Extraordinary Pots for Extraordinary Plants

I was in the area for work-related business so decided to pay a late-afternoon visit to the California Cactus Center in Pasadena. I’ve had aloes on the brain since visiting the Huntington and wanted to check on the CCC’s aloe selection in small sizes. I also wanted to check on availability of the blue form of Agave attenuata, and was brought around to the back where, saints be praised, a new shipment of five was just being unloaded. Flushed with happiness over finding my quarry so soon, I secured a good specimen then wandered the store and grounds for over an hour. (I did find one small aloe, A. peglerae, stemless, glaucous blue thorny leaves, from South Africa.)

Strolling through the store, I found myself reaching for the camera to record not just their plants but their pottery.
It’s been over a year since I last visited, but I don’t remember the CCC having such an amazing collection of hand-made pottery.

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The wire probably secures the pottery against potential earthquakes. There have been a few temblors recently.

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I flagged down an employee just tell to her what I thought of their marvelous pottery. She said six different ceramicists supply the CCC with hand-made pots, one artist being Mike Cone. Debra Prinzig wrote about him for the LA Times early this year and mentions the CCC has stocked his pottery since 2004. Perhaps carrying a camera around these days makes me more apt to notice the blazingly photographic stuff right under my nose, like having an extra eye?

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The last monochrome number is Copiapoe tenuissima monstrosus from Chile, but most of those in pots were not labeled. It was a busy shop, and I hated to keep dragging away someone from the potting table to ask about this or that plant. There was a very nice gentleman carrying newly potted specimens out to the shop floor, and I harassed him with questions for a brief time, which he took very good-naturedly. I asked about this dense grower, which he said was from Argentina, Abromeitiella chlorantha. (No, I didn’t make him spell it.) The owners had grown tired of the plant and just recently given CCC their specimens. Along with this small pot of Abromeitiella, there was an enormous one, the plant easily 3 feet across.

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Uber spiny Aloe erinaceae

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Dwarf Agave potatorum, so congested I expected it to sneeze.

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A planted tabletop, embedded with Euphorbia obesa.

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Agaves victoriae-reginae, potatorum, lophantha

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Agave ‘Blue Flame,’ a hybrid of A. shawii x A. attenuata, more frost tolerant, to the low 20’s, than A. attenuata.

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This entry was posted in agaves, woody lilies, garden ornament, succulents and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Extraordinary Pots for Extraordinary Plants

  1. I love the CCC! We planned out visit as a way to kill time before the Huntington opened, little did we know what treasures awaited us. If I lived anywhere near there I would be an indentured servant…the only way I would manage to pay off my tab.

    Nice score on the blue agave. I’m watching mine do a slow decline. I don’t know if it make it until next summer when it can be baked into health on the patio. I wonder if I could buy time at a tanning salon and let some of the sun lovers have a few minutes of heaven?

    BTW I am very glad you are carrying around a camera these days. I’m really enjoying the pictures! Can I ask what kind it is? I’m sure most of the beauty in your photos can be chalked up to your skill but I’m thinking about upgrading and would love to know what you use.

  2. Denise says:

    Loree, I could barely leave the CCC yesterday and stayed until closing. Nice of you to compliment, but unless the light is perfect I’m hopeless. Camera is an Olympus Pen EP1.

  3. reuben says:

    Gorgeous, luminous photos of great pots and gorgeous plants. Love the CCC but I always find it too pricey… I’ve become a skinflint in my old age, I’m afraid!

  4. Denise says:

    Reuben, I love it when you comment so I can see you channeling Eddie Murphy. They are pricey but such a specialist’s shop does what it has to do to stay in biz, I imagine. I don’t buy a lot from them, only what can’t be found elsewhere.

  5. Les says:

    An excellent marriage between pots and plants, and you the talented wedding photographer.

  6. Love the pots! Great post! Yes, way overpriced! I never trust the women at CCC, none of the larger plants have prices on them, I think they look at what kind of car you drive before they give you a price. Shame about it too, keeps me from visiting.

  7. Really cool pots and plants

  8. David says:

    These are gorgeous combinations…as compelling to view as a fine bonsai collection. David/ Tropical texana/ Houston

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