120 nursey big hit with Bay Area folks
Cactus is catching on in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
Roelyn Poot — who owns Poot’s House of Cactus on East Highway 120 near Murphy Road where the railroad tracks cross the road at The Wine Group winery — told Ripon Rotarians at their Wednesday noon meeting at Spring Creek Country Club that valley tastes are changing.
She said Bay Area residents long represented 90 percent of their clientele as they stopped by on their way to and from Yosemite National Park and the Sierra.
Now they are about 75 percent with valley residents representing 25 percent of their business. There are also tourists from as far away as Sweden and Russia that drop by their specialty nursery.
Roelyn and husband Bill gave birth to their business years ago moving to Escalon and then to Ripon where they opened their cactus nursery on the highway leading to Yosemite National Park to introduce cactus into the Ripon community and to travelers passing by their nursery.
Roelyn along with her husband and their son Brian keep the nursery open from 9 until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is closed on Sunday when she changes hats and serves as the organist at the First Christian Reformed Church in Ripon.
She said that many new customers will stop in on their way to and from funerals at the nearby St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and St. John’s Cemetery.
She explained to the Rotary members how succulents retain moisture and should be watered only about once a week Poot singled out aloe plants noting they are wonderful for treating sunburns.
The importance of growing the many varieties involves location, soil and knowing how much to water. She said that succulents should be planted only on the east side of a house keeping them out of full sun. Poot said there are thousands upon thousands of succulents in the world.
The couple started the nursery with a single plant when they were living in Pleasanton growing tomatoes and cucumbers. They moved to the rural Ripon area and opened the nursery in 1986.
The nursery’s Facebook page is filled with video of cacti flowers opening in slow motion during the spring months. Also, customers have left positive recollections of their impressions of the gardens on Highway 120 and the excitement of their visits.
“Awesome!” one wrote. “If you love cactus and succulents, this is the place to go.”
Another noted: “Very attentive owners, tremendous selection and beautiful gardens.”
A third wrote, “Don’t miss the opportunity to visit if you are going to or from Yosemite National Park.”
And yet a fourth customer added, “The cactus and succulent selection is unbelievable. There are a lot of cool plants that I haven’t seen anywhere.”
A Fresno woman said, “We drove from Fresno to Lodi for a reptile show and made it a point to stop here on our way home. I can’t wait to go back.”
Another said, “This is my favorite nursery in Northern California. The only place in Nor Cal that has a large selection of cacti plants and succulents.”
Poot’s House of Cactus gardens along Highway 120 east of Murphy Road in rural Ripon are filled with living displays of plants.