When one drives by California Nursery Specialties in Reseda, the first thing one notices is the giant roadside dinosaurs.
During the week, the three-acre nursery, better known as the cactus ranch, focuses on its wholesale business. But on the weekends, it opens to the public and has become a sort of sanctuary for Los Angeles succulent lovers.
Owner David Bernstein explained how there are enough varieties of cacti and succulents to fascinate guests for a lifetime.
"It's had that effect on me that I see something new all the time. And actually, I can walk through this nursery twice in the same day and see things differently," he said. "Cacti are unique. Cacti are all American plants. They're from North or South America, and succulents come from all over the world."
People often ask Bernstein how many varieties of plants they have at California Nursery Specialties, and he tells them he is not sure. But the type of plants is what continues to bring in more customers on weekends.
"I can say that there's probably about a million plants here in pots," Bernstein said. "They're all drought-tolerant. They're all succulents. They're all interesting. Just how many particular genus and species I've lost track of," he said. "The focus of this business is producing the plants. I need to be here on weekdays, producing the plants and working with accounts that I set up many years ago. They give us the space to maintain a display in their nursery and keep it full of products that sell. And then on weekends, I guess you could say for fun, I open the gates to the public because I enjoy being a part of the community and sharing it with the community."
Bernstein said many of the returning customers view the nursery as a safe space.
"There are greenhouses, there are outdoor areas, there are sunny areas or shady areas. And most of the time is that there's a lot of space here, even if there are a lot of people here, it doesn't seem that way because we're spread out over several acres. So generally speaking, it is quite peaceful here," he said.
When it comes to the customers and visitors, Bernstein said it does not matter how much they sell. He wants people to enjoy the peace that comes with being around plants.
"That is not how I measure the success of the space on the weekends. It has to do with how much pleasure I can give to my community," he said. "And I enjoy being part of that."
The Cactus Ranch in Reseda is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Visit here for more information.
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