Oscar and family are growing the local cactus and succulent community one plant fair at a time on the grounds of his Green Touch Nursery in Bellflower, Calif. And why not? They’ve got the space and, most importantly, the can-do entreprenurial spirit to grow outside the traditional retail box. Oscar and family recognize the pent-up desire of plant collectors to shop for rarer plants, mingle, and swap growing techniques and sources.
It’s important to point out that most Southern California nurseries offer a good selection of cactus and succulents any day of the year. They’d be crazy not to, because these plants have only become more desirable in the past year as plant sales have boomed. What you don’t see are the rarer offerings from small growers that are traditionally brought to plant society sales or offered at local botanical garden sales. With the covid pandemic, all this plant-collecting enthusiasm has been pushed online, and the physical outlets to browse rarities have been shuttered. Green Touch has nimbly filled that void, getting out the word through social media, easily adapting their expansive grounds for plant fairs.
I’ve missed a few plants fairs already and was determined to make it to last Saturday’s. Arriving at 10ish, as always the early birds got the best selection . Oscar says about 250 people were ready to shop when they opened at 9 a.m. Stopping at the first table inside the gate, Botanic Wonders immediately had me in thrall with their aloes. Their Aloes boylei, karasbergensis, and capitata ‘Tsiroanomandidy’ ended up being the sum total of my purchases this plant fair — the offer of fresh seed of Dioscorea elephantipes with purchase was a very nice touch! (I’m very excited about my two Aloe boylei, which have the widest leaves of all the grassy-leaved aloes.) Botanic Wonders is open by appointment at their Vista, California nursery. I’ll be adding it to the itinerary of upcoming San Diego road trips.
And then it was on to ogling all the pretty spiny things in bloom.
You can pack a hatchback full of these 4-inch delicacies without breaking a sweat.
Checking out the nursery, I recognized old friends, like this Echeveria gigantea hybrid that just gets better and better. Green Touch’s day-to-day selection is exceptional.
The developing bloom spike on Agave victoriae-reginae has exploded skyward since my last visit.
Nice-looking bunch of spiral aloes.
Thank you so much, Green Touch Nursery, for organizing and hosting cactus and succulent plant fairs — looking forward to the next one! Follow them on Instagram and Facebook for announcements of upcoming sales.