Today I want to pass along some plant information before it leaves my brain for good. I'm holding my head steady, letting valuable tid-bits filter down to my fingers which are poised and ready on the keyboard.
The last time we talked, I told you about the Monterey Bay Greenhouse Cruise (without the boat.) Yesterday I cruised through three very large flower establishments, all using green farming methods. The other greenhouses will have to wait till next year as there is only so much time in a Saturday afternoon.
The first stop was McLellan Botanicals where a bazillion types of orchids are grown. I thought I saw one with the Madonna--maybe not. But I saw a blue orchid, seriously! I learned that orchids can absorb dye from their roots or they can be spray-painted with a product that actually colors and protects the petals. McLellans get most of their varieties of two or three-year-old orchids from Taiwan. With proper heat and moisture control and a ton of patience, they are eventually shipped out for sale. Bringing them to "bloom" takes years.
My second greenhouse experience was the Succulent Gardens, where one is immediately greeted by a monsterly large globe made out of ......succulents! I saw succulents as small as rice and others that were bigger than a breadbox--much bigger. I learned how to propagate succulents. Rip their little arms off, wait a day if they are small and up to weeks if they are a large variety. The arm (leaf) has to grow a scab before it is inserted into special healthy soil. If you don't want to rip arms off, just buy the grown-ups.
Third stop was California Pajarosa, where they grow the most beautiful roses on a very large scale. The farm began two months before "The Big One" better known as the earthquake of 1989. They lost all their greenhouses and they were not insured yet. So what did Pajarosa do? They rebuilt and today they have the largest rose establishment in the country--actually they have outfits in many countries around the world. Expert machinery takes pictures of each picked rose, categorizes it and drops it into the proper pile. Actually, people do most of the work. The machine sells for $300,000 and they have three of them. All the local
rose-growing competition has dropped out in recent years due to the fact that gardens are subsidized by governments round the world, and here in the states they are simply taxed.
Besides growing roses, Pajarosa grows hydrangeas and many other flowers and ornamental greens.