120 nursey big hit with Bay Area folks

Manteca Bulletin - - Front Page - By GLENN KAHL

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.”

GLENN KAHL/ The Bul­letin

Poot’s House of Cac­tus gar­dens along High­way 120 east of Mur­phy Road in ru­ral Ripon are filled with liv­ing dis­plays of plants.

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