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Solana Succulence

April 4, 2010

Profusion defined

Paul’s niece Lindsay was in from Austin yesterday, and we met her and a friend for lunch in Solana Beach. Solana Beach is located about 20 miles north of San Diego, between Del Mar to the south, and Encinitas to the north. A small town of about 13,000, it’s home to a great design district (see upcoming posts) and lots of terrific succulent dealers! This opening Solana Beach post concerns Solana Succulents, one of the most exciting succulent nurseries I’ve ever been to. Although the nursery, owned by Jeff Moore, is relatively small, it defines the word profusion with an truly astounding collection of succulents of every type. There are tiny succulents, ready for purchase in their little plastic pots, to enormous tree varieties that must stand 20 feet or more, and literally just about everything in between! For me, being in the midst of all this succulent splendor was emotionally overwhelming and I felt like I might come unglued. I had to move very quickly through, taking it in, then starting over… slowing down and taking pictures to distance myself just a touch from all that surrounded me. Laugh if you must, but succulent love is real … and, for someone like me who’s easily excited by the range of colors, shapes and sizes of these confoundingly beautiful plants it’s easy to become overwhelmed. I’ve gathered myself now; let’s have a look …

Where's Paul-do?

Looking at the shot above it’s easy to get an idea of the type of abundance I’m referring to. We were literally surrounded on every side, and on-up into the air overhead, by succulents. Jeff had lots of the usual succulent suspects, but he also had very different varieties and hybrids of them too. At first I thought I would never be able to zero-in on any one plant I might want, there was just too much to choose from. But after calming myself I began to look more closely and, voilá! I was able to find a few things I wanted! More on that later, for now let’s look at more of the succulent extravaganza:

No easy choices!

The shot with the large metal water-filled basin is from the front of an Indian clothing store Jeff’s nursery shares space with; all others are from the nursery proper. The light-catching qualities of succulents are plain in these pictures. Whether showily backlit or with sunlight spotlighting their awesome color combos, I can’t not love these plants massed like this!

Easy, right?

I loved Jeff’s easy-t0-understand pricing system. I also loved his prices. Adding a 10% discount, I felt like I’d really gotten a great deal on my selects. Here’s what I came away with:

Solana succulence

I’m not entirely sure but the full specimen, top left, looks like a milk bush. Sadly, the name tag was lost on the way home. At top right, the tall slender plant is furcrea mcdougalii, a rare variety that can grow quite large, with a showy, agave-like presentation … although it could take 20 years to achieve it. Almost hidden is a mangave called “bloodspot”. Think an agave with spatters in a deep purple. Although you can’t tell in this photo it’s very striking. In the foreground is a not-easy-to-find yellow jade plant. I’ve been wanting one of these since I saw one in Debra Lee Baldwin’s Succulent Container Gardens book (see it here). I had a pot picked out for this one already but it was terra cotta and didn’t provide enough contrast with the golden hue. Easy solution:  I painted it with a charcoal wash and now I have the color pop I was looking for!

My visit to Solana Succulents was a perfect start to a sunny Saturday. Jeff Moore is very genial and he mentioned that he was creating an undersea-themed succulent display for the upcoming LA Garden Show (click here for info). He’s created similar displays for the 2002 Del Mar Fair garden show and 2 years later for the Philadelphia Flower Show. He’s also done permanent undersea-themed installations for the San Diego Botanic Garden and SeaWorld San Diego. I also remembered that Sunset magazine had run a how-to feature on undersea succulent installation like the one Jeff did for the SDBG, and you can read it here. Love succulents? Love ’em a lot — and lots of them? Then, you’ve got to visit Jeff at Solana Succulents. You’ll be blown away!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2010 4:33 am

    Oh, man…I would have felt just like you!!! Man can only take so much excitement like this at one time!!! LOL! Seriously though…it all looked unbelieveable and awesome! I love your yellow jade!!!

  2. faroutflora permalink
    April 5, 2010 5:08 am

    Succulent love is real! I was almost teary eyed when we visited Succulent Gardens for the first time on Friday.

  3. Rob Roy permalink
    April 6, 2010 7:59 pm

    Great article, looking forward to seeing it myself.

  4. April 11, 2010 4:23 am

    Love the Furcrea mcdougalii!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 11, 2010 4:31 am

      I know, it’s gorgeous, and I feel very lucky to have it as well!

  5. April 22, 2010 3:38 am

    Hola Senor Rubidoux! I finally got to your blog. Thanks for the kind words and nice photos; it was fun to see the nursery thru someone else’s eyes. Glad you’ve got the succulent love, and hope to see you again. I owe you a plant.

    Thanks
    Jeff

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 22, 2010 4:44 am

      My pleasure, Jeff…

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