At a garden and plant fair here in the Ardèche this spring I met a cactus grower that had a beautiful stand with all kinds of rare cacti, succulents and caudex. It was super busy at the stand and they told me it was possible to visit their nursery in… Saint Marcel d’Ardèche. Which is basically in the next village from here. I’ve been wanting to visit ever since, but yesterday I finally rang them to make an appointment. And oh my: it was stunning! Owner Alain Mouchel welcomed me and immediately asked me if I was looking “for something special”. Well, I am always looking for something special, but I was mostly blown away by his enormous collection. Unlike the one million cacti at Cactuskwekerij van der Linden in Honselerdijk in the Netherlands: there were not thousands of the same cactus species, but thousands of different varieties of cacti, succulents, euphorbia, caudex, agaves and so much more. And yes I found a lot of “something special”. Have a look:
Those small corners where plants take over, are so poetic:
Wow, just wow:
A few years ago, Alain lost of lot of temperature sensitive plants to an electricity blackout. The alarm that he had installed to wake him up in case of a blackout, didn’t work as it was supposed to. This experience guided him towards growing plants that are slightly less sensitive to temperature drops. And at the same time he’s slowing down his activity a bit, going towards the age of retirement.
Not all plants here are for sale, of course, some are “mother plants” that allow to grow more babies, like these beautiful boob cacti Myrtillocactus geometrizans:
While talking, Alain explained how his clientele has changed over the last years: where the majority of his clients used to be true plant collectors, nowadays he also receives landscape designers that are looking for tall cereus cacti for their wealthy clients’ arid gardens in the South of France.
His Cereus forbesii Spiralis had a lot of flowers this season:
When there are so many beautiful plants, it’s not an easy task to pick the plants that you want to adopt. I was completely overwhelmed and will be back. But so far I bought a small Lophocereus schottii monstruosus (a totem cactus! finally!), an Espostoa nana (a hairy cactus), a Polaskia chichip (tall cactus), a cool Tephrocactus articulatus (a ball cactus with straw-like hair), a mini Echeveria and a smaller Pachyphytum.
If you want to buy some of Alain’s plants, don’t ask me, but check his website for all details, he ships until the end of October. If you want to have more choice: visit his nursery here in Ardèche. Call him during lunch or dinner time to schedule an appointment.
Fleur de Cactus – Alain Mouchel
07700 St-Marcel d’Ardèche
Call to make an appointment, preferably during lunch & dinner time: +33(0)4 75 04 67 70
All info on their website HERE.