We were distressed to learn the Australian Native Plant Nursery in Casitas Springs, California was burned in the recent Southern California wildfires.

Australian Native Plant Nursery, Casitas Springs, California with dry hillside

Owner, Jo O’Connell, had enough time to pack up a trailer of plants, personal affects, and most of her collection of Australian plant books. While her home was lost, neighbors report much of the nursery may have been spared.

I have known Jo for many years and enjoyed her warm and enthusiastic company as well as her hospitality while learning about the remarkable Australian plants that are so well adapted to our summer dry climate.

Jo O’Connell walking in her Australian Native Plant Nursery with neighbor, Ventura, California

Jo came to the United States as a consultant to Taft Garden in Ojai and we are lucky she fell in love with California, as she has a keen understanding of those plants that can adapt to our climate, and keeps trying new ones.

Jo O’Connell working in her Australian Native Plant Nursery, Ventura, California

We don’t yet know the extent of damages but Jo says: “we will be back; plants are what we do”.  Spoken like a true gardener.

Enjoy these photos of garden.

Callistemon ‘Kings Park Special’, red flowering summer-dry drought tolerant shrub
Maireana sedifolia, Pearl Bluebush, silver, gray foliage drought tolerant shrub
Lomandra hystrix ‘Katie Belles’ or L. ‘Tropic Belles’ with Callistemon ‘Slim’;
Ozothamnus diosmifolius, Rice Flower shrub
Callistemon ‘Slim’, red flowering shrub; Australian Native Plant Nursery, Ventura, California

The nursery is only open by appointment, as it is tiny operation. But the business will open one way or another in the spring.

Nursery entrance, Australian Native Plant Nursery, Ventura, California

Please support her business and her remarkable collection of plants.

Hakea arachaeoides, flowering shrub; Australian Native Plant Nursery, Ventura, California

Gallery of photos


  1. Thank you for this heartbreaking update. I have friends who live near Ojai and I had gotten news that her nursery had been lost to these horrific fires. I was deeply concerned. This is one of my favorite nurseries in SoCal and Jo is an exceptional person and cultivator of plants. I am sorry to hear she lost her home. Glad she is safe and fighting already to come back in the Spring.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.