Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Meanwhile, Back at the Ol' Cactus Ranch...

"Some day I'll have to take you to the mutant cactus mausoleum".

What? Was I dreaming?

I was told of a wonderland of bizarre plants, right in the middle of Reseda. One that was full of giant metal dinosaurs. Mutant cacti and huge dinosaurs tucked into a nondescript corner of The Valley. Could it be?

The answer is: how can it be that this place isn't incredibly famous? It's only open to the public on the weekends, but damn, I can't believe I'd never heard of it before! Nothing that my friend Carole told me about it could have possibly prepared me for what waited behind those chain link fences.

Every square inch of the 1.5 acres is covered by strange cacti and succulents. And many of them actually are mutants, which are apparently quite prized by collectors of such things. There's a subculture of mutant cacti collectors? Who knew?

Merely saying that every square inch of this place is covered may give the wrong idea, as if orderly rows of plants line carefully arranged beds. Wrong! It's more like a treasure hunt, with weird little succulents tucked in here and there; beautiful gem-like potted plants sandwiched between huge yuccas and aloes. Things are arranged broadly by type, but never boringly.

And I haven't even mentioned the greenhouses yet! They go on and on, filled side to side, floor to ceiling, with even more plants.

And best of all, none of these plants are taken from the wild. They are all grown from seeds and cuttings, except in the rare cases when they are rescued from construction sites. 

Obviously, owner Dave Bernstein has a passion for these plants. Supposedly over 100,000 fill the property, and that doesn't even count what he grows in other greenhouses in San Diego county. Want to check it out for yourself? Don't bother bringing a credit card. It's cash and checks only here. Even the phone number is unlisted. But everyone is friendly and I promise that you will feel like you have been transported far away from Los Angles. 

To a magical place called Reseda, where the cacti are mutants and giant metal dinosaurs rule the day. 


  1. Whoa! I know of a few people who'd love to visit there, including myself!
    And if there's one thing I've learned in my relatively-few years on this earth, it's that there is a subculture for nearly everything.

  2. Oh wow! Mutant cacti AND giant metal dinosaurs? This looks like the best place ever! :)

  3. I just added this to my "must see this" list.

  4. Lol, Bright, I guess that's true!

    Laura, it is truly amazing.

    Harleycat, next time you're in town!


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