, perhaps due to the fact that at first glance it resembles a private garden, rather than a bustling retail center. Therein lies the magic of Seaside: While the nursery encompasses more than three acres (and is currently expanding), more than 80 percent of its landscape is devoted to a unique and worldly botanical garden.

A visit to a nursery can be a restorative event. Whether or not you have aspirations to actually plant roots, meandering through aisles of flourishing flora can’t help but induce a state of Zen, if not euphoria. Couple that feeling with the opportunity to view what an Australian grevillea or a Hong Kong orchid will look like once they’re out of their 5- or 10-gallon pots and in the ground for a few years, and visits to Seaside begin to resemble an experience more akin to nonprofit Lotusland or the S.B. Botanic Garden.

Indeed, founder and owner Linda Wudl had no lucrative plans for her business when she began Seaside with her husband, Fred. Rather, she envisioned “a garden where people could stroll the paths, learn about plants from different parts of the world, relax in the shade with a cup of coffee … The retail nursery started as a necessity to support the garden and has grown into a wonderful resource.” In this community-minded fashion, she sought out area landscape designers to create striking, separate spaces dedicated to highlighting location-specific species, and in doing so imbued each garden with its own personality while supporting the business of each independent designer.

The garden’s composition runs the gamut from drought-tolerant species from Australia and South Africa to tropical plants from the lush environs of Asia, their common theme being that all can grow successfully in Santa Barbara’s forgiving climate. Despite the changing of seasons, at least one garden is always guaranteed to be in bloom.

Couple this with Seaside’s all-inclusive policy — whether you show up with a picnic lunch, a beloved pet, or cold hard cash for buying plants, you’ll be equally welcomed by the staff, as well as the resident cats and chickens roaming the grounds.

Seaside Gardens will be celebrating the holidays Saturday, December 1, and Sunday, December 2, with a nursery-wide sale, as well as a succulent table centerpiece workshop and visits with Santa.

4•1•1

Seaside Gardens: 3700 Via Real, Carpinteria. For more information, call 684-6001 or visit seaside-gardens.com.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Vigil for Victims in Palestine Held at Courthouse

Community gathers to protest injustice.

Stoker to Be Sworn into EPA Job

Former Santa Barbara County supervisor confirms his appointment as regional head of Environmental Protection Agency.

Live Stream of Channel Island Falcons Makes History

Webcam follows wild peregrine falcon family on the Channel Islands.

Sonos Informs Employees of Potential Layoffs

'Restructuring' could affect 96; how many in Santa Barbara unknown.

Highway 101 Widening Gets a Great Big Check

Senate Bill 1 Sends $183 million for highway and bike-and-hike pathways.