While staying in Oregon for a few months during the pandemic, I found out about Yaquina Nursery that specialize in cactus and succulents. The day before I returned to Seattle for good, I decided to take a mini road trip to see this Yachats gem.
It was a melting 95 degrees while driving along scenic Hwy 34, through the tiny, rural town of Alsea and the beautiful Siuslaw National Forest.
Although once located in Newport, owners Bob and Gerri Foss moved their nursery inland to the eastern farmlands of Yachats 12 years ago. So, once I arrived expecting some relief from the coastal breeze, that was unfortunately not the case. What I did find on this sweltering day were greenhouses filled with over 7,000 species of cacti & succulents, lined neatly by species as far as the eye could see!
I met Steve, one of the 3 employees but the only one on site that day, and Gerri. Although Gerri was busy potting up newly rooted succulents, she was kind enough to take a break and give me a quick tour and history of her nursery.
Her husband, Roy, started the business 52 years ago; starting with $600 worth of seeds! She said they’re the biggest cactus and succulent growers “West of Mississippi and North of San Francisco”. Gerri and Roy pack up their RV and make deliveries to their Oregon retailers, and as they live on-site, are open to the public every single day.
Asked what her favorite cactus is, with a twinkle in her eye, she said “anything flowering!”.
Naturally the greenhouses were absolutely cooking that day in particular, however Steve detected my excitement so patiently showed me through the greenhouses. Dozens of different types of mammillarias were in full bloom and the entire nursery was alive with color! We quickly decompressed outside the greenhouses to catch our breath, then Steve showed me Roy’s “special greenhouse” that houses his collection of some of his favorite plants that the public rarely sees. I got the sense that Roy is a huge fan of Euphorbia obesas as he had rows-upon-rows of them. They were just stunning!
As the heat was getting unbearable both inside and outside the greenhouses, sadly I only lasted about an hour to ogle all the different species of plants. Steve noticed I was starting to wilt (pun intended) and laughed saying this heat was nothing compared to his years living in Florida.
Yes, I’m a wimp, but I’ll make sure next time I visit it’ll be a cloudy, spring day. I dashed out of there; allowing myself to spend $50 (yes, I already have regrets). I already can’t wait to go back. 🙂