Happy 2nd Anniversary: A look at our history and a trip to Asia
The Succulents Australia online site started and made its first sale on the 21st of August, 2016. We started with a mere 30 plants, but within a year we had 300 different plants to offer.
Then Glenn joined us with a primary job of growing the online shop. Over the last year we have added over 500 new plants and products. And at this moment, we are offering in excess of 800 plants.
This growth is in thanks to you, the succulent loving public, who appreciate and love the succulents that we bring to you. To date, I have not seen another online shop that comes close to the range we have to offer. To carry this range of plants and keep them in supply is a challenge, one that I am proud to tackle!
Off to Asia
Recently we returned from a three-week plant hunting trip to Asia. We found exciting new succulents in China, Korea, and Japan.
The first week was spent in China, where we met our Chinese supplier of Haworthia. We checked what succulents they had coming for us, and discussed many new plants that we may be able to get them to grow for us.
We continued to Qingzhou, China to visit our Korean friends who are now importing from Korea and the rest of the world. Here you can see the latest and best from over 20 Korean exporters to supply the ever-growing Chinese craze, and insatiable need for succulents.
What we saw there was amazing! The sheer size and modernity of the growing houses was eye opening.
Then we were off to Korea! It was just barely an hour and half away to visit some of Korea’s best breeders and growers to see what was on offer. Park Kwan Jae, Hyun Suk Lee, and In Soon Im are all exciting growers to watch out for.
While in Korea, we visited Icheon, the major ceramic centre in Korea. It’s especially famous for creating the amazing pots that succulent lovers need and want, which China tries to copy. We are hoping to begin importing pots from there later this year!
Also on this trip we met an artist called Jamie Kim, after a tip from a friend who said his pots were amazing. Well, they were. Classic Korean-Japanese style, beautifully shaped and balanced with well cut feet to balance them. The orchid-style pots are ideal and preferred buy Haworthia collectors. His glazes are really unique for Raku pots.
He also uses a special clay which breathes, or allows water to pass through, which ideal for succulents and orchids. I don’t know if this was blind luck or just chance, but we agreed on him supplying me with some numbers to be sent to Australia. Two weeks later a Chinese succulent shop tracked him down and is now buying his entire inventory, except for what he sends to me. It was my lucky day! I expect to get the first delivery in two to three weeks.
This coming Saturday, I will also have on display the 10 pots I bought on the day and posted back to Australia. All arrived in great condition so I am really pleased these one of a kind pots made it in tact! I just hope Australians can appreciate the fine craftsmanship that goes into each piece, and will pay for this plant art, as it’s not cheap.
Last stop: Japan! First we visited Orai San, who we have met before but few get to see his rather private nursery. It was really worth the visit as we will be getting quite a few unique species from this great breeder and grower.
Then we visited Matsuoka San, a superb collector and breeder. So many exciting plants there I would love to have.
We found a few treasures, like these amazing variegated Lenophyllum.
We learned it’s certainly worth it to call a couple of other growers for a visit, as we popped into two of Japan’s more famous retail outlets. One is even on top of a major department store in the middle of Tokyo.
The other retailer is right near Osaka Itami airport. It’s so close we had to duck as the jets flew over! This man was a real collector. His nursery was on the top floor of a refitted three-story factory, which fit amazingly with his three-story shelves packed with plants.
All of these places we visited are on our Facebook posts of the trip, if you would like to see more of what we did and saw (including many of the new, amazing plants)!.
It was a very busy three weeks, and I grew rather tired of carrying bags around that seemed to get heavier and heavier through the blur of different hotel rooms we stayed in. Now we’re back and it’s time to sit down and sort out all that we have seen and start to work out details of the plants and how many we can get to import back to Australia.
Thank you all for your patronage, it’s been an amazing two years!