I know cacti are the plant du jour right now, but I’ve got a long-standing love of them.
When I was 8, I visited a fair at a local church with my mum, and the only thing I was interested in was a stand selling cacti. I begged her for a Christmas cactus, and she said I’d never look after it properly, but eventually relented.
10 years later, that cactus was still going strong. In fact – it’s now joined by the scores of different varieties of succulents and cacti which have been gradually taking over the surfaces in my house over the past few years, and I’ve got something of a cacti problem.
So, when FieldandNest suggested we visited the oldest cacti nursery in the UK last weekend, I jumped at the chance.
The Abbey Brook Cactus Nursery in Matlock, Derbyshire, is currently celebrating its 60th anniversary, and is still being run by the same enthusiast who founded it back in 1956.
Located in the middle of a little village near Matlock, Derbyshire, it is something of a pilgrimage for cacti and succulent lovers.
Wandering through the plants, it’s easy to see why. The three open greenhouses contain an eye watering number of varieties of succulents and cacti. From tiny to towering, prickly to furry and lush green to fuzzy white, it’s a who’s who of cacti species.
Not only is the range of species impressive, but the specialist expertise the owner is able to give out is brilliantly helpful if, like me, you’ve ever struggled to get your plantcare quite right (my tired old original succulents are still a good example of what can happen when you over-enthusiastically water them!)
The nursery sells homemade mixed compost, which I’ve no doubt is much better than the stuff you pick up in chain shops – not to mention cheaper.
There’s also an array of awkwardly sized plant pots on sale from 5p per pot – ideal if you’ve ever struggled to find pots tiny enough for your miniscule cacti.
The plants themselves are reasonable, too – I picked up 5 cacti and succulents of various sizes for £30.
Time will tell, but having witnessed firsthand the expertise, care and attention used to grow them, I’d be fairly confident that they’ll probably do a lot better than the anaemic varieties often found in more mainstream shops.
Abbey Brook Cactus Nursery
Old Hackney Lane
T: 01629 580306
Which types of plants do you tend to hoard? I’d love to add some other species to my collection!
Photo credits: Image 3, 7, 9, 12 and 14 by FieldandNest. All others are by me.