May 22, 2014

As was the case with our last blog, it's been almost a year between updates. However, the reason this time is not a dirth of report-worthy activity: on the contrary, it's too much activity and not enough time for journaling. Last fall we finally got our plan to upgrade one of the duplex units approved by the County and promptly made the decision to move down to Rainbow ASAP. Permits were taken, construction begun in December and as of this date we are already most of the way through Phase 1.

The plan is to convert one of the bedrooms into a two-story garage and living room, with a large deck extending out from the east side. (above) The remaining bedroom, livingroom and garage will be re-configured into two larger bedrooms with walk-in closets. (Phase 2) This change also gives us the room to expand the existing bathroom and kitchen, as well as relocate the entry to the north side for more privacy. (right) The new livingroom is pleasantly elevated with a good view across our little valley to the rocky peaks to the north and east. (below) Hopefully, all of this construction will be finished and ready for move-in by the end of this year.

What this will mean for our customers is that Petra will be available seven days a week (well, almost) and you won't be limited to visiting days that fit her commuting schedule.

A big problem with the anticipated move was what to do with all of the plants that were still in Whittier. Those of you who have visited our nursery might be surprised to learn that Petra has even more plants than the mind-boggling plethora already on display in Rainbow. But it's true and, as you couldn't help noticing, nursery space is already at a premium. Of course, the only solution to this thorny problem was to build yet another greenhouse! So we set about it, starting work about the same time as construction on the house began.

We chose the only available space left— in the annex area between the existing kinderhaus complex and our eastern fence. This necessitated the sacrifice of two young pecan trees, but they didn't seem to be doing much anyway (sorry, pecan tree gods). In any case, we did manage to keep the walnut tree (branches above and below), which is thriving. The new greenhouse is essentially a clone of the kinderhaus, although a little smaller at 72' x 22'. Rare Succulents can now boast a total of more than 6200 sq. ft. of fully enclosed greenhouse space!

As of about three weeks ago the new greenhouse was finished to the point where Petra could start moving in. Above and below are views of the north and south entrances.

Needless to say, it didn't take long for Petra to begin populating the new space. It's already 3/4 full! (below) From the beginning, she envisioned this as an area where she could put all of her larger plants that were for sale. Up until now the sales plants have been scattered all over the place, often right next to her private collection and/or breeding stock. Now hopefully distinguishing between the two will be simpler for everybody. Our new greenhouse has been officially dubbed the "sales house."

In the meantime, the upper terraces begun last spring were finally finished this winter. Planting couldn't commence until spring and this spring has been an unusually busy one. Nothing is in yet, but Petra just recently put in a section of irrigation, so the time must be nigh.

Petra relaxes on the patio with her godson Axel, who is visiting California on a foreign internship for his university curriculum in Germany.