Jeremy Spath's Hidden Agave Ranch: the grounds
On my recent trip to Southern California, I finally had the opportunity to visit a place at the very top of my plant-related bucket list: Hidden Agave Ranch in North San Diego County. This is where agave guru Jeremy Spath lives with his family, and it's where he performs his plant breeding magic.
Jeremy may look like the quintessential surfer—and surfing is one of his passions—but his focus is on plants, above all agaves. He travels to study them in habitat, he cultivates and propagates them at home, and he creates completely novel hybrids, some of which are for sale on his website Hidden Agave. Soon he'll be able to add “author” to his résumé as he's working on a new agave book with Jeff Moore of Solana Succulents.
Horticulture wasn't Jeremy's original career, but after he'd been bitten by the plant bug, he jumped into it with both feet. His first stint was at San Diego Botanic Garden where he accumulated extensive plant knowledge. This was followed by time at Rancho Soledad Nurseries where he was able to do more field work and hybridizing. In 2018 he bought his current property and started Hidden Agave Ranch. Jeremy also owns his own landscape design company, Water's Path. You can find photos of his landscape installations on Water's Path's Instagram.
|A phenomenal hybrid between Agave attenuata 'Boutin Blue' and Agave titanota|
|Agave victoriae-reginae 'White Rhino'|
|Variegated Agave attenuata|
|Agave parryi var. truncata 'Orizaba'|
|Agave titanota × colorata|
|Agave xylonacantha × potatorum|
|Agave gypsophila × isthmensis|
|LEFT TO RIGHT: Agave parrasana × isthmensis, Agave 'Blue Glow' × margaritae, Agave titanota 'FO-76' × isthmensis, Agave 'Blue Glow' × titanota|
|Looking down towards the house|
|Agave seemaniana (close-up of the same plant)|
|Time for a shoutout to that magenta bougainvillea!|
|Agave potatorum 'Spawn' × isthmensis|
|Agave parrasana × isthmensis|
|Agave xylonacantha × potatorum|
|Agave titanota × 'Blue Glow'|
|Agave titanota × 'Blue Glow' (same plant, different angle)|
|Variegated Agave parrasana 'Globe'|
|Agave chazaroi (left)|
|Agave vilmoriniana × guiengola (and Dudleya pulverulenta or brittonii)|
|What an adventure playground for Jeremy's kids!|
|I loved these massive boulders, with native jimsonweed (Datura sp.) at the base|
Next photo: Now we're higher still, looking down at the shade structure and above-ground pool, and the house below. The greenhouse is just outside the frame on the left.
|Baja California hill with juvenile cardons (Pachycereus pringlei). The cardón is to Baja California what the saguaro is to the Sonoran Desert. Young cardons and saguaros look very similar although they're not closely related. Cardons grow much faster than saguaros and are more tolerant of cultivation outside their habitat.|
|The greenhouse (featured in a separate post)|
|Agave parryi var. truncata 'Mayahuel'|
|Agave ovatifolia (nice specimen for sure, but my eyes immediately went to the skid steer—a great tool to have on a property this large)|
|OK, let's look at that Agave ovatifolia again without the skid steer. Jeremy's been adding plants on the left. I expect this area will look quite different in just a few years.|
|Water tank, cycad, and succulents|
|Agave bovicornuta × parrasana|
|Aloe suzannae, a rare and challenging-to-grow tree aloe from Madagascar|
|Macrozamia macdonnellii, arguably the most beautiful Australian cycad, and Furcraea macdougallii from Mexico|
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