Friday, March 23, 2012

Cactus; a nursery just outside of Jerome, Arizona

The perfect vacation involves doing enough research so you know what you want to see and do when you arrive at your destination. Equally important however is to leave enough unscheduled time so you can spontaneously slam on the brakes when you’re driving along at highway speeds and see a sign like this:
Otherwise you might miss something as wonderful as this:

Yucca thompsoniana, I believe.
This is the kind of unexpected nursery stop that gives as much in plants and pictures as it does in character and local flavor. We spent probably close to an hour there, chatting with the fellow running the show (not the owner) and looking at the plants and garden. Oddly enough even though the sign on the building said "Cactus" their name is actually Arizona Botanical Gardens. Which I couldn't help but think was a mighty important name for a little nursery in the middle of nowhere, it just added to the mystique.
The remains of a burnt out Agave...
Fabulous spikes!
Six foot-two inch husband, for scale...

I wonder now I managed to pass these up. Love them!
I did buy a Santa Rita Opuntia (the purple one) here, not because they weren't available at many more stops along the way, but because I wanted something to help me remember this strange little place by the roadside. After we left we climbed up steep winding roads and drove through the town of Jerome, AZ, quite the picturesque little place. Finally we found a turn out where we could admire just how far we'd climbed.
And I could spot a blooming agave in the distance...

30 comments:

  1. Your posts about the southwest I find so enjoyable. We live in Colorado but don't get as far south as your pictures take us, so it's special to get these views of the world.

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    1. Isn't that one of the best parts about reading blogs? They transport you to places you may never see!

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  2. I would have slammed on the brakes too. I love completely unexpected discoveries. I have fond memories of Jerome, but it's been way too long. I need to convince the family to go on a road trip to Arizona with me. Your posts (like this one) give me added incentive.

    That Aloe marlothii next to your hubby is a stunner! I wonder how long it'll take for mine to form a trunk...

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    1. Oh yes a road trip to Arizona should definitely be in your future!

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  3. Cool nursery, er... botanical garden! I love those amazing rings on the spikes you shot the "fabulous spikes" detail of. And the puffy cactus with the golden sea-urchin-like explosions of tiny spikes. It's a beauty!

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    1. Aren't those rings just amazing? They remind me of a treasured shell I found on the beach when I was a kid.

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  4. I loved Jerome. Wish we'd gotten to spend more time there--and to visit that nursery! Did you make it to the Asylum? That was a good dinner.

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    1. No unfortunately we just drove through Jerome, no stopping. It was a Saturday and the place was packed!

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  5. Those spikes . . . WHOA. I love your tours!

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    1. It's good to hear that...sometimes I fear I am boring people.

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  6. That fuzzy button opuntia is stunning! I wish you'd bought it so I could beg for a cutting!

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  7. What a great looking nursery!

    That first Yucca thompsoniana you spotted (I think it is one as well) looks delightful. The colour of the leaves and their shape and form are fab.

    I am not good with cycad names, but that one in the picture before the Agave victoriae regina really caught my eye.

    I love the shot of the "burnt out" Agave. It looks like a rocket has just taken off there.

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    1. Yes! Exactly...I really kind of love it when dead Agaves and their bloom spikes are left in place for awhile, they are rather sculptural.

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  8. Wow -- I LOVE photos 18 (bloody rebar spikes), 20 (shaggy cactus), and 27 (Opuntia). It's so good to know that if I ever find myself living in a hot, water-scarce part of the country I'll be able to find plants that I love.

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    1. I keep hoping that someday I will have the opportunity to garden in the desert. In the mean time I'm drowning under 5.4" of rain this month alone...

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  9. sandy lawrenceMarch 23, 2012

    OMG, that golden polka dotted Opuntua! The pads are so round. I love that thing. I've never seen one of those, but I'd love to have one. Fab photos.

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    1. I feel so stupid for passing it by!

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  10. Fierce aloe, that Ferox! Nice specimen.

    Looks like they actually sell stuff that grows here. I get so disappointed buying plants that crap out after two weeks of heat. Sigh. I'm really not a proper desert gardener.

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    1. But just think how far you've came!

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  11. Ooo, I saw a bunch of prickly stuff I like. The white furry one was interesting, for sure.

    Wyatt

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    1. Isn't it? I wanted to pet it but was afraid I'd come away with stickers in my fingers.

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  12. Whoah! Now that is a great find. Just one person manning the whole place? Was that cycad a Dioon? The caudex makes me drool.

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    1. Just one person...but we were also the only customers. Yes I think it is a Dioon, but I am by no means an expert.

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  13. Unexpected stops are by and far, the best part of a road trip! I enjoyed seeing the variety of cactus that you found :) Cheers, Jenni

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    1. And isn't the blue sky a welcome respite from our grey one?

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  14. Looks like a great little treasure - I wouldn't have been able to leave without a cholla or two!

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    1. Flying home really had it's draw-backs. So many more plant opportunities with a car!

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  15. You brought me back to the long ago Loree, I've spent many an hour in Jerome back in the day when I lived in Sedona (I got around some in my early 20's) but back then the reason to visit was the House of Joy, a restaurant of some note in a former wild west house of ill repute. At night in west Sedona you could look up and see the lights of Jerome twinkling on the side of Mingus mountain -after viewing the fabulous desert sunset against the red rocks. Sigh. The growing season is too damn short though !

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  16. Me want all!!! LOL Great photos and a super duper find! I would have gone crazy over this place! I need to take a road trip!

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