Succulent Sara's Greenhouse Tour

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On a rainy day in late March, we hosted a greenhouse tour at Succulent Sara's facility in Independence, Kansas. I was worried the rain would make the field trip less exceptional, but it added cool on what was a strangely hot March day and the most beautiful sound of rain on the rooftop, AND on a day you'd typically be trapped indoors, we got to essentially be outside in her greenhouses. Along with our guests, we arrived in pouring rain, wearing boots, holding umbrellas, and slushing through mud along the dirt path outside Sara's greenhouses. And from that we entered a lush, dry, earthy wonderland of plant life and hospitality.

We met Sara years ago at the Tulsa Flea Market. We bought her succulents to pot in vintage planters. Eventually, after buying her plants on several occasions, she asked us what we were up to and invited herself over to our shop to see what she thought of us. A business partnership and friendship were formed, and our lives are greener for it.

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  Sara explaining how she eventually found her way to succulent growing in Kansas.

Sara explaining how she eventually found her way to succulent growing in Kansas.

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Located in Independence, Kansas, Sara has worked for over thirty years to collect, nurture and propagate one of the largest succulent businesses in the area. She has over three hundred varieties of succulents ranging from giant five foot agaves to tiny starts that she propagates daily. Sara is a one woman show and is beyond interesting to listen to and learn from. I've heard some truly absurd and amazing stories from this woman. She's faced a lot of hardship in her life, and yet has found her peace in her plants. I deeply admire Sara. 

I can't express what it means to promote and champion a woman like Sara. Someone who chooses to dig deep into what she loves. She is compassionate and fierce about what she does and her friends. And all of this comes through in her plants. 

  Sara spends most of her days making babies. She shared her propagation secrets with us–watch for that post soon.

Sara spends most of her days making babies. She shared her propagation secrets with us–watch for that post soon.

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It is Ashley Palmer and my pleasure to offer customers a chance to own Sara's plants. It's a chance to pass along the life lessons and peace that Sara emanates. I never pictured getting to own Retro Den, let alone getting to bathe my hands in dirt most days while planting up succulents for people. I love offering to pot plants for people, and I think I got that from Sara. 

Now take a deep breath, browse these plant pictures with their back story in mind, and know that people really can surround themselves with goodness and do what makes them happy. 

Note that all photos are credited to our plant-loving friend, Abbey Wells, of You Are Photo Co. 

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  The mother of thousands blooms have taken over a corner of her greenhouse. Caroline and Harriet loved the pink of course.

The mother of thousands blooms have taken over a corner of her greenhouse. Caroline and Harriet loved the pink of course.

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  Our little girls picnicking among the plants. Wonder what they're discussing.

Our little girls picnicking among the plants. Wonder what they're discussing.

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  Look at the size of those agaves!

Look at the size of those agaves!

  Rachel, one of our sweet plant-collecting customers.

Rachel, one of our sweet plant-collecting customers.

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  Some of Sara's larger plants are not for sale because they have been given to her by loved ones over the years.

Some of Sara's larger plants are not for sale because they have been given to her by loved ones over the years.

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  Our employee and friend, Holly, loves Sara and her plants as much as we do.

Our employee and friend, Holly, loves Sara and her plants as much as we do.

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  Sara took the time to answer any question anyone asked of her. I can testify from years of asking her (sometimes dumb) questions, this woman never makes you regret asking her a question about plants.

Sara took the time to answer any question anyone asked of her. I can testify from years of asking her (sometimes dumb) questions, this woman never makes you regret asking her a question about plants.

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  Sara has created such a wonderland of color and life. We feel lucky she invited us to share in it with her. Keep your eye out for our next greenhouse field trip in spring 2019.

Sara has created such a wonderland of color and life. We feel lucky she invited us to share in it with her. Keep your eye out for our next greenhouse field trip in spring 2019.

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