These are the blooms of the California Bay Tree (Umbellaria californica). It grows in the foothills below 4000â€™ elevation, in our case mixed with manzanita and other chaparral. The leaves when crushed have a wonderfully powerful fragrance, more powerful than bay leaves (Laurus nobilis). California bay can be used in cooking but more sparingly than Grecian Laurel.
Another native plant in bloom is manzanita. The flowers are bell shaped and pink. Often the first that you notice the blooms is the sound of beeâ€™s busy flying from flower to flower. Manzanita is a main component of the chaparral that occurs in the foothills.
What music do you hear when you garden? This is an area dear to my heart since I have always made it a point to have music playing at the garden center. We play classical and jazz. We play this music since I have always liked it and have found that it fits in nicely with the garden center experience. We donâ€™t play opera, country, rock, or most other genre. I love most music and have a special spot for good old rock and roll but have found that classical and jazz are great as garden center music. Since people donâ€™t listen to classical and jazz as often it is something different that they associate with the garden center. â€œI love the music you playâ€ or â€œWhere did you get this CDâ€ is what we hear.
We donâ€™t just play any classical but gear ourselves toward Mozart, Bach, Handel, and other baroque or rococo styles. The melodic melodies are uplifting and not as intense as modern classical. In the world of Jazz we like the classics. We have also started playing some Afro-Cubana, and Caribbean style tunes. The music should be something that is easy or fun and not the normal background music you hear at the grocery store or when stepping on an elevator.
I donâ€™t believe that any music will work. Rock and roll does not work for us but maybe it would for someone else. Monica and our employees are always trying to get me to change the CD or tuner to something more hip. I donâ€™t play the music to be hip but rather to set the tone for what we hope will be a remarkable and different garden center experience.