I mentioned a few days ago in my Terra Sol post that I drove up 101 from Southern to Northern California. I made one other stop besides Terra Sol, at a great place called Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria, not far from Santa Barbara. Not only do they have a pretty cool nursery (full disclosure: it seemed somewhat overrun by ants), but an amazing, extensive garden divided into sections. My favorite of the sections were "Succulents" (duh) and "South African" (because it contained so many succulents). As you can see from the pictures below, the fabulousness was pretty thorough.
Given the amount of time I spend at Stanford, I make my way to the Arizona Garden relatively often. It had been a couple of months, so I headed over there today and checked out how everything is doing, especially since we've had a little rain. Every time I'm there, I notice something new, and this visit was no exception. (Who knew we had astrophytums, for example?) If you're a regular reader of the blog, you've seen some of these before, but bear with me... and enjoy the photos.
On my way back from a work trip this weekend, I decided to take 101 (yay!) instead of 5 (yawn!) from Southern to Northern California. Not only was the traffic a little lighter, but--oh darn--it took me past some cool-looking nurseries I had never visited.
The best of these was Terra Sol Garden Center in Santa Barbara (don't be fooled by the unassuming website--these folks are pros), which had at least a dozen plants I hadn't seen for sale anywhere else. As the more seasoned succ-ers among you know, after a few years as a succulent devotee, this almost never happens anymore outside of plant society sales, so I was seriously stoked.
Of course, I'd never leave you out in the cold, dear readers--I made sure to snap a few pics so you could spend money unwisely vicariously through me.
First, they had a whole slew of Renny hybrids. As many haworthia fans will know, Renny is a legend, and she offers some of the weirdest, most striking, and most richly variegated haworthias out there. Usually I can't afford her plants unless they're wee seedlings--I've seen her stuff on eBay go for hundreds of dollars(!). These particular hybrids were $29.99 each, which is far less than comparable plants would cost on eBay ($50-80). True, there were no extra-special variegated maughaniis or anything, but it was still a cool selection. Observe:
Let's look at a couple of those a little more closely. (Click on them for a larger image.)
...Aaaand, let's look at the one I bought even more closely. Because HOLY COW IS IT BEAUTIFUL. When I got home, I just put it on the kitchen counter and basically forced my poor partner to examine it with me for 20 minutes. She maintains that it looks like "all [my] other haworthias." Which, actually, it does not. It is totally unique and a thing of beauty. But wonderful and indulgent woman that she is, she understood how much it thrills me and just sort of smiled and rolled her eyes.
Even though agave Joe Hoaks have been getting more and more popular, you still don't see them all that often (at least not up in Northern California). But a mere agave Joe Hoak wouldn't be sufficient for the likes of Terra Sol. Check out this ridiculously cool variegate:
Next, lower left is a cool ant made of rusted metal and stones, sitting atop maybe the largest mound of abromeitiella brevifolia I've ever seen. And how about the plant on the lower right? Now that's what I call a caudex.
The selection of agaves there was also terrific. Two of my favorites are below: agave titanoa "white ice" to the left, and a variegated agave blue glow (sometimes called "agave snow glow") below to the right.
Next, the elusive aloe polyphylla (spiral aloe):
On the lower left is an aloe rubroviolacea, which has been on my wish list for ages and ages, but I can never find a small one anywhere, and the big ones are far too expensive. Unfortunately, this streak was unbroken at Terra Sol. (If anyone knows where I can find a wee one, please share the info!) On the lower right, check out this cool tylecodon bonsai. I'm not sure what species this is--any guesses?
And last but not least, a really lovely leuchtenbergia principis, in all its sun-stressed glory. Fun fact about this plant: it's the sole species in its genus!
My awesome partner bought me a little drawer a while back, figuring that I could do something succulent with it. I love drawers with little compartments, and put a succulent in each, along with some nice varied top dressing. As you can see, I went with quite a variety of plants: haworthias, crassulas, a sempervivum, a gasteria, an astroloba, a faucaria, and more. I quite like how it turned out! For now, I'm keeping it in my greenhouse under some shade cloth until I find a home for this particular project.
I haven't posted in a while, and this is because I have been spending my succulent-related time (1) reading about succulents and (2) messing around on Instagram. If you're not on Instagram yet, what are you waiting for? Check out my Instagram account here. Sure, the app makes it easy to oversaturate photos and Hipsterize your succulent pics into oblivion. But it's also super fun, and a great way to check out other people's plant photos (especially photos from other countries). Are all of you on Instagram already, or am I late to the party?