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The Wonderful World of Succulents

A few weeks before Christmas, my friend Niki and I planned a holiday gift hunting adventure. She suggested meeting at Mountain Crest Gardens—a family owned nursery—in Fort Jones, CA to find creative presents.

The weather was chilly, so I stopped for a takeaway coffee at Starbucks in Yreka. From there, I drove into the fog that enveloped Forest Mountain and descended into a sun-filled Scott Valley. I arrived highly caffeinated and ready to explore the wonderful world of succulents with Niki.

We wandered around the greenhouse looking at the plants and taking photos. Diffuse lighting filled the area, and the broad range of colors made the experience perfect for photography. The plants were colorful, had neat textures, and I loved looking at the dewdrops on the leaves. I wanted to take all the succulents home!

I didn’t buy all the plants, but I did purchase two dozen succulents for holiday gifts, birthday presents, and I bought a few for my home. Shopping for succulent themed presents at Mountain Crest Gardens was one of my favorite gift gathering experiences because the nursery was quiet, the staff members were helpful, and I learned about succulents too. Before my visit, I didn’t know so many varieties of succulents existed.

When Mountain Crest Gardens opened they “grew a few hundred varieties of hardy Sempervivum, Sedum, Jovibarba heuffelii, and Rosularia,” and the plants were sold from a mail-order catalog. In 2001, the nursery shifted to direct sales and moved their catalog online. Today, the nursery has over 650 varieties of succulents, hybrids, and more. Plus, they ship succulents year-round to all U.S. states and territories. It’s cool to know that a tiny town like Fort Jones has such a big succulent business.

Happy succulent hunting!

PRO-TIPS: 

—Mountain Crest Gardens Hours & Information: The nursery is open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 7 am to 3.30pm. They also offer occasional classes based on interest. If you need help with succulent care, visit Mountain Crest Gardens’ website. It’s full of information, education, tips, and tools relating to succulents. They also ship nationwide! Learn more about shipping and ordering here.

—More fun in Fort Jones: Depending on the season, you can compliment your succulent hunting adventuring with a stop at the California Heritage Farms U-Pick Berry Patch. If you’re into history check out Fort Jones’s Museum on Main Street. It’s within walking distance of restaurants.

—Good Eats: Before you explore the wonderful world of succulents, have breakfast and a cappuccino at Three Little Birds. Afterward, stop by Five Mary’s Burgerhouse for a burger and a beer. I also recommend trying their macaroni and cheese or tacos! Both restaurants are fun places to people watch while waiting for a tasty meal.

—Lodging: Pair a trip to Fort Jones with an overnight stay at The Gifted Horse Lodge. The lodge has a gift shop and deli on site, it’s within walking distance to restaurants, and Mountain Crest Gardens is less than a mile from the inn.

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A few weeks before Christmas, my friend Niki and I planned a holiday gift hunting adventure. She suggested meeting at Mountain Crest Gardens—a family owned nursery—in Fort Jones, CA to find creative presents.

The weather was chilly, so I stopped for a takeaway coffee at Starbucks in Yreka. From there, I drove into the fog that enveloped Forest Mountain and descended into a sun-filled Scott Valley. I arrived highly caffeinated and ready to explore the wonderful world of succulents with Niki.

We wandered around the greenhouse looking at the plants and taking photos. Diffuse lighting filled the area, and the broad range of colors made the experience perfect for photography. The plants were colorful, had neat textures, and I loved looking at the dewdrops on the leaves. I wanted to take all the succulents home!

I didn’t buy all the plants, but I did purchase two dozen succulents for holiday gifts, birthday presents, and I bought a few for my home. Shopping for succulent themed presents at Mountain Crest Gardens was one of my favorite gift gathering experiences because the nursery was quiet, the staff members were helpful, and I learned about succulents too. Before my visit, I didn’t know so many varieties of succulents existed.

When Mountain Crest Gardens opened they “grew a few hundred varieties of hardy Sempervivum, Sedum, Jovibarba heuffelii, and Rosularia,” and the plants were sold from a mail-order catalog. In 2001, the nursery shifted to direct sales and moved their catalog online. Today, the nursery has over 650 varieties of succulents, hybrids, and more. Plus, they ship succulents year-round to all U.S. states and territories. It’s cool to know that a tiny town like Fort Jones has such a big succulent business.

Happy succulent hunting!

PRO-TIPS: 

—Mountain Crest Gardens Hours & Information: The nursery is open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 7 am to 3.30pm. They also offer occasional classes based on interest. If you need help with succulent care, visit Mountain Crest Gardens’ website. It’s full of information, education, tips, and tools relating to succulents. They also ship nationwide! Learn more about shipping and ordering here.

—More fun in Fort Jones: Depending on the season, you can compliment your succulent hunting adventuring with a stop at the California Heritage Farms U-Pick Berry Patch. If you’re into history check out Fort Jones’s Museum on Main Street. It’s within walking distance of restaurants.

—Good Eats: Before you explore the wonderful world of succulents, have breakfast and a cappuccino at Three Little Birds. Afterward, stop by Five Mary’s Burgerhouse for a burger and a beer. I also recommend trying their macaroni and cheese or tacos! Both restaurants are fun places to people watch while waiting for a tasty meal.

—Lodging: Pair a trip to Fort Jones with an overnight stay at The Gifted Horse Lodge. The lodge has a gift shop and deli on site, it’s within walking distance to restaurants, and Mountain Crest Gardens is less than a mile from the inn.