Launching Spadefoot Nursery (Sonoran Division) at Cultivate Tucson

On April 23rd at the old Chicago Store location (130 East Congress Street) in downtown Tucson, we had our first encounter with the public as Spadefoot Nursery. Cultivate Tucson is a wonderful group of people that provide a means for local goods & art to be brought to the public, all while sponsoring local charities (one of their choice, and one of each vendor's choice). We were honored to be considered part of this mostly young, energetic, locally-devoted entrepreneurs, all part of a community of people who are truly keeping it local in Tucson, while benefiting Tucson Youth Development and St. Elizabeth's Health Center's cancer program


On the Friday before the sale, we rented a trailer and hauled just about all of our plants to the old Chicago Store building (it took several trips), which has since been mostly gutted, exposing the long-concealed three-story shopping center's wooden floors and ceiling tiles. You can see the original intent of the architecture of the building now that the years of additions of walls and covered windows have been removed. 

It was quite a bit of work carrying all those plants up the stairs; we stayed positive, realizing the great exercise we were getting, and positioned our plants as attractively as we could. We realize that we were given the space we were to help beautify a somewhat ugly section of the building--the building is certainly rustic, though we really liked this look. 

We got up early that Saturday morning, drank a bunch of coffee, and packing the last haul of stuff to sell (books, hummingbird feeders, signage, and one last truckload of plants) went back to the space, and spent the time before doors opened at 8 making our sales area tidy and organized.


Thousands of people came through that day, and they pretty much bought everything we had. We were impressed with the audience, who didn't just come to select plants that were blooming or popular, mundane plants. The customers were curious: they wanted to know more about the weirdos we had. They wanted to know how they could attract more wildlife into their yard. They asked intelligent questions, and purchased lots of plants, even though it was rather inconvenient to haul them away to wherever they parked (most parking for this event was at least a block away, sometimes more). Some people even hauled plants away on their bikes or on the street car. We also had many people who came to the sale just to get plants from us! 


When we finished the day, we reflected on our experience over dinner at El Charro Steak (a very gratifying meal just a block away). We assessed what we did right, what we would do differently, what products we want to make sure we have more of, and what plants we will have to work hard to replenish. The next sale at the MSA Annex (267 South Avenida del Convento, May 4 & 5) is less than two weeks afterward, and we will have to work hard over the next few weeks to prepare. Not only will this be another big sale for us, it will be the launch of our regular appearance at this location until we get our retail space. When we are ready, we will announce when and where we will open our space. Until then, you can always check our calendar for our pop-up sales which we will maintain with regularity. 

To everyone who came and supported us, thank you! We promise to work hard to bring the best in regional, native plants for your landscape. And we will continue to keep providing information about planting native landscapes and profiling the gorgeous native flora we are so lucky to live amongst. 

We are grateful to the staff at Cultivate Tucson who did a wonderful job organizing this very popular event and look forward to participating in the future. 

Katherine Gierlach