Thursday, June 28, 2018

Phoenix Desert Nursery and an Agave Dig...aka "The Haul"

Would you believe me if I told you I had no intention of bringing plants back from our desert vacation? Well that's the truth. I still have a handful of Agave, Opuntia, Dyckia and Aeonium here at home that I need to find a place for, why would I buy more? However we had to check a bag on the outbound flight, which was to be virtually empty inbound. More than once Andrew said "you're going to take advantage of this and fill it up with plants, right?"... well hell, I know a challenge when I hear one, and I am not one to back down from a challenge... I Googled "Phoenix Nursery" hoping to find a new-to-me nursery near our destination, Scottsdale's Museum of the West, and I did! The Phoenix Desert Nursery (cleverly named to come up at the top of Google searches?) was a no-frills establishment, so much so that when we pulled into the parking lot Andrew expressed concern it was wholesale only...
But not to worry, they were open to Jane Q Public until noon. So I had a look around...

Wow, that's some serious deciation to watering. Drip emitters to run to each and every 1-gallon pot.

Did you spot the pieces of Tephrocactus articulatus that had broken off (above)? I so wanted to pick them up and put them in soil, or my pocket, but I left them be.

These gallon containers were only $ would I ever chose?

Love the pine-cone Tephrocactus.

Even though it was only 10 o'clock in the morning it was already hot (90-something) and being under the shade-cloth felt good, but I really had to venture out there, to see what else there was...

Baby Saguaro, my brother calls this stage "light bulb cactus"...

There were a few shade cloth tunnels.

And select plants in the field had cloth draped over them...the sun is so intense...

When cloth isn't available one improvises.
Like a lath house, only not.

I never did tire of the blue sky.

Cactus chaos!

There were only a few Aloes.

But several big Agaves.

Finally I made my choices and headed to what I assumed must be the office (I'd had no human contact the entire time I wandered).
Here are my purchases, a  pine-cone Tephrocactus and an Agave lechuguilla, only $15 for the pair.

And here's the official Haul, as photographed in our hotel in Las Cruces. before I packed them up. You see the Tephrocactus and an Agave mentioned above, but where did those other plants come from?

My brother Darin's garden!

He'd been waiting to dig the Agave americana 'Variegata' pups until I visited, so he could share. How nice, right?

This guy started to emerge from the soil, but then decided nah, I'll just do another dip down, and come up about 2" further away. I wonder why?

While a shot of tequila would have seemed like the official beverage of pup digging, Darin made due with a beer.

I boxed up four pups to bring home, here are the left-overs, which are destined for the back of the property where he's got his shop. There's a nice little Agave landscape going back there.

I also made off with a piece of his fabulous purple Opuntia. If it's Opuntia santa-rita then it's cold hardy here in Portland, it just needs to stay dry. I haven't decided yet if it's going in the ground or a container , but I am leaning towards trying it in the ground. After all, I know where I can get more.

These lovely Agaves are growing in one of his neighbor's garden, Darin scored a couple of pups for himself and one for me too. The neighbor called it a butterfly Agave, but that's typical the common name for Agave potatorum, which these are not.

I thought maybe Agave weberi...what do you think?

Finally, I bought these cute little Gymnocalycium baldianum at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, which was fabulous! (so many photos...). Andrew thought they looked dead (okay maybe that yellow one) but I have high hopes for them...

Weather Diary, June 27: Hi 78, Low 55/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. With all those choices, you must have had a heckuva time choosing! Hope they thrive for you.

    1. Actually I didn't! The two I selected really stood out to me from the beginning. Of course being forced to stick with a size that would fit in the suitcase really helped too...

  2. I perfectly understand the stated intention not to bring any plants home - what would have been shocking is if you'd not actually brought anything home. Still, that's a good-sized haul for a plane trip!

    1. Right? Thankfully Agaves and other succulents are okay being separated from their soil.

  3. Yes I also have a Pine-cone Tephrocactus...some of the segments fell off of mine and I am trying to get them to root now in another pot :)

  4. I remember your last shopping expedition and thought 'where will she put them?' I have a Gymnocalcium and for the first time it has had multiple blooms this year and is putting out some new pups. I'll try to stay away from that nursery when we are in Phoenix. Too tempting.

    1. I'm hoping I'll get to see a couple of blooms on the Gymnocalycium someday.

  5. Of course we believe you. Sometimes plants just force themselves on you. Nice haul! The nursery looks amazing and at only eight dollars a gallon, it would be hard not to consider buying another piece of luggage or renting a car to drive home.

  6. Thanks for the link...OMG, they take mail orders.

    1. Can't wait to hear about what you order...

  7. That purple opuntia is so completely purple! I have never seen one quite like that. (I love it!)

  8. I'm not sure how you came back with so few plants! You have amazing will power!!

  9. Back from vacation and catching up on your posts. Loved the Opuntia house and your brother’s purple one. I can’t even imagine shopping for some of these plants; so alien to me that I don’t know how to even judge them.


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