Friday, January 20, 2017

Adding to my brother's garden, a visit to the Old West Cactus Farm

My brother had heard the Old West Cactus Farm, just north of Phoenix, was a good place to find a bargain. He wanted a few things to add to his new garden so we hit the road.

Looking at their website I wasn't quite sure what we'd find. But there was a great selection and many different sizes (not all 5-gallon pots).

We never did find the 1/2 off plants advertised by the sign though. Not that it mattered once we started looking...

Nothing was labeled and nothing was priced.

While the staff was helpful I also got the feeling they didn't know the plants very well, I asked for a couple of things by name and they didn't know what I was referring to. Things we later found on our own.

I guess we asked the right questions though, and thus were identified as potential collectors and taken into the special greenhouse to see the owners personal stash. I think he likes crested cactus...

See it's not all large sized plants!

I'm assuming (for the right price) they'll dig up the planted Saguaros? Lots of pottery...

And plenty of "old west" kitsch.

But of course it was all about the plants for me!

Oh my!

My brother, checking if it was safe to go inside.

What do you think?

Harvesting seed or bulbils? Or maybe just for decoration?

Ocotillo

This place just went on and on and on. I was in heaven and soaking it all up, especially because I was getting on a plane later that afternoon and heading back to rainy Portland.

Someday I'll have a house with a fencepost cactus (Stenocereus marginatus. (syn. Pachycereus marginatus)) fence.

I wonder how often the plastic gets replaced?

Ouch! Ya. I wasn't looking down and felt a sharp pain. If you look close you'll see two red dots further up my leg. There were about a dozen more. Ants had attacked me earlier in our visit, also ouch.

Hmmm...what's in the plastic container?

Okay, so what did we buy? Here's the haul. The Agave macroacantha on the far left is mine. They nicely bare-rooted it for me, to make it easier to get on the plane. The baby Saguaro and two barrel cactus at the back are for my brother's garden. The Agave americana var. medio-picta 'Alba' (white stripes) is also his.

So cute, and so mean!

I should have asked him for that little pup...

Mine! Oh and there were a coupld of pups in there too.

This was our real find of the day though. My sister-in-law fell in love with it, then they told her they wouldn't sell it because the owner wanted to propagate it (even though it wasn't in the special greenhouse but rather out in the fields). She didn't give up though and eventually they gave in. So what is it? Well after consulting with the experts, including Gerhard, I got a name...Agave sisalana ‘Variegata’.

As it turned out my flight was delayed by an hour or so, while I waited to board I got planting updates. They went to work that evening and got everything planted before I even boarded the plane!

Weather Diary, January 19: Hi 52, Low 33 / Precip .71 (? I need to find a better source for 24-hr precip)

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

23 comments:

  1. I can't believe that you, the diva of danger gardens, wore sandals to that nursery! Too funny. (Not your wound). I measure my own precip (rain) because it is always different than the airport which is miles from my house. Snow I don't do.

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    1. What else would I wear? It was sunny and warm...summer shoes were a must. I never can remember to empty (or even check) my own water gauge. There's a network of measurements taken at local schools. I think I might go with one of those.

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  2. I remember this place well. The 1/2 Price Sale sign was there when I visited four years ago. It must be a permanent fixture. Did you get the feeling prices were fixed or negotiable? I'm asking because almost nothing had price tags.

    I like your brother's enthusiasm. Buy and plant on the same day!

    As for the Agave sisalana, it's probably more correct to call it 'Mediopicta' since there's also a variegated form that's green in the middle and cream on the outside.

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    1. Indeed there were no prices, but we were told what they were based on the size of the container. I did not get the feeling they were negotiable...

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  3. I think that one opuntia might have gotten away from them a little. Perhaps the shredded plastic is part of the "old west" charm? You must have been in heaven among all those spines!

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    1. It was pretty wonderful, the only downside was that I couldn't take them all home.

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  4. What a cool place! I've decided my favorite type of cactus are those ones with the enormous orange-yellow spines, rather than the Opuntia-types with all the glochids that are like no-see-um bugs. I love the shot of the plastic with all the Opuntia pads sticking out.

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    1. Great comparison! (glochids like no-see-ums)

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  5. What a treat. Maybe they should have a 'If you can name it, you can name the price' special, seeing that you knew more than they....

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  6. Photo number 4 is the most exciting to me. But so much to see -- huge place it seems!
    (sandals!!)

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    1. Definitely huge. And sandals, of course!

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  7. That's a LOT of inventory. I'm always surprised when I go into nurseries and garden centers, especially those that specialize in succulents, and the staff can't identify the plants. I'm glad your knowledge got you special attention, though. You did well on your buys!

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    1. They were extremely nice and wanted to help, so it just seemed extra odd that they weren't able to ID things.

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  8. Dang it looks warm there... So many spikes! That Opuntia house reminds me of the movie Alien for some reason.

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  9. I may have to look up the location of that nursery as we head back to Phoenix today. Even if it is just for a little cactus eye candy.

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    1. Lots of eye-candy to be had there!

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  10. Prickly plants are too dangerous for me and I'm not a fan of heat and sun but the idea of a "house with a fencepost cactus fence" is really charming and creative. I hope you get your wish one day, and I hope to read about it in a post.

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  11. Wow! That place looks huge and full of spiky goodness. I see a road trip in your future.

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  12. Nice haul! With so much to choose from sometimes one ends up forgetting the list and start getting impulsive.

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  13. Great pictures. I'm not sure I've seen that many cactus (cacti?) in one place before. Thanks for the post.

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  14. So...two kids who grew up in Spokane are bitten by the desert plant bug. What's up with that?

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