Craig House Cacti is an award winning cacti and succulent nursery, run by Stan Griffin and Vicki Newman. This endearing couple are almost as famous for their cacti themed clothing, as they are for the top quality, award winning cacti and succulent plants that they grow, show, and exhibit. Craig House Cacti sell a variety of different cacti and succulent seeds online.
I enjoyed talking to Stan and Vicki at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, where I found out more about their new ideas for displaying cacti and succulents in the home.
Pumpkin Beth: Hello Stan and Vicki, I love your display of cacti and succulents. I’d love to learn more about some of the special plants that you’ve brought here to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.
Vicki Newman: The display we’ve created shows lots of innovative ways of showing off succulents in a modern, contemporary way. The plants you see here are all mature plants, they are all of flowering size, and range from the youngest plants, which are five years old, up to plants that are over forty-plus years old. We’ve got special plants in our display like the Ledebouria – they’ve never seen this here at Chelsea before.
PB: It’s never been at Chelsea? Wow! What’s the plant’s full name?
Vicki Newman: Ledebouria violacea ‘Variegata’.
PB: What’s your favourite plant that you have featured in this exhibit?
Stan Griffin: ‘Popsy’ – the Parodia warasii.
PB: Oh yes, I have seen Popsy with you before! And what’s your oldest plant?
Stan Griffin: Parodia warasii, which we refer to as ‘Popsy’, and Mammillaria bombycina are two of our oldest plants featured in this exhibit. This one is a bit awkward to handle though!
PB: I can imagine, I’ve fallen into plants like that many a time!
Stan Griffin: Each spike is a hook – so it hangs on to you!
PB: Ouch! How long have you grown this plant for?
Vicki Newman: That’s one of Stan’s original ones, he’s grown that for a long time. It was only a small plant, it’s crept up over the years. We don’t break bits off; this is the thing, a lot of people will see that plant and say, “Ooh, you can get loads of cuttings off that plant!” They forget that if you do that, you’ll have loads of small plants, instead of a decent big one.
PB: It’s a great specimen! How long did it take you to put the stand and your exhibit here at Chelsea together?
Vicki Newman: Two and a half to three days. We came on Friday, and sort of finished by Sunday afternoon. Now look at this one – we thought we’d put eyelashes on it. I just think that’s so funny!
Stan Griffin: And that’s a Victorian Gezunder – Rhipsalis cassutha – and we’ve got two of those, a matching pair – which is most unusual.
PB: So, do you mix your own compost? Can I ask, or is it a secret recipe?
Vicki Newman: Yes, we do mix our compost – it’s not really secret. Stan uses John Innes, and mixes it with vermiculite for the show plants, because of the weight in the van – you can’t use grit all the time. So some plants will have grit, but some will have vermiculite! Stan also does his own potting up. Stan was the inspiration about this new style of exhibit, it was his pigeon, he designed it all – although people have asked, “Who did you get in to design it?” Stan did it all himself.
PB: I love all of the terrariums you’ve got! Have you got any tips for my readers to help them avoid over watering any succulents or cacti growing inside terrariums?
Vicki Newman: The watering on the plants in the terrariums – they’re all in gritty compost, all exactly the same. Although there’s no drainage, it does help to use grit – use a cocktail stick or a kebab stick, depending on the size of the terrarium. So for the tall terrarium, get a kebab stick, and you’ll have given it a water after two weeks of potting it up. After another two weeks, put your stick in, if it comes out with soil on it doesn’t need any water, if it comes out clear it needs a drink. And then do it the following two weeks again.
PB: Wow, so it’s like cooking? But a bit spikier!
Vicki Newman: Yes, a bit spikier, but yes that’s the best way to do it because of course you’ve got no drainage holes in the terrariums.
PB: Great advice! And which one of your cacti flowers for the longest? That red flowered cacti is amazing!
Vicki Newman: The Rebutias will keep sending off flowers now, possibly through June, you’ll keep getting flourishes of them. But they’ll all flower, they’ll start flowering from about five years old, and they’ll carry on flowering every year after.
Other articles that may interest you………….
To read about terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.
To see an overview of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, please click here.
To read an interview with Anne Godfrey, owner of Daisy Roots Nursery, please click here.