Sunday, January 4, 2015

One last succulent feast before heading home

I spent my last night on the road in Palm Springs, and before I started out on the 7-hour drive back to Davis, I made one final stop: Mariscal Cactus & Succulents. This nursery is located on the outskirts of the small town of Desert Hot Springs, north of Palm Springs and just a few miles off the I-10. We’d stopped there briefly on our February 2011 trip to the Southern California desert, and I was hoping the nursery was still there. It was.

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While they do have a few tables with smaller plants (1 gallon and smaller), their main focus is on large plants, mostly 15 gallons and 24 inch boxes. This is where you’d go if you want specimen-sized succulents for instant impact. We have nothing like it in Northern California.

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I was the only customer there and spent a leisurely hour roaming the multi-acre nursery. This is what I saw:

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Golden barrels galore

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Agave parryi var. truncata…

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…in 24-inch boxes…

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…all perfect specimens

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Nothing was labeled or priced though

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Agave ‘Blue Glow’

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Agave ‘Blue Glow’, Agave victoria-reginae and Agave guadalajarana

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Agave victoria-reginae, Agave guadalajarana and Agave colorata

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Agave titanota

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Agave titanota, cactus, and San Jacinto Mountains

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Blacklit cactus, always so beautiful

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Cactus as far as the eye can see

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Styrofoam cups used as frost protection

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I doubt the cups would stay in place in windy conditions!

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Giant box of Styrofoam cups

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Agave attenuata in an area with overhead protection

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Aloes…

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…partially covered with frost cloth

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Aloe marlothii is hardy in Palm Springs and needs no protection

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This Kalanchoe beharensis got nipped by the cold (it’s very frost-sensitive)

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I was surprised to see these Adenium obesum (in large 15 gallon pots) unprotected. Adeniums are quite tender.

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Furcraea macdougallii

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Shaggy ponytail palms (Beaucarnea recurvata) in boxes

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So many Yucca rostrata!

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I got close to buying one although it would have been a tight squeeze in the car

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These saguaro skeletons…

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…were the biggest surprise for me. I guess there is a market for them.

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More golden barrels and columnar cactus

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Tree aloes

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Table with smaller plants

So, what did I buy?

Nothing, I’m sad to say.

I really wanted to buy a 15-gallon Yucca rostrata. I found the perfect specimen that would have fit in the backseat of my car. It would have been a tight squeeze but I think it would have fit.

The problem? There was nobody around. I said earlier I was the only customer. Not only that, I was the only human at the nursery! A radio was playing in the a small trailer that must serve as their office, but the trailer was deserted. I could have helped myself to whatever I wanted and driven off without anybody being the wiser!

The nursery is located along an empty road about a mile from town. There is a house next door, with more rows of large potted succulents in the front yard, so it’s possible that’s where the nursery manager lives. But I wasn’t going to go knocking on doors when I wasn’t even sure that the Yucca rostrata I wanted was within my price range.

In spite of my disappointing customer service experience, though, I will stop at Mariscal again the next time I’m in the Palm Springs area. It’s like a giant candy store for succulent lovers, whether you ultimately buy anything or not, and I like treats!

RELATED POST:

2014 Desert Trip index

18 comments:

  1. First, could you imagine if one's budget were such that you could just walk into a place like that, with those plant sizes, and pick what you wanted? That would be a dream...

    Second, I've found that at places like that (no sign of employees) starting to put something like a 15 gal yucca into your car is a guaranteed way to make the employees appear! Sorry to hear you had such a bad service experience!

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    1. I must admit I indulged in a bit of daydreaming: buying all the plants I wanted for my new desert getaway in Palm Springs. Ha ha.

      I should have started to haul "my" yucca to my car, just to see what would happen!

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  2. Oh how frustrating, so near and yet so far...to getting a yucca you had in mind! Certainly a nursery full of instant impact spiky goodness!

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    1. I so enjoyed walking around the nursery and taking pictures that ultimately it didn't matter whether I bought anything or not.

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  3. So maybe the deal is , you call the phone number on the sign and say 'Hey , I'm out here in your nursery" ...

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    1. Calling would never have occurred to me. I didn't even see that phone number until you mentioned it :-).

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  4. Replies
    1. Me too. And that's what mattered more to me than anything else.

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  5. I was going to say I hate it when there are no labels and no prices but that pales in comparison to no employees! Lame. I like how Renee thinks and would have probably resorted to calling like KS suggests, because once I've decided to buy a plant there is no talking me out of it!

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    1. I didn't even know I had their phone number until I saw the photos on my computer screen. Duh!

      As for the lack of labels, I find that to be all too common.

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  6. Great photos. Maybe that's a wholesale nursery which may explain why no pricing posted?

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    1. I'm sure most of their business is wholesale. But they do sell to the public; I bought stuff there during our Feb 2011 visit. From what I remember, their prices were very reasonable.

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  7. I don't know if this helps or hurts, but I just called that number in your photo to check on the price of your 15-gallon Yucca rostrata...and it's $225. I've never priced one that big so can't offer any opinion. Heckuva road trip!

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    1. Wow, you rock! Actually knowing the price does help. I would NOT have bought it for $225. I was eyeing a larger plant at Bach's Cactus Nursery in Tucson for $150. In fact, I would have bought it if it had fit in the car.

      Yucca rostrata in 5-gallon sizes is impossible to find. It's either very small plants in 1-gallon or 4-inch sizes, or 15 gallons and up. Frustrating.

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    2. I see a road trip to Cistus in your future. Fill the car with Y. Rostrata and sell them when you get home, you'll actually make money on your trip and finally get one for your garden!

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    3. Loree, brilliant idea. It might actually come to pass, at least on a smaller scale. We're toying with the idea of doing road trip to British Columbia this summer. In which case we'd stop in Portland on the way home and hopefully pick up a Y. rostrata from Cistus.

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  8. Oh wow, love this post - it's all white in my garden at the moment, covered with snow! So I realy love your pictures!!!
    All my best from Austria and a happy New Year
    Elisabeth

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    1. Elisabeth, so good to hear from you!

      Viele Grüße nach Österreich. Bei euch schaut es bestimmt wie auf einer Postkarte aus :-).

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