It’s February, but the weather has been so warm and sunny of late, that it feels like it is much later into spring than just being late winter.
With that thought, we have been very busy in the greenhouses growing all sorts of plants in preparation for our Open Farm Days this spring. We are, of course, growing hundreds of varieties of herbs, heirloom and heritage food plants, fairy miniature plants, native and wildlife habitat plants, and succulents and a few varieties of cacti.
Above is a picture of our desert garden in the driveway of the farm. This garden provides us with a lot of seeds and materials for vegetative propagation for some of the plants we will have available in our Farm Stand store this spring.
We will have some agave plants, This one in the desert garden bloomed last summer. If you follow this blog, you will recall all the attention we gave her as she put up her seed stalk.
We have chollas, which are native to our part of Colorado, and important habitat for many birds like the quail, house finches, and these three curved billed thrasher chicks. The parents of these chicks live in the cholla year round, and they raise three batches of chicks each spring and summer.
This is the mother plant to some of the chollas that will be for sale in the Farm Stand this spring.
We have great fun making these plants available to our farm customers, and we are thrilled when our farm visitors and neighbors enjoy the beauty of our gardens here. There will be yuccas, some cacti, hesperaloes, iceplants and sedums…lots of different succulents and cacti.
Everyone especially enjoys when the blooming begins, like this Chinle Opuntia with its beautiful double peach colored flowers. This is a plant we got from The Cactus Man!
So, The Cactus Man is a very special friend of ours and especially to me. His birth name is Kelly Grummons and he is a plantsman extraordinaire.
I met Kelly when my 33-year-old daughter was 5 years old and I took a job at a very large nursery in Denver called Paulino Gardens. I’m sure some of you shop there and it really is an incredible place to find a large selection of plants. Kelly was the head grower there at the time and I spent 6 years working with him as his plant propagator. I gained experience growing a couple thousand varieties of plants while I was there, including a lot of cacti and succulents. Kelly gained an amazing reputation for growing so many varieties of plants, but especially these types of plants and native species.
It was a tremendous experience for me to work with him and he became a special friend and a plant mentor to me. Chris also knew Kelly in those days, as Chris was working as the manager of Chatfield Arboretum, now called Chatfield Farms at Denver Botanic Gardens, and his and Kelly’s paths would cross sometimes through their work.
Later after my days at Paulino Gardens, Chris and I went on to start our farm Desert Canyon Farm in 1996. Kelly left Paulinos to run his own specialty nursery in Arvada called Timberline Gardens, which was open until about a year ago. Kelly also began a very special and unique mail-order nursery called Cold Hardy Cactus, which is how he spends most of his time now.
Through the years, Kelly has gathered and been gifted with unique, sometimes rare, collections of succulents and cacti, which he cares for in his beautiful stock gardens.
These stock gardens are the source of much of his seed and vegetative propagation materials that he uses to grow the plants he offers through his website mail-order nursery. Truly, even if you only like cactus and succulents a little bit, you will love the plants Kelly grows and sells. If you really like these kinds of plants, you will think you have died and gone to heaven when you browse his website! Surely. you will find special plants you must have for your personal gardens. This I definitely know to be true, so check it out.
This is The Cactus Man! This is Kelly Grummons, our friend and a passionate plantsman. It is my honor to introduce you to him if you haven’t met his acquaintance before. If you know Kelly already, well… then you know this is a very special man and a gift to all of us who love gardening and unique plants.
With Green Thoughts, Tammi