Quick San Diego Jaunt

Come tip toe through the Aloes with me...
Quick jaunt down San Diego way this week.  Solana Succulents was our first stop.  A fun place--tiny space aside an old tiny building crammed full of all sorts of wonderful plants. 
Really wanted one of the gorgeous crested Myrtillocactus geometrizans, but at that price it must have a special, pre-selected, carefully thought-through, ideal place in the garden waiting to receive it. 
Oh Lord, I am Not Worthy.
Cool shadow on the wall
Massive trunk on...what?
A variegated Euphorbia ammak.  The owner said it was there when he started his nursery 27 years ago.  This plant is listed as "vulnerable" in its native Arabian peninsula, something of a surprise since just about every other succulent lover in California seems to grow it. 
Another of those gorgeous Myrtillocactus crests...
Dioon with...something.  Loved the back lit moment, and the contrast in leaf forms. 
Glowing hybrid Aloe flower
 This is one of those increasingly rare plant places that make you feel like you are in the private garden of a plant-besotted person.  It makes you feel right at home. 
 The owner's brother makes these alien creature planters.  They are so well-crafted I liked them.  Not the subject matter but the care and craft that went into their creation.  The photos do not convey the beautiful detailing in every square inch. 
 But...just not my aesthetic.  Not that I have an aesthetic. 
 Out the back gate was crammed with plants, too. 

 Two small Aloe sabaeas aka Aloidendron sabaeum, came home, two because they were small and inexpensive.  They are in the back row of the next photo.  (Other recent Aloe purchases from elsewhere ended up in the same photo.) 

To digress, finding Aloe gariepensis for sale was a hoot.  A. gariepensis is an uncommonly sold Aloe, and not the very easiest to grow.  Surprisingly, the wholesaler is one that mass-produces generic plants, mostly herbs (basil, rosemary, thyme) for big-box stores. The look on my face when  I spotted the gariepensis must have been funny.  

And I misspelled "sabaea"
Why two sabaeas:  here is a well grown pair photographed at Rancho Soledad back in '14.  An elegant and graceful small tree Aloe, like a droopy thraskii.  

 The placement of Aloe sabaea in genus Aloidendron is controversial and not supported by all Aloe enthusiasts.

After our Solana visit, we stopped just a few miles away at a Bromeliad nursery.  However, it was appointment-only, and we had not made an appointment.  It is first on the list for a future jaunt.  

As consolation we stopped at the nursery just on the corner where you make the turn to go to the San Diego Botanic Garden.  It was actually a collection of different small stores--florist, a koi/pond store, a houseplant place, garden center with goats and chickens, a place that sold pies, a place that held art lessons, and a place that sold olive oil.  
At the koi/pond store
Nifty planters.  Obviously we are close to the Pacific and its cool, moist, onshore breezes.  Plants like this don't look like this inland. 
Succulent display garden.  Liked all the rock.  Would like to add some rock to the front slope;  I think it would improve it significantly. 
Dove aviary and house plants, house plants you can grow outdoors year round in San Diego.   
Bedspring Tillandsia display
  Illustrating the mildness of the coastal San Diego climate.
 Plant-filled jaunts make a great day out. 


  1. Solana Succulents was not open the day of my plant jaunt to San Diego in March. I was sorry about that-it was on my list. Maybe next time !

    1. Well worth a visit; just off I-5. Maybe next time.

  2. You made the most of your jaunt! I love those planters in photo #18 and now can't help imagining something similar behind mu street-side succulent bed...

    1. The leftovers of two power poles and a couple of large ventilation couplings, apparently. Your very talented husband could easily build something like.

  3. Looks like you had a great time! Was the last nursery the one that has the huge old turtle?

    1. Bubba? Yes. He was napping so we did not get to see him.

  4. What a fun day! I could look and look at all of these plants.
    I think rock is a great addition to any garden. A slope nearly cries out for some rock. Those weird planters are perfect for this time of year. I could see one of those brain-look-a-like plants in that second one for sure. Seeing that big Staghorn Cactus makes me pine for the one I just gave away. Sigh.

    1. There were so many different plants all packed in, you had to look slowly and carefully at them all. It took longer to look through everything than it does at a large nursery that has big blocks of the same plants.

  5. Quite the selections where you visited. The demonstration garden with the rocks and smaller plants is good there. That staghorn fern...my uncle just east of 5 had quite a monster-sized one.

    1. The staghorns when they get big are just magnificent. I never water mine enough.

  6. Last time I was at Solana I found an unlabeled aloe and asked Jeff what he thought it might be. He shrugged and said he didn't know, but that people brought him the coolest plants all the time. That was enough of a recommendation for me so I brought it home. Fun trip!

  7. You should definitely add the rocks.

    1. That pie place - did you stop there? I had the BEST key lime pie of my life there a few years ago!

      Solana Succulents really is like a plant collectors private oasis. So much to discover. And Jeff is one of the good guys. I also liked his brother's alien creations.

    2. Didn't have the key lime, but yes, the pie was good. :)


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