Saturday, April 7, 2012

Grigsby Cactus Gardens review

Grigsby Cactus Gardens is located in Vista, California.  This is my favorite place to buy desert plants.  The prices are very affordable and you can get stuff that you will never find at Home Depot. The staff is friendly and helpful.

They plant stuff into the ground at this nursery!

Cyphostemma Juttae (Desert Grape)

No you can't eat these grapes!

There is a "cash and carry" section where you can buy big established specimens (in a pot) for a very good price.

This is one scaly plant.

Golden barrel with cleistocactus in the back.

Two dragon's blood trees.  These are one of my favorite trees and are probably really old.

This looks like a shrub at first but it's actually large clumps of Euphorbia Resinifera.

Bottled palm (beaucarnea recurvata) planted in the ground.  These caudiciforms (fat plants) have an awesome trunk that retains a lot of water.

This is a growing area.  There are a lot of growing areas actually, so you can't always buy everything that you see.  I'm not certain what they are saving it for.  Nevertheless, your selection is still very large.

Desert bonsai materials are very attractive for those of us who want to water less.

Then there are small plants you just can't resist because they are so unique!

We call this the brain cactus.

These spines look like stars.

How can you say no to a cactus with a red cap?

 This one is a show stopper with it's dense and compact spines and bright red color.

This one has nice leaves.

My wife said one of these totem poles looks like kermit the frog.

This mamillaria has a perfect crown of flowers!

This photo shows you how much pumice you need to use for desert plants soil mix.  Lots!  I would guess 60-70% pumice, with 30-40% cactus mix.  Their webpage is very simple but you can buy plants online and they will be happy to ship it to you.  I love this nursery for acquiring great plant material.  :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Rainforest Flora Inc. nursery review

My wife and I went to an awesome nursery that specializes in Tillandsia and Bromeliads in Torrance, CA. last weekend.

A common name for Tillandsia is "air plants" because they do not need to be embedded in soil. They absorb moisture and nutrients through their leaves and can have beautiful blooms.  You can wire them to a ball wire form and eventually they will grow around it.

My favorite ones are reddish with purple flowers.

This nursery has very beautiful displays and two huge rock boulders that a lot of their airplants are attached to.

They also have a very nice koi pond, and waterfall features.

The arrangement of these plants on deadwood creates a great color and texture contrast that is very pleasing to look at.

This topiary ball consists of Spanish Moss hanging from the top with Tillandsias on the bottom.  These plants can be glued and or wired onto the wire forms or deadwood without harming the plant.

They also carry some exotic tropical plants and a few succulents.

There is a large area where they farm these plants.  The plants that are on sale are clearly labelled with the plant name and description of their flowers and characteristics.

This is an awesome topiary ball with a color gradation due to sun exposure.  The plants that get more sun turn more reddish.

This is one of the island boulders standing in the giant koi pond in the middle of their greenhouse.

Being in this nursery makes you feel like you're in a tropical location of the world, and not California.  However, Tillandsias are drought resistant.  You can place them in a terrarium and mist them once a week.  They prefer 70% bright light.  Not scorching afternoon direct sunlight, and not shade either.  I think this is a very agreeable condition for California gardens.

Eileen took a great close up shot of one of the flowers.  I couldn't help but buy a few to add to a our collection that started when my aunt gave me a cluster last year along with some Spanish Moss.  They are all in good health and are about to bloom soon.  The staff was friendly and helpful.  They sell deadwood, and small glass globes to house the plants.   I only wish that they would stock more of a variety of terrariums for display and arrangements.  I would definitely revisit this nursery and recommend that you do too if you are in the area.  If you are not in the area, you can visit their website which is also really nice to learn more and buy some plants.