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Plants for the Southwest

HK
Heidi Kaisand
0:00
Good morning and welcome to create with Heidi. I'm Heidi Kaisand, owner of Hen and chicks studio in Conrad, Iowa, and lover of all things creative. Each week here on create with Heidi, we like to cover topics that educate and inspire you about how people are being creative. Whether it's quilting, scrapbooking food will, or just hanging out with others who seem to have their creative Mojo groove in in all the right directions. We are excited to share these things with you. We're equally excited to be a partner with 12 30k of JB in the win Kyle's cash event. So right now you can win $1,000 of Kyle's cash by going to www dot 1230. Kf JB calm and learning all about this promotion. So be sure to check that out. Because of course we want to break the bank and break Kyle's back pocket. So definitely check that out. Well today, my quote is the glory of gardening hands in the dirt head in the sun, heart with nature, to nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. And that is Alfred Austin. And I thought it was appropriate, because today we welcome Jane Evans, who along with her husband, Gene, own plants for the Southwest in Tucson, Arizona. Good morning, Jane. How are you today?
JE
Jane Evans
1:39
Hi, Heidi. I'm doing great things. And is it nice and warm in Tucson today? Actually, it's kind of chilly. It's about 68 degrees. But for us that's chilly.We have beautiful blue sky and it's nice and sunny.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
1:55
Well, that is awesome. Well, Jane, we've had you on before but I will do will tell our listeners that we had some audio troubles gallows about a year ago in the middle of the pandemic. And so I wanted to have you back because I know how interesting all of the things that you are doing there in Tucson are and wanted to be able to share that with everybody with some good audio. So welcome back. And I'm glad that you're able to join us again today.
JE
Jane Evans
2:26
Great, thanks a lot. Yes.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
2:27
Well, one of the things that is are so popular right now are succulents. And, you know, I have to say, I'm not even exactly sure. What do you what is a succulent? What is a we know, how is that different from other plants? Yeah, you know, let's let's start at the basics. You know, how, what is a succulent?
JE
Jane Evans
2:50
Okay, that's a great question because it's, it always has a lot of confusion. A succulent is a plant that stores water in either its roots, it stemmed or it's leave. And one thing that I find fascinating is that all cacti are succulents, but all succulents are not cacti. So you have lots of different types of plants that store water in lots of different ways within the plant itself. Interesting. So cactus are just one type of a succulent is what you're saying. Exactly.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
3:28
Okay. And so what and of course I can, and I can envision these, you know, the big cactus cacti there in Arizona. What other kinds of plants then are succulents?
JE
Jane Evans
3:41
Well, interestingly, a plant that is commonly known as a secular is called henna chick. Oh, I have some of those. You do? Yeah. So they're, they're a cute little plant, the some of the it's a common name. And so common names get mixed up with different types of plants. But there are some extra various that are called hen and chicks. And then there are some crashes that are called Hen and chicks and some cod legions that are called hen and chicks. And that just means these plants are in different genus. And they all have the same common name and all three of those hen and chicks store water in their leaves. And that's what makes them succulent. And if you feel the leaves, they'll feel sick. Like they're full of water. Okay. And so and so does that mean that if I like I always think I'm a horrible keeper of plants so they can live longer, like with less water, I mean less water because that's what they're storing in them. So if I forget to water them. Exactly. And so if you're somebody like me who is a chronic underwatering person, then succulents are very good because generally speaking if you have a houseplant that has really thin leaves like a post, those are common houseplants. They really require watering or you'll see them with succulents. When they start getting dry, they still have an extra week's worth of reserves within their stems or their leaves. So you, you don't have to be quite as careful about watering them on time.
JE
Jane Evans
5:15
So that must be one of the reasons why they're so popular is that is that whether you have a green thumb or not, that you might have a better chance at surviving with those plants. That is one reason, but they also have a lot of really nice structure. You'll notice that succulents, like euphorbias many people know euphorbias and euphorbias, come in all shapes. A poinsettia is a Euphorbia all the way to a common name and the friendship plant, which is a column their plant with a six stem and has little leaves that come out on the side. Those are all Euphorbia so the family is very variable, but you can grow that friendship plant with the sick stem and water at once a month inside.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
6:00
Wow.
JE
Jane Evans
6:01
So that that really Yes, that can that can make a big difference in in how it looks. And I like the the word that you use also of structure, because you're right. Obviously cactus have you know, right? Of course, I'm envisioning, you know, the big, you know, the big legs or Oh, yes, you know, you know, they definitely have structure, but you're right, even like the hen and chicks has a specific structure to it. It's it's not a limp or Dane, you know what I mean? It's small, right? It's not bad. Yeah. vining plant that looks like any other plant.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
6:35
Yes. Oh, well, very interesting. Well, we're off to a great start in this conversation, and we're going to take a quick commercial break, and we'll be back right after this.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
6:56
Welcome back to create with Heidi. We're having a fun conversation with Jane Evans. She is the CO owner of plants for the Southwest in Tucson, Arizona. And you might think we know goodness, why are we talking about an Arizona plant? shop and in a garden center? Well, Jane and I are quilting buddies along with everything else. And so I find it so interesting to see, you know, what else is going on around the country and so it's so fun to have Jane here and be able to share her own love of plants and and gardening and everything with us. So I'm so glad to have you here this morning, Jane. Thanks it. One of the plants that you sell is a laptop. I think I'm saying that right. Now is that a succulent, it is a succulent. And let's offer an interesting plant because their leaves are very, very succulent. And they are not typically what we think of as leaves. We think of a leaf is something that you can identify as a little last thing, but live ops are about 99% succulents, so their leaves look like part of a stem. And leaf ops to me are just really, really interesting. They're called living stone. They're South African, and by in their native habitat, but they grow very well in the Tucson area because our climate is relatively similar. They were first discovered back in the 1800s by a German botanist, who saw something curious down on the ground and he tried to pick it up. He thought it was a weird stone and it was a plant. Isn't that interesting? Yeah. Is it they're, they're called a mimicry plant. So over the many 1000s and 1000s of years, they have evolved to mimic the location that they live as far as mimic the rock structure, because they have no protection. They're this nice little soft plant that has no spine that doesn't have any poison in it to protect it from predators. And so they have evolved to be a mimicry plant so you can't tell the difference between rocks and plants. So that creatures won't come along and eat them. Isn't that interesting? Very interested in it and you know, excuse my ignorance in this your deer educating me Wow, this morning along with our listeners are lit up. Like it's there's more than one variety of lithops or was maybe there was maybe some variety. What is there's more that come in and a lot of demons? Yes, they do. We probably have about 129 different varieties. And so when you look at a lithops and you say, well, what's what how could it be a different variety. The lithops have different markings. And this is probably where my quilting comes in. Because some lift up will Be kind of a burnt orangey red with these dark lines that run through it. Some will be a light all of the green with a deeper green that goes through it and they look like fabric. They look like interesting fabric. Yeah.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
10:15
Oh that is so cool and and are lit up something that you can find a lot of places or is it truly like a specialty plant?
JE
Jane Evans
10:26
What? Tell me about why you would you would consider it a specialty plant and we are considered a specialty nursery. And we grow we grow 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of them and then we wholesale them to other nurseries who then sell them. They've become extremely popular in the last 10 years. They they've gone in and out of favor for a while we've been growing them for over 40 years and some years they'll be really popular some years they won't be popular. But for the last 10 years, it's just kind of been off the chart in popularity, mostly because it started in South Korea. people realize they could grow them on their windows still, they don't take a lot of space because each lift ops is about the size of a quarter. And so if you have good light in your house, you can grow them on a window sill especially if you add a grow light. And the popularity soared and it went across the world. So now you can find them at Home Depot or Lowe's any any commercial garden centers. It's really interesting how they have become so popular.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
11:28
Yes. And and just as you described your your garden center as being you know that you're growing, you know, hundreds of them and you know, 1000s of them. I think you are truly an independent. I mean it is nice to see you you have like a city block in Tucson, right.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
11:45
Realigning text with audio
It's just a corner, a corner. Well, yeah. And you know,
JE
Jane Evans
11:51
it's a commercial Laker. But it's but we grow we specialize. Since we're both horticulturist, we are propagators. And so our nursery specializes in growing the plants that we sell. So about 90% of the plants that sell at our nursery are grown from either seeds or cuttings by us. So we have a lot of time and energy invested in these plants. And we really want them to grow.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
12:14
Absolutely. And so and your website is plants for the southwest.com. That's right. And and so do you ship.
JE
Jane Evans
12:25
We do ship we only ship in the United States. We used to ship internationally, but it's become really complicated over the years. And so now we just ship within the United States. But we ship our plants bare root. Many people in the Midwest probably get bare root roses or things like fruit trees. Well, we ship our plants are succulents bare root, and they're perfect for shipping because since they're succulent and they store water in their roots in their stems in their leaves. They can be out of soil for a couple of weeks with absolutely no damage.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
12:58
Realigning text with audio
Isn't that great? Yeah, so very cool. So those hen chicks plants that I've got that need to get planted at home there. Oh, there's been a couple of days since I got them. But it's okay. They're not gonna not a problem. They're gonna they're gonna hang in there with me until I can get to get back to the garden. And okay, so lots of different things like even like my hen and chicks. It should they be should they be planted in? I'm going to say less soil, or should it be? You don't mean like how Yeah,
JE
Jane Evans
13:31
Realigning text with audio
it means they should be planted in what we call a cactus mix. And a cactus mix is usually available at any nursery center. We make our own but almost every nursery sells it and a cactus mix is a soil that will not stay soggy and wet. When you water it. It usually has. We use pumice. Some people use perlite it adds extra drainage.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
13:56
Realigning text with audio
Okay, so it's got to be in something that drains well because Can you can you overwater a succulent?
JE
Jane Evans
14:02
Realigning text with audio
You can definitely overwater succulents succulents because they hold so much water within the body of the plant. If you keep it too wet, is all of the sales will burst and it will just rot.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
14:14
Sure, so yeah, so I could I could still kill it. Okay,
JE
Jane Evans
14:18
well, I'm gonna try to leave can
HK
Heidi Kaisand
14:22
i got i gotta work on that. I got to work on that. And when we're talking about the lithops and all but you say 100 and would you say 129 different kinds? I
JE
Confirming Speaker...
14:31
think yeah, I think we have about 129 so people collect plants. They do. People collect plants like they collect collect stamps or anything people collect. And it's it's really quite interesting because people will collect them. They'll say well, I have one of this particular species and it really has this color markings. Do you have one that has different color markings? That it's it's funny. They everybody has their preference on what they want to collect? Yes,
HK
Heidi Kaisand
15:02
when when I was at your home a little over a year ago, I think now pre pandemic. Jean, your husband me, he has quite a plant collection.
JE
Jane Evans
15:15
And he has a huge collection.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
15:18
And, and the thing I always think that's so interesting, just like we might tell a story about our quilts and the history of our quilts, he can tell you that you probably can't do the history of those plants.
JE
Jane Evans
15:31
That's right, we keep track of when we start them from seeds. So we can tell you how old the plants are, generally speaking, illis apps that someone would by mail order is going to be at least three years old, because it takes that long to get from seed to saleable plant. Wow.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
15:47
You are You are definitely committed to that. I mean, you know, it's not something that in three weeks that you're growing and getting it out the door, you're you're, you know, for years to get it.
JE
Jane Evans
15:58
I have to think ahead.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
15:59
Yes,absolutely. Oh, well, I'm learning so much this morning, as I always do. And when I'm talking with you, we're going to take a quick commercial break, and we'll be back right after this. Welcome back to create with Heidi, this is Heidi Kaisand from hen and chicks studio. And we're having a fun conversation with Jane Evans, owner of plants for the Southwest. So plants for the Southwest calm. And if you are a plant collector, or maybe you want to get into collecting plants, you might want to check out her website and all the lithops and different things that that she and her husband Jeanne sell in out of Tucson, Arizona. Now, Jane, I'm going to switch gears just a little bit. Okay, because creativity comes in so many different forms. And we've had fun talking about your plans. But in this last segment with you, I want to dig in a little deeper about one of your other creative adventures, and that was rescuing a railroad car.
JE
Jane Evans
17:09
Yes, I have a 1937 Southern Pacific Caboose. A friend of mine owned it, and he was thinking about selling it and I can't really explain it. But I've always had a fascination with cabooses maybe as a child seeing the cabooses go by and trying to get the conductor to wave out the top of the coupla I don't know. I just wanted it. So now I have it.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
17:35
Isn't that awesome? Now it was not in mint condition when you when you got it?
JE
Jane Evans
17:40
No It had been my friend had owned it for 43 years. He lived in it for 13 years. And then for the previous the last 30 years. He used it as storage and he lived out in the desert in Tucson. So all the pack rats had gotten into it and it was kind of stinky. But now it's fabulous. I cleaned it up and I had a friend and I restored it and it's just fabulous. I just love it.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
18:08
And what are you using your Caboose and and and you you live in Tucson but you have a you have a big yard. And so the guy who's the caboose you had it moved literally onto your property in the city.
JE
Jane Evans
18:24
That's right, we have we are lucky we do live right smack in the middle of town but we do have just under two acres and so our houses were on the back of the property and so I was able to put the caboose in our front yard kind of hidden by plants. Since we're plant people we have plants everywhere. And so the caboose is tucked in underneath some trees. And I my goal is to be able to grow fewer plants and start using the caboose for clay studio.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
18:53
Wonderful and and what kinds of things are you making out of clay?
JE
Jane Evans
19:00
Well, that's part of the problem because I have a hard time focusing on just one thing. I would love to make just I have so much fun making pots because every plant needs a nice pot to put in it. So that's a lot of fun. But then I also want to make things for outdoors in the garden. I would love to make some totems you'd like totem poles, but on those I will make them out of mosaic tiles and I'd like to do some actually with quilt squares. So many cool quilt design. And I thought gosh you know I've I quilted for so many years now I have arthritis in my fingers and it makes it hard to quilt but I can still use my fingers for clay and or glazing. And so I think I'm going to really try and do some cool outdoor sculptures that incorporate quilt designs as well as different plant design.
HK
Heidi Kaisand
19:57
Well in your neighborhood you actually did do a project? I'm going to say to create an outdoor piece of art. Can you tell us right? Can you tell us a little bit about that?
JE
Jane Evans
20:10
Sure, I made an obelisk. And if you don't know what an obelisk is, people then look it up because then you'll get the idea of the shape. But it's an outdoor it's, it's an outdoor sculpture. We have a program here called cyclo via, which is one of the most fun projects that the city does several times a year, they close off the streets to vehicular traffic. And then people get on their bikes or skateboards or walk or run, do whatever they want. And it's usually about a five mile loop. And so I thought they tried to have activities along the way. And it went right through our neighborhood. And I thought, wouldn't it be fun to have people get off their bike and glaze a tile. So I made all the tiles in the first place and people would stop and they'd get off and they would just do whatever they wanted on this on this tile. And then I put them all together. And so we have this really nice obelisk that has all of the different ideas that people came up with when they were riding on their bike. And it's just really a fun project. And