Nursery hopping in September


Fall is the perfect time to buy and plant new items into your gardens. On September 15th, seventeen members of the club carpooled to Fallbrook to spend the morning at two very interesting nurseries: Serra Gardens and The Mad Potter. The cooler weather was a real treat and perfect for this type of excursion.
Serra Gardens was founded 10 years ago as a wholesale business but is now open to the public. The owner, Don Newcomer, grew up as a “plant nerd” in Santa Monica and start his nursery with a stock of plants he inherited from a nurseryman in that area that had mentored him.
The nursery is located off Santa Margarita Drive, across the street from the Masonic Cemetery. Maybe the proximity to the cemetery explaines some of the unique, somewhat spooky-looking cacti the nursery specializes in. One called the Spineless Totem Pole Cactus had bulbous and twisted features and looked like something out of Mother Nature’s experimental phase (see photo). The Totems are from Mexico and are very rare very expensive. The nursery actually sells them by the inch. Everyone in our group would have loved to own one, but only a couple of folks bought small specimens. The plant is very slow growing, so the rest of us have little hope of getting cuttings from them any time soon.
The nursery had many other unique cacti and euphorbias, as well as a variety of other more common succulents, all available in many sizes. We walked the grounds with the assistance of Don and two of his employees, who answered our questions. Most everyone came away with new ideas and at least one purchase.
Next, we headed back on Mission Road toward the I-15 to The Madd Potter, to see its eclectic collection of pottery, plants and yard art. If you are looking for a large selection of pots, this is the place for you, as they have everything from very small to super extra-large sizes, a large number set up as fountains. They sell a variety of succulents, as well as many flowering perennials. We enjoyed their milkweed display of caterpillars, with Monarch butterflies flitting about feeding on the nectar-filled blooms. A few of us caught photos of a very large red dragonfly enjoyed a dip in a water-feature. A portion of the group stayed to enjoy bag lunches at one of the many picnic tables located throughout the property.
Special thanks to Ken Krieger and Shirley Cail for arranging the nursery visits and to Edi and Harry Demik for providing water and fresh-baked cookies for our dessert. If you are interested in our club and would like more information, please contact Lisa at or call (760)749-8723.