Our SPARK trip concluded today with an exclusive tour of The Good Earth Nursery in Fallbrook.
Kim Hammond, our guide, met us early Saturday morning and led us through The Good Earth’s massive grounds. As a rule, the nursery is not open to visitors, even to those of us in the trade. So, we were extremely thankful that Kim and company extended to us this privileged, behind-the-scenes tour.
When I think about this nursery, I dream of all of the beautiful and unusual succulents they produce, mostly things we might buy to sell in small 2” or 4” pots (or maybe 6”, if we dare). I wasn’t prepared for the rows and rows of the huge specimen plants, all basking in the California sunlight.
Indeed, a striking feature of The Good Earth is how much of their product is grown al fresco, in the sun and the light breezes from the coast. The structures of many of the nursery’s greenhouses remain as shells, allowing as much light and air in as possible. To walk through these skeleton houses—full of plants and colors set alive by the sun—is MAGICAL.
Kim showed us some of the 2” propagation that is happening. January is peak season for this nursery—something hard for us Northwesterners to wrap our minds around. Trays of assorted 2” are in huge demand, but Kim explained that nothing leaves the nursery before it is properly rooted and of size.
The Good Earth produces succulents in such a huge palette of colors and textures. The lemon yellows, sea greens, ruby reds, Aeonium, Echeveria, Crassula, spiky, furry, and fasciated will all sweep you up into a frenzy, devising weird and wild creations you can’t wait to plant. My desire to possess as many of these succulents as possible has had me dreaming about this place for weeks!
If you’ve not seen their availability before, you might not know that The Good Earth also grows top-notch indoor plants.
The sizes of some of their Staghorn ferns and ZiZi’s were spectacular!
Good Earth’s normal production of Staghorn ferns is 4″ & 6″ potted and in round and wall baskets, but this mounted Staghorn is right at home here.
Above: Variegated Lipstick dangles above Agloneoma
One group favorite was the ‘Pothos on a Pole,’ which looks fresh out of the jungle. The pole is actually made of a lightweight foam coated with coco coir, authentic enough to fool Tarzan himself.
Kim also led us on a top-secret tour of a botanical garden that the owners are building on site, as a way to give back to their ‘Good Earth.’ Arroyos are being dug, Ocotillos are being woven into living fences, and mature trees are painstakingly planted in order to make their dream a reality. As the wholesale nursery outgrows this site, the botanical garden will take over and continue develop here as a tribute to the spirit of plants and people who have cultivated these grounds.
Next stop: lunch in Oceanside. Check out this fantastic home garden, right on the street next to our parking spot!
If you’re lucky enough to be in Oceanside (and can pull yourself away from the beach), make sure you schedule a coffee break at the Succulent Cafe.
Sit, sip, and gaze at the novel uses of succulents all over the walls and in the planters here in the outdoor cafe.
Once we rounded up everyone from the shops and the boardwalk, we took off down the road towards San Diego and our journey’s end.
What a fantastic trip this has been! We are so thankful to have had such a great group of people along for the ride with us.
Let’s do it again sometime soon!!