This winter has been beautiful weather for us here in Tucson because we're in a severe drought. Recent storms have given us a little relief but we anticipate problems in early summer with our landscape plants. Because of some personnel changes and just because, we've gone from our rather unorthodox former daily schedule to a new one of Tuesday-Saturday, 8-4 PM during the winter and 7-3 PM during the summer.
In addition to his responsibilities as editor of the journal Sansevieria (issue 37 is at the printer), Bob is the Chairman of the International Sansevieria Society. He was an invited speaker at the CSSA Convention and Sale in Tempe, Arizona, at the end of July 2017, and he continues to publish recent findings about new species of Sansevieria.
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 in 2016, 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 puppy named Kaspar, who is of West German origin and whose name recalls a German childhood icon equivalent to Dennis the Menace. His mate, Katia, was born in early December 2016, and she is now at the nursery full time as well. They are growing up quite fast, and most people have a hard time believing Kaspar is still a puppy since he weighs almost 80 lbs.
The change in Arizona's minimum wage law, which represented a 25% increase to $10/hr in 2017 and to $10.50/hr in 2018, has had an impact on our small business. The projected increase to $12/hr for 2020 will seriously impact us unless we raise some of our prices. You may see price increases for our smaller plants that we are being forced to make to stay in business in light of these changes.
Our inventory in the fall of 2017 and winter of 2018 revealed we had around 100,000 plants for sale and around 9000 stock plants. Despite all our efforts, we only have perhaps 50-75% of the plants we have for sale listed in our on-line store. If you've been following our catalog changes this year, you might realize that we have over 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 3 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. In addition, in preparation for our application for CITES permits (affects only international customers), we are now listing all of our species according to their CITES restrictions on export. For our domestic customers, this is just trivial information.
We're shipping orders normally at this time. We have a Wholesale List available for March 2018, 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.
CSSA Convention in 2017
Bob and Toni were at the Cactus and Succulent Society of America Convention in Tempe, Arizona, in late July 2017, and we saw a large number of our customers there. Bob was one of the featured speakers and gave a talk on the genus Sansevieria, which seemed to be well received.
Bob and Toni were in South Africa in January 2017 in nearly all the provinces of the country, particularly in the northeast and southeast parts of the country. It was an eventful trip for meeting up with old friends and making new ones. Our 2015 trip inspired us to grow more mesembs and Crassulas with which we are only vaguely familiar, and this trip was more about Euphorbias, particularly the medusoid ones. On the other hand, we saw many familiar Aloes and Euphorbias, as well as some new ones that might be interesting to grow. We also saw the last two Adeniums that we haven't visited in the wild yet (multiflorum and swazicum). Bob hopes to join Len Newton in Kenya in April-May 2018 to search for more new species of Sansevieria in that country.
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 2017 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 established cuttings in 2017 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, as well as a lot of species of mesembs.
We planted more than 100,000 seeds of succulent plants and cacti in 2017. Much of what was planted in 2015-2017 has grown to saleable size and 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.
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.