Monday, January 9, 2012

My visit to the California Cactus Center part 1

The day after Christmas my husband, son and I headed in our car down to South Pasadena, CA.  Every year the Suter family get's together during the holiday season.  We have three that come from Toronto, Canada, two from Denver, CO, two from Edmond, OK and three from Texas.  Along with the four Roseville, CA Suter's and Mom it makes quite a bunch of folks!  My father in law, the heart of our family passed away unexpectedly last February.  You can read about this amazing man here.


While we were in Southern California I decided that I would like to see a beautiful succulent garden.  Southern California is the succulent mecca as you all know.  So I sent out a facebook message to Debra Baldwin, Cindy Davison owner of The Succulent Perch and The Succulent Fanatics.  The Succulent Fanatics are a group of great succulent lovers from all over that share information and tips on a Facebook page of the same name.  Debra, Cindy and the group all had some great suggestions but number one on there list was the California Cactus Center in Pasadena, CA.  So since it was only 15 minutes away that is where I went.


When I first drove up to this nursery I saw this great open bricked space.  I had no idea they wanted people to park here so I drove around the corner and parked on the next street.  When I walked through the gate the first thing I noticed was the Aloe bainesii Barberae "Aloe Tree" shown here in silhouette.  The last time I saw it was at The Huntington Botanical Gardens.  The specimen at the Huntington is bigger but this one was just as beautiful!

California Cactus Center

This is inside the entrance gate looking left.  There were so many succulents all tucked in close to each other.  As you can see many species were here.  They did not have names or prices though.  I would have to ask someone from inside for help if I wanted to purchase any of these.  But for now I just wanted to wander around with my two camera's, tripod and jug of flavored water.  

Aloe Ferox

As you can tell from this photo of this magnificent Aloe Ferox, the pots of succulents are just bunched all together.  My eyes were just hopping all over trying to take it all in.  But this aloe with it's blooms really stood out!

Bloom of Aloe Ferox

The blooms on this Aloe ferox were so long and a beautiful rusty red.  This one is just getting started.  The bloom stalks will get even taller on this plant and pretty soon each little red button will open to reveal a pretty red flower.  This is a great time for aloe's.  It is there bloom time.  So all over Southern California you could see the amazing blooms of aloes.

Aeonium 'Sunburst'

There were quite a few of these beauties sitting around waiting to be purchased.  I have three babies in my gazebo greenhouse and hopefully they will grow big and beautiful this summer.  That is if they survive the winter.  For some reason I have a tough time with this certain variety.

Echeveria hybrid

Macro of Echeveria 'Etna"
I love this echeveria!  It has these crazy bumbs all over it call caruncle's.  The colors are this one was so pretty also going from green on the inside to the beautiful red on the edges!

Echeveria hybrid

Check out this amazing echeveria.  I wish you could have seen how big it was.  But imagine trying to put your arms around it and you can't.  That is how round it was.  And then it was about 10 inches or so high.  A truly beautiful echeveria hybrid specimen.  Don't know it's name though.

Succulent Love

As I walked toward the entrance of the partially covered nursery I encountered these three potted stunners. The urn in the middle was placed on this medium sized pedistal. The 'thriller' in this pot is the kalanchoe luciae. It's reaching, reaching for the beautiful California sun. I love how the red goes well with the 'filler' red echeveria in this pot. The 'spiller is a fabulous green with red senecio jacobsenii. Then to the right is a cereus monstrose and to the left is a really cool succulent that I have never seen before. But I sure would like one. In a future post I will show you a shot of it only.

Yucca gloriosa

Variegated Agave Attenuata

This agave was so big and beautiful and was just waiting for someone to come along and buy it. I just love the light that was filtering in at this time of day. I went in the afternoon and stayed for about 3 hours. So I actually caught the beginning of the golden hour. The best time to take photos.

Painted tips

Echeveria Agavoides 'Lipstick'
This red tipped echeveria was just glorious. I had to crop the photo quite a bit because there was a sale sign on it off to the left. I kept being drawn to it and wished they had a small one I could buy.


Here is another pot that I just couldn't get over it's beauty. I wanted to scoop it up and take it home. The different shapes and variaties of green in this pot are wonderful. Then a small tinge of red makes this just a masterpiece in my eyes.

Floating Islands

Floating Islands
These succulents seem to be floating on a sea of beautiful green glittering water. After seeing what they do with repurposed crushed glass I will be trying this for top dressing.

Crown Me

They did have some really great cactus there. This one was plump and beautiful and was starting to get a crown on top. Looks like a type of ferocactus.

Isn't this interesting

Ariocarpus retusus
Check out this interesting succulent. I have no idea what it is called or what catagory to put it in. Weird light tanish green color with fuzzy white stuff in between all the leaves.  According to our succulent expert Debra Baldwin this beautiful succulent comes from South Texas and Northern Mexico.  They need a lot of heat and do not tolerate the cold very well.  The fibers inside create kind of a sweater and shade the core of the plant from the hot sun.  They are seldom seen in habitat.

Pot of every color

They had pots of many shapes, sizes and colors. This was only a small portion.

Looking into the depths

Looking down one of the rows into the depths of the nursery. So many different varieties of succulents. Check out the red cactus in the tan pot on the bottom shelf. I don't think I got a shot of it darn it. And the plant in the front, bottom is a Abromeltiella brevifolia. They had a few of them. I will show you a full photo of it next.

Abromeltiella brevifolia

Abromeltiella brevifolia
Here is a better shot of that Abromeltiella brevifolia from the last photo. I think this one is about 35-40 years old. It is creaping around a red rock formation that is in the middle of the pot. They had another one that was 45-50 years old. I will post a photo of it another time.

Pet Me

You wouldn't want to pet this cresting cactus. Isn't it purdy. And it is potted so nicely in this red ceramic pot with lava rock top dressing.

Ok boys and girls I am one tired succulent lover.  Still getting over my cough and cold and you know how they wear you out.  I think I will leave you right here at the California Cactus Center.  I'll return and show you more, and believe me you will want to see it, in another post.

Until then remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!


Julie said...

what a gorgeous place...i know you were in hog heaven! some of those i've never seen before...
hope you are over your cold soon, Candy. mine is lingering has been 3 weeks about tired! it wears you out. looking forward to a beautiful day!

Amy - Get Busy Gardening said...

Oh man would I LOVE to work at a place like that. Your pictures have me drooling. I love succulents!


Gerhard Bock said...

Wow! I want to jump in the car and drive down there right now! Beautiful photos. I can't wait for the 2nd installment.

The "interesting succulent" looks to me like Ariocarpus retusus. Check out this link.

Cindy said...

Beautiful shots as always, Candy. I don't know why I haven't been to that place. It's only about an hour away from here.

Anonymous said...

Holy Smolies! What Beauty! Great shots,Candy!...Diggin the red tipped echeveria, the crested cacti and who doesn't love a handsome 50 yr old succulent! I think they need to get busy and tag those plants though. Lookin forward to the next installment. Great post. Cindy Davison

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Thanks Julie I hope you feel better too! And you would love it here!

Thank you so much Amy for the great compliments.

Thanks Gerhard for the name. I think you are spot on my friend.

And Cindy yes you should go. Only an hour away....definitely worth the drive!

And thanks mucho Cindy D. I loved that red one too but no small ones to buy. I know I really wished the plants had names. When I bought them they put name tags on them though. LOL

Mel said...

What as cool place! Envious of that So. Cal. climate here in eastern PA! I especially love those gigantic Aeoniums. So much fun :-)

danger garden said...

Isn't their inventory just amazing! I loved our visit a couple of years ago and wandered around with my mouth hanging open. A bit on the expensive side though.

BTW I believe the plant you've called Yucca gloriosa is actually a variegated Agave attenuata.

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Thank you Mel. I do have some cooler weather here in the Sacramento valley so it can be a challenge.

And thank you so much danger! I loved this place too. And thanks for the ident fix. I get the agave and yucca's so mixed up and it looked like a couple of photos. But I think you are so right!

Becc said...

oh how I wish we had a nursery like that in Western Australia (probably dont even have one like it in Australia at all)

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

I wish you did too Becc! But at least you can see pics!

donna said...

Southern California is the succulent mecca?? Here I thought it was Green Bay, WI. ha-ha

I finally got around to posting again on my blog and gave you and your blog a shout out. My post is about my pathetic little succulent (compared to yours).

Happy 2012 to you, Candy.


Stephanie said...

Candy, that red tipped echeveria is really fascinating! Sorry that they don't have a small one. But I hope you will be able to find one some day. Thanks for sharing this beautiful nursery!

Matt and Bobbie said...

Beautiful shots, as always. This really looks like a fantastic place to see. Makes me want to go on vacation!!!

thebluemuse said...

Love your photos!!!

romance-of-roses said...

Candy is this a dream place or what. Wow, every kind imaginable is there and love the colors and also colors of the pottery. My son would love this place. Thank you for your visit and nice comments on my old house. Hugs...Lu

succulove said...


Evelyn said...

Oh, hope you have gotten better by now. Thanks for sharing the pics - succulents are so addictive, aren't they!

Rohrerbot said...

Oooh.....there are a bunch of these that we don't have here in Tucson:)

Debra Lee Baldwin said...

Aren't those ariocarpus amazing? They're really tricky to grow, even in Southern CA. They need a lot of heat and don't tolerate cold very well. Those wooly fibers create a kind of sweater and also shade the core of the plant from hot sun. They're from south Texas and Northern Mexico, but are seldom seen in habitat.

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Yes they are Debra! Really beautiful, I looked at quite a few photos online and this one is such a beauty. Thanks for the great information!

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