Wednesday, July 10, 2013

California Cactus Center

Up Rosemead Boulevard way lies a sleepy little place called the California Cactus Center. It right on the street but once youre through the gate, time seems to wind down.

The traffic gets drowned out by gurgling fountains, and all you hear are soft steps, chit chat, and trowels dipping into buckets of colored ground cover chips and pebbles. 

Rows and rows of every kind of succulent, big and small, spindly and plump, native but strange, line the back half of the property . Little aliens. The front half has a wild array of more mature specimens, including a 12-foot saguaro. Pots and planters of all shapes colors and sizes can be bought, including a pretty nice array of vintage pots. 

I'm into replanting mine and making my own arrangements, but for people who want to keep their hands clean, or maybe need a stunning "I'm sorry" gift, they have potted arrangements, hanging succulent wreaths, and custom designs at the ready. They're great for inspiring different color and texture combos.

The pots are pretty inspiring too. They have a nice selection of conventionally made and handmade offerings, as well as some mexican tin and talavera doodads. 

I noticed this time around they've really stepped up their air plant game. I've been toying with getting one, but now I think I'm finally convinced. They displayed one tucked into a folded ceramic wall hanging that I'd like to replicate.

Once a month I treat myself to a small flat of plants. This time I got mostly blue and purple hued plants, with my favorite being the butterfly plant. Tons of tiny dual petals form on the edges of the leaves, so it looks like it is covered in tiny pink butterflies. 

This was my most expensive choice, but the prices of most everything else, especially the "pup" plants, are reasonable, between 2 and 5 bucks.

You can see why I limit this to once a month.