Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Another (!!!) Trip to the Vivero

The photos below are of the two plant nurseries near La Penita.
The two people at the head stafff at each of the two nurseries we visisted. Benjamin and ???
I am writing this in Chacala, while I am waiting for a ride with a friend to a plant nursery, or two, or maybe three. This woman built a house here last year and is working on her garden during this visit to Chacala. We are going plant hunting, hoping for succulents. And just looking around to see what’s available.I really like what she has done so far at her place. The area in front of her house is mostly rocks, and she has some great plants growing there, including some agaves and a really beautiful bougainvillea. It’s blossoms are kind of a rust creamy pinkish yellow and really pretty. That’s a ridiculous description. I will take a photo some time.The nurseries I have been to in Mexico: In Chacala, P.V., La Penita, Brucerias, El Tuito, San Miguel de Allende, Tonala, and San Juan de Los Lagos share a lot of similarities. For example, there are no labels on the plants. And the staff rarely knows anything about the plants except for it’s colloquial name. Sometimes they know how big the plant will grow, and how long that will take. But mostly they don’t, or they seem to be guessing.But the plants always seem to be well cared for and watered. And the grounds are usually very orderly and pleasant to be in. Shady and comfortable. Generally with decent bathrooms, which is always nice.San Miguel seemed to have some pretty sophisticated nursery staff, and also some of the strangest. I think one parking lot nursery had stolen plants for sale. I think that because three men drove up in a large truck and started screaming at the guy who was watering the plants, and pushing him around. Then they started loading up the truck with plants. Apparently chosen at random, but who knows. Of course, there was really no way for me to know what was going on, and I walked away. A little too exciting for me.Nursery staff here rarely recommend plants be grown in the direct sun, that is, more than six hours a day. And almost all the plants are arranged in the nurseries so they get either no direct sun, or maybe four hours a day. I am assuming that’s because the sun is so intense here. We are only at 22 degrees north latitude, but that’s a difference that being at 45 degrees, or whatever. I don’t exactly how being closer to the equator effects the strength of the sun’s rays, but it sure seems to make a difference.Yesterday afternoon I made cuttings from Desert Rose, Bougainvillea, Hibiscus, and Ixora plants that are growing at this house. (Photos of the lants are in the previous post.) They are all softwood cuttings, and who knows how they will do. I have been doing a set of cuttings every 10 days or so, and most of the cutting stem to be doing okay. Maybe I loose 25% of the non-succulent cuttings. The succulents pretty much all do okay. I am learning about this stuff, but I have along ways to go. I have been keeping my pots of plant starts under the papaya tree in front of the house. But the papaya is growing so fast it’s not giving enough shade, so I am going to have to figure out sometime else. Maybe a little shade house or something.

Follow-up. Had a very nice trip to the nurseries. But we didn't really find any good plants. I hope the lack of succulents in the local nurseries doesn't mean they always fail here. Well, i know that's not true, because I have Desert Roses and some other succulents growing here in Chacala that are more than three years old.Did get two sacks of dirt and a couple of little cactus starts and a Portulaca. It's fun to go to the nursery with another plant lover. We found a couple of beautiful cacti plants that my friend probably will buy. It was a different afternoon than my usual hurrying around trying to find things while the driver is waiting for me. We went into La Penita for the ATM and for a lovely ice cream break in a nice little place with good ceiling fans. A nice afternoon with a safe driver.

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