For the past few years, we’ve been fortunate to travel and spend time in San Diego CA during January where our grandson Taylan lives with our son Phil and daughter-in-law Annique. Each time we come out, we schedule visits to nurseries in search of new plants to bring back and grow in MA. 3 of our favorite stops are Solana Succulents in Solana Beach, Botanic Wonders and Kartuz Greenhouses in Vista.
Solana Succulents is owned and operated by Jeff Moore, an author of several books on Aloes, Agaves as well as “soft succulents”, which is a phrase now used to describe a wide variety of succulents that are less tolerant of cold temperatures than “hardy” selections, and are generally not prickly or spiny. Jeff always has a treasure trove on display, including hard to find little gems supplied by individual collectors. Solano Succulents carries fun and unique handmade pottery to showcase specimen succulents and bonsai, and has a particularly attractive feline greeter.
Al Klein and Anthony Neubauer of Botanic Wonders in Vista have created a mecca for those in search of rare succulents. Plants are especially well grown and displayed, with an emphasis on Cycads, Cacti, Aloe and Euphorbia. Botanic Wonders also carries some beautiful plant pottery created by local artists. We were especially smitten with the vessels Susan Aach creates.
Kartuz Greenhouses is a tiny backyard operation that is a source for unusual tropical plants with an emphasis on Begonia and Gesneriads. Mike Kartuz, a Massachusetts transplant who settled in Vista in the late 1970’s, was a well known figure in the Begonia Society. Sadly, we learned on this visit that Mike had passed away last summer (2022) at the age of 95. The business is continuing to operate and is run by the very knowledgable and capable Rosa. Rosa worked with Mike in the greenhouse for many years. We hope she continues propagating some truly collectable plants.
We hope to find time in our final week for a few more nursery visits. Watch for a secondary post with more new acquisitions.