Plant Buying Expedition for the San Carlos Garden Club Spring Sale

The Civic Garden Club of San Carlos, CA is scheduled to hold it's annual plant sale this year on Saturday, May 4th, 9am. If you're a plant lover be sure to get there early; I didn't even get to finish unloading plants last year before a few early birds were claiming their favorites. I'm helping the club by buying a variety of succulents (there will of course be lots of other plants as well)

This past weekend I hit the road on a brief plant buying expedition down to San Diego County. My first stop was M & J Nursery where the staff are very friendly, knowledgeable and take as much time as needed to answer questions.

M & J Nursery

 M & J is a smaller nursery when compared to other more well known outfits in the area but they have a great selection and usually a few choice plants not available other places. It's fun walking through the greenhouses - I'm never sure what I'll find there.

It's a "working" nursery so occasionally - controlled chaos

Agave filifera ssp. schidigera "Shira ito no Ohi"
 These miniature Agave grow up to 18" wide and might just make the perfect addition to a rock garden or that special pot you've been saving.

Danny summing up the total damage

Later in the day we stopped by Waterwise Botanicals in Bonsall. Out front are growing a few giant Euphorbia tirucalli ('Sticks on Fire'). We have the same, but much smaller, plant growing in our backyard so I cajoled my son to pose in front for scale.

My son hamming it up in front of Waterwise Botanicals

I was looking forward to picking up several aloes here - most notably some Aloe camperi as it's done exceptionally well here for me in N. Ca. Unfortunately there were exactly none ( zero! ) left. According to the sale person someone had shown up with a truck and bought the several hundred remaining plants.

Checking out at Waterwise Botanicals

The ride home
Plants in their temporary home

Opuntia subalata monstrose
In the background of the above shot is an Alluaudia procera aka "Lemur Tree" from Madagascar. I've had one growing in the ground here on the SF Peninsula for the last year and was at first unsure whether it could handle our winters. As it turns out the plant can prosper here in USDA plant hardiness zone 9b - although it will drop it's leaves during the wet season.

Variety of plants in 4" and 6" pots
The Euphorbia ferox above (the purple spiny plant) was a favorite of my son. Kids seem to like the unusual, specimen plants.

5g Calibanus hookeri

Speaking of unusual - this Calibanus hookeri certainly falls into that category and isn't a plant you'll find without some effort. If you look closely you'll see the caudex at the base of the plant.

Agave filamentosa
The above Agave filamentosa is not unusual but it's also not standard readily available at the big box garden stores. It's form and sculptural quality are hard to beat.

Opuntia "Pink Frost"
Don't you love this Opuntia's compact form and of course ... the flowers.

Echeveria subrigida

Agave bracteosa "Mateo"
Agave "Mateo" is one of my favorites for it's squid like form - might be perfect for an undersea garden.

Making garden signs from recycled decking
Finally - I've seen a lot of plant themed, fun (and silly) signs, t-shirts etc online and have even made a few for myself. For example have you seen the "Free Hugs" sign next to a cactus? If you'd like to add a bit of whimsy to your garden then maybe a simple hand-lettered sign would be perfect. All the wood comes from a redwood deck that used to sit in the background.

Hope to see you May 4th at the San Carlos Garden Club where we'll have the plants pictured here and more for sale at reasonable prices.


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