Winter Break

The nursery is now closed for winter break, and not a moment too soon. It’s freezing out there, what with temperatures down into the 50s on some days! And rain too! Brrrr…. I think the real problem is that I have a wonderful warm winter coat and a really rain-resistant rain coat, but there are days when it’s both rainy and cold and then what can I do? I can choose to be warm or I can choose to be dry. Some choice.

Anyway, for the past 5 years we’ve been closed for all of January, and this year we’ve reduced it to only 2 weeks. Bummer. It’s not enough time to catch up on all the work needed to get ready for spring, but the crew will try. We’ll be adding a new bigger Houseplant greenhouse, moving the potting stations to increase our dry-goods sales area, and preparing a spot to bring in organic vegetable starts for spring for the first time.

And I’ll be blogging straight through nonetheless. Maybe not at my furious pace like in the warm summer months, but I’ve still got my camera out and am taking pictures of winter bloomers.

Oh, and we’ll be reopening on January 14, 2009, 9:00am bright and early, and by then I’m sure temperatures will be back up into the 60s.

Quiet Time

The nursery quiets down around 4pm on weekends in the winter. It’s a nice time to blog, but all I’ve got is this blog post about how it’s a nice time to blog after 4pm on weekends in the winter. Thin gruel indeed.

Weather Update

According to the weather report, we got down to 35 last night, but at the nursery we were 31. Those 4 degrees make a lot of difference. For one thing, I had a thick layer of frost on my windshield this morning. And for another thing, it’s a good thing we got the blooming kalanchoes indoor last night before the company party or they’d be flopped over and bloomless. Blameless too.

Frost blankets over the Agave attenuatas seem to have worked well.

Wool socks are standing me in good stead this morning.

Hot coffee seems particularly hot today.

Benjamin is particularly whiney about the cold, and well he should be what with no body fat and a tiny short haired fur coat. But he’s easy to fix – blankets and electric heaters seems to take care of him. I forgot the camera, or I’d show you a picture.

Here’s a link to a short video, well more like a still photo, of a snow covered cactus.

Cactus Photography

I’m back from the sinus troubles, and feeling mostly OK now, and just in time for the family coming to stay over Thanksgiving.

Plus, it appears I’m having a photography exhibition at the store, really our 4th Art Exhibition of the year!

You know my photos from the website and the blog, now see them in person – enlarged and framed.

Or just take a break from Black Friday and come have some fine wines (Hap’s been picking out some nice ones), warm coffee and bread + cheeses too.

Peter Lipson Photography
November 28 – December 24, 2008

Opening Party
Friday, November 28, 2:00 pm to 5:00pm

Cactus Jungle Nursery and Garden
1509 4th Street, Berkeley 94710

Did I mention that you’re invited?


We’re going into our winter ad campaign in a couple weeks, and that means one thing: Succulent Wreaths.

In the meantime, our summer ads telling people to stop watering their gardens don’t seem all that relevant once the rains have started. So I quickly came up with an intermediate ad before the holiday rush.

Garden Art

Only 2 more weeks left, and then Suzanne’s coming to take her art back and send it off to a proper art gallery. I like pretending we’re an outdoor gallery.

Suzanne Long

Garden Art

One more shot of the garden art we’re featuring this month, by Suzanne Long.

California Native Plants

You may be wondering why there’s been more California Native photos this week than cactus or succulents.

I’ve been featuring some native plants this week, because we’re about to have our first big Native Plant Sale at the nursery. We’ve brought in all kinds of natives. We have probably close to 100 species out right now. And now is the best time to plant them, so you know, get with the program.

Here’s our ad running in the Chronicle.

The ad looks weird online, versus in the paper which it was designed for.

Plus we have radio ads too. KPIG on your AM dial, local radio, classic Americana. Good stuff.

Garden Art

Another one of Suzanne Long’s pieces on display at the nursery:

Garden Art

Our current art exhibition looks great out among the plants at the nursery.

Suzanne Long.

In the Case of Spider v Slug…

Look what we found in among the olive trees.

There’s been a lot of spiders out this time of year. I carry a bamboo stake when coming in to the nursery first thing, to clear all the webs along the aisles. It’s starting to get to the point where they’re across the window on the car, across the front door at home, and they spin those webs so fast that you can clear an aisle and find another full web within an hour!

Maybe I should ask Keith to stop feeding them slugs so they’ll go away.

What, No Pictures?

No, no pictures today. We’re too busy, and we’ve been setting up the new POS system for the store, so you’ll just have to wait. The POS goes live on Monday, so come on by to see everyone flail around trying to ring up a sale. It should be fun.


We had a nice garden party for the Opening of the art exhibit last night. Not too many people, since there was a little rain and people are clearly frightened of the rain. The art looks amazing sitting among the plants. Maybe I’ll photograph it for the blog.

Garden Sculpture Leads to Fantastic Party

I don’t know what that headline means. All I know is we’re haveing an opening night party tomorrow for our latest art exhibition at the nursery.

Suzanne Long Garden Sculpture

September 19 – October 31, 2008

Opening Night Party September 19, 4-6pm

See you then, OK? Good.

Garden Party

Did I mention the garden sculpture? Party this Friday? 4-6pm?

Suzanne Long Garden Sculpture

Garden Sculpture

We’re having another art exhibition, opening this Friday Sept. 19, 4-6pm. Cheese, wine, party-like atmosphere, all in an outdoor garden setting at the nursery.

Suzanne Long Garden Sculpture

I’m busy putting together the postcards. Here’s one image, but really, you have to see these in person, they’re fantastic.

Art Opening Tonight

We’re having our 2nd Art Opening tonight at the nursery, and you’re invited.

Phyllis Pacin
Ceramic Tile
July 18 – August 31

Friday, July 18, 4-6pm
Cactus Jungle Nursery and Garden

It's Our Latest Newspaper Ad

This one is a very timely and up-to-date ad I designed for the California market. It was to appear in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, in the Home and Garden section. But it got censored.

Weddings start this Tuesday all over the state. The new version of the ad can be seen in today’s Chron, just not this one, which can only be seen here on the web.

We've Been Boycotted!

This is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever encountered on the web. My nursery is being boycotted by the Right Wingers at freerepublic. I wouldn’t normally link to them, but you have to click through to believe this.

I mean, I know we here in Berkeley sometimes do things that drive the Right a little nuts. This was something about the city council voting to support a Code Pink protest of a Marine recruitment office.

Anyway, I think it’s fantastic that they’re boycotting our tiny little local nursery, since posting the link serves to increase our Google rankings.

I really want to write something particularly pithy and humorous, but I’m a little overwhelmed that we got boycotted! Woohoo! It does a Berkeley boy’s heart good to be boycotted by the freepers. Am I bragging on this a bit too much?

Customer Gets Echinocereus to Bloom Big

We like it when you send us your photos.

Here we have a friendly couple, with a couple of friendly dogs, who came into the nursery with a large trough to fill, and they picked out some lovely cacti. Spiny cacti, even. Poor dog. Well, the blooms are going crazy all over.

I’ll feature my own photo of the mammillaria (the one on the left) tomorrow, from before they planted it.

Hi Peter, Hi Hap:

Attached please find pictures of our antique Chinese water trough filled with your beautiful cacti!
Check out the blooms on the tall one!!

You may remember us from the pottery art show, and due to our little dogs.
Also, my orchid is blooming again thanks to your help.


The Bingleys

Art Opening Tonight

Harriet Love – New Pottery
Opening tonight, April 18, 4-6pm at the nursery.
Cactus Jungle Nursery and Garden
1509 4th Street, Berkeley

Please come and share our wine and cheese and crackers, ’cause if you don’t we’ll be very sad, and we’ll eat too much and drink too much, and then maybe we’ll have fun anyway. But really, you know, you should come.

Pottery Exhibit

Harriet Love – New Pottery

We’re having our first ever art exhibit. April 18 – May 31.
Opening night party is Friday April 18, 4-6pm at the nursery, and we’re very excited, so we hope you can come.

Red Foot Tortoises

Jacob and Mica are visiting the nursery today, and tomorrow too!

Yesterday we found three eggs in their pen. They’ve been very busy. I forgot to bring a cable to connect the camera to the computer, so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see them, unless you come in to visit.

Mixed Succulent Pottery

We’ve been working on getting together a pottery exhibition of new work by Harriet Love. Here is one we have potted up as a mixed succulent pot.

The opening night party is Friday, April 18, 4-6pm at the nursery. We’ll have wine and cheese, just like a gallery would! Woohoo!

Sam at Work

While taking pictures of our new signs, I caught Samuella Smith at work on the Oreocereuses. Do you think she’ll ask me to take this down when she finds out about it? We’re taking bets now…

*** Chartreuse Bloom ALERT *** (spurge edition)

Euphorbia characias c.v. “Bruce’s Dwarf”

It’s the dreaded chartreuse blooms. Everybody asks if there really are any chartreuse blooms, and I always tell them no. No there aren’t any chartreuse blooms. But I’m lying. Not only does this spurge bloom chartreuse, but so does the Echinocereus viridiflorus.

In case you were wondering what chartreuse really means, considering that there’s a picture right above that you might not believe your own eyes, here’s the wikipedia traditional chartreuse sample for your perusal.


August 2020

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