Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Wierd places to track down that elusive plant

I am always amazed by the lengths plants enthusiasts will go to to find plants.  It's not just the driving huge distances, or the amount of plants that get crammed into cars.  It's also the ingenuity that goes into always managing to fit at least one quick peak into a nursery or garden no matter where. This got me thinking about what was the most unusual place I have found plants.

For me it has to be on a stag do.

Yes I even managed to slip a bit of plant hunting into a stag do a couple years back. This one was in  Bournemouth for a spot of water-skiing and admittedly a lot of drinking. We were staying in this funny little hotel on the edge of town and as I was parking I spotted a couple of green houses tucked away at the back of the car park. Now my friends are not at all interested in plants, and even if they were, there are strict rules about behaviour and plant hunting is not exactly on the list. 

Having bided my time, I finally managed to find a point to sneak off and have a quick look around the green houses.  Not really expecting to find anything of interest I was surprised to find them full of succulents.  It got better when looking closely I started noticing a few less common ones. The owner came over to say hello and it turned out she was a keen succulent collector who spent half the year in warmer climates where most of her plants were, but she couldn't help but keep some in the UK.  It turned out many spares were for sale at 99p although some were more expensive at a whopping cost of £3. 

So I had a really good rummage around the pots,  the plant addicts here will know what I mean, when you search every single pot in the hope of finding that gem in among everything else. Sure enough I found a couple of aloes I had been after,  really decent sized plants and rare, so I didn't really expect her to sell them.  To my amazement she thought about it for a bit and then said OK as they would be going to a good home.  I had to try to control my grin at getting such bargains. 

So here is my little haul form that trip, I did buy a few others to go with the bargains:

The main plant was this aloe karasbergensis which is a form of a. striata.  You just don't find these in the UK so find one this size for £3 was great.

And as it was there I thought I might as well get the normal a. striata as well.

Sadly all subsequent stag weekends have been plant hunting free, and that is still the most unusual place / occasion I have found plants.  So what was yours?


  1. Very nice karasbergensis and striata. That was a great find. Those are both easy aloes here.

    Some years ago a lady went and pruned all the roses in an old cemetery up north and insisted on giving me cuttings. I didn't really want any but she was so desperate that the cuttings not be wasted I took them. One cutting struck and I still have the plant. That's about as odd as I've gotten.

    You will always have a good story to tell about those Aloes!

  2. My husband and I were on our way to the San Juan Islands in Washington and stopped in the University District of Seattle to do a little book shopping. Hungry, we ventured into a restaurant in the basement of a old building, I think it was Thai. The windows were all covered with plants and the owner was cutting them back. We complimented her on one of them (a Euphorbia, Crown of Thorns...the first I had ever seen) and when we paid the bill to leave we were handed several healthy cuttings in a bag. I've still got the resulting plant! Of course Hoover's comment reminded me of that incident. Now I have to start thinking if I have a better story. Yours is pretty good! So did the guys give you a hard time when they saw your treasures?

  3. A cemetery is pretty weird.

    And Loree, the other guys never found out about the plants, there would have been major forfits if they had so the plants were hidden and then snuck into the plant when no one was looking as I was driving a couple of the guys home as well.

  4. Cool! Or some may say uncool, but I like that story better than any amount of tales of lapdancing and puking over girls in Newquay.

  5. You got some beautiful succulents! Great picks! And sounds like a really good deal!

  6. Oxslip. Yes I try to stay out of all the typical stag-do stuff. Thankfully on this trip there was also waterskiing to keep us out of trouble.

    Candy: It was a very good deal.