It doesn't really seem like winter, because last week temperatures in the 80s during the day and 50s at night, but rain is coming this weekend. Despite a notable mishap with our house 1 roof on Christmas Even, our roof plastic and heaters continue to keep our plants warm during the winter, which is the easy part; in Tucson the main issue is keeping our houses cool during the winter. The last frost generally occurs by April Fool's Day, and many of us remenber the notorious April Fool's snowstorm. However, last year, lwing to global warming and a strong El Nino, we took plastic off in mid-March. We've had above-normal rains at our nursery, which is causing the weeds to grow, but we'd rather have that than the on-going drought.
For those of you who have visited our nursery, you might remember the two German shepherd dogs who may have greeted you at the door. Both died this year, one at the extremely old age of 15 and a half, and the other of lymphoma at age 8. We discovered the best cure for grief in the form of a new puppy named Kaspar. In Germany, and Kaspar is of West German origin, Kaspar is a childhood icon roughly equivalent to Dennis the Menace. As our house will attest, he has already earned his name. His mate, Katia, was born in early December, and she hasn't been properly vaccinated yet to be at the nursery for very long at a time.
Our inventory in December 2015 revealed we had around 80,000 plants for sale, but we only had perhaps 50% listed in our on-line store. If you've been following our catalog changes this year, you might realize that we have nearly 4,000 species/sizes and around 27,000 products for sale through our website. What's more, we've changed the listings to be a little friendlier to view in web browsers.
Nearly two years ago, we have moved to a new webhosting service, and as a result our email addresses have changed. All of our previous email addresses have the same prefix but end in @aridlandswholesale.com. You can access our new site either by entering our old domain name (aridlands.com) in your browser or by accessing it through www.aridlandswholesale.com. Our new site is an upgrade in shopping cart to make personal information more secure in accord with changes in banking security. Now, we're revamping our product listings, particularly in Euphorbia, where we've changed from listing species alphabetically to listing them by form type. We hope this helps to more easily navigate our shopping cart.
We're shipping orders normally at this time, but consider that you may need a heat pack. These are used only when temperatures at the time of delivery are expected to be at or below freezing.
We have a Wholesale List available for February 2017, and it represents a serious makeover of that list. We're attempting to make our wholesale list look a little more like our on-line catalog to better aid wholeale customers find the plants they are looking for.
We planted more than 60,000 seeds of succulent plants and cacti in 2016. Much of what was planted in 2015 is in our on-line store, and expect more unusual species, as well as relisting of popular ones, this spring and summer as we get back to propagation and repotting. Some of the new plants are common, some are rare, and some have never been offered before anywhere. We like to think that the best is yet to come for our plant offerings to our customers. While our seedhouse continues to thrive, this year we are emphasizing cuttings from our extensive stock inventory to bolster our selection of Euphorbias and pachycaul trees in particular.
Because we have a large number of unusual plants with collection data, we are frequently asked about whether researchers can work on our plants or a variety of studies. Currently, we will participate in a study of Sansevieria DNA, particularly focusing on certain groups within the genus to look at relationships among species and possibly their evolution. Other past studies involve Euphorbia, Cyphostemma, and Agave, and we'd like to work on our large stock collection of Aloe.
With our 21,000 square feet, we now have the ability to grow larger plants without worrying about the effect of winter frosts. In addition, we're adding new shade structures this year for frost-tolerant species. Producing our own seed from plants that we can verify as real species is important to our ability to offer our customers the best plants that we can, and we are committed to propagation within our stock plants.
Bob and Toni were in South Africa in October 2014 in the Northern Cape Province, which is where many interesting winter-growing succulent plants grow. We were with Doug Dawson from Phoenix and Karel du Toit, who has Pillansii Tours out of Springbok. It was an excellent trip; perhaps the most important statistic is that Toni and I took around 2900 photographs. Many of these are mesembs and Crassulas with which we are only vaguely familiar, so the learning curve is quite steep to climb for identifying what's in these photographs, much less determining how we might grow them and offer them to our customers. On the other hand, we saw many familiar Aloes and Euphorbias, as well as some new ones that might be interesting to grow. Sometime soon we're headed back to South Africa, this time to visit the center of the country and the northeast, particularly to see the last two Adeniums that we haven't visited in the wild yet (multiflorum and swazicum). We also intend to visit a few South African friends along the way.
New Seedlings and Cuttings
Our production of seedlings of everything from rare Euphorbias to relatively common Adeniums has overwhelmed our greenhouse, prompting us to seemingly perpetually rearrange our inventory. The 2015 seedling production was our best ever, with a number of new species that we've never offered before coming up in droves. This is particularly true for Aloes, where we have a number of new species we've never even seen before, as well as some unusual geophytes and especially mesembs inspired by our most recent trip to South Africa. We've had a bumper crop of new seedlings in 2016 as well, and many of these will become available in the next year or so. We're starting to grow a lot of columnar cacti, which is a serious change for our business.
What should be especially interesting to some of you is a new commitment to propagation via cuttings, which we are now doing to increase many rare species, notably Euphorbias, Commiphora, and Bursera. Expect our offerings of Euphorbias to increase, particularly related to plant size and quality. We're finally getting the senescent plants that once filled out greenhouse space to grow into decent looking plants, and we're getting happier about the quality of plants we offer for sale.