No visit to Abigail would be complete without a trip to Tim's Nursery.
Nestled in the rolling hills outside Martinez, it's a very long drive down a winding country lane, past several very muddy horse pastures, a house with an amazing array of faded plastic flowers in front, and finally - this sign:
The nursery is flanked on one side by a truly amazing border, packed full of flowering trees, overgrown shrubs and tangled perennials.
The nursery itself is a complete jumble - and everything looks like it's been there forever: all the plants are rooted firmly into the mud.
With cries of delight we search through the tumble down shade house at the back of the nursery - hostas and astilbe and ferns are strewn around, pots splitting open, self seeding annuals everywhere. I unearth a perfectly gorgeous weigela in a 5 gallon can - for $12.00.
On this visit, I finally meet the mysterious Tim. When he hears that I've driven up from Santa Barbara he is silent, smoke from his cigarette curling up around his face. He finally says: (with absolutely no inflection) "That's a long way to come."
The very sweet Mario helps us load everything carefully into the car: trunk, backseat, floors - he tucks them in as tenderly as one would a sleeping baby.