It was the last full day of our vacation and we had already packed up and shipped home the plants I had accumulated on the trip (more on that later), yet there was still one more nursery on my “hit list”… Elgin Nursery and Tree Farm. The husband was safely ensconced at a bookstore, I was free to wander…and wander I did! In fact as the mileage signs on Highway 10 counted down I realized I was contemplating a trip to Los Angeles! As it turns out I didn’t have to drive quite that far. There were many things to really like about this nursery. First of all I loved their signage. Nothing expensive…but still with lots of character and information! Secondly the prices were really really reasonable. I could easily have loaded up my car, if only the trip home would have been that easy. And the staff was helpful, I was asked a few times if I was finding what I needed and offered assistance (if I could have I would have posted about Elgin during Support Your Independent Nursery Month!) And most important, the plants were happy and healthy…(I want a Little Ollie!) Turns out they grow a lot of them right there at the nursery. Look at the soil this plant is growing in…looks like the clay from home! I’ve never really understood the appeal of ice plant. This one I could like! Even the desert has shade…right? So many pretty flowers, and in late October! Love the Palo Verde… Here’s what I was hoping for! Doesn’t it look like they’re selling this Saguaro for only $19.99? Nope, dream on. Real price…yep that’s $300!!! Just how do you grip a Saguaro? With Astroturf of course… It was great to finally see yellow Hesperaloe blooms! Just in case you have never seen Ocotillo for sale this is how they’re sold. Crazy huh? Stick them in the ground though and after a rain you’ll be graced with tiny green leaves and beautiful orange blossoms. So after all this you’re no doubt wondering about the “suffering” part of the title, aren’t you? Well if you were really observant in the second picture after the sign for Cactus and Agaves you might have noticed these… Achingly beautiful. And lest you not realize just how special they were there were a couple of signs to help you understand. I knew what I was looking at, well sort of. Ever since our visit to San Marcos Growers in October of 2009 I’ve been lusting after an Agave ‘Joe Hoak’ and this is a variation on the theme. I was in love, I wanted, no I had to have, this Agave! I have a sort of perverse pride in my ability to figure out how to make something happen. I can rationalize and scheme with the best of them. My wheels were in motion. The price, while comparatively high, was not unreasonable, especially for a large shapely Agave such as these. But it was that shape that was hard to get over…so arching, so graceful, so hard to pack. I think if the husband and I hadn’t just had a tense plant packing session earlier in the day I might have tried it. Or if the nursery offered shipping I could have just handed over my credit card and hoped for the best. But instead I managed to walk away. The horror, the suffering!
Oh and adding insult to injury when I showed my brother these pictures later that night, expecting him to say “wow that’s gorgeous! Why didn’t you buy it?” instead I heard “oh ya, I saw that at Home Depot a couple of months ago”….what! Home Depot? Really…ouch.