HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
Regardless of whether she’s working with oak trees, pomegranates or rock garden plants, plant nursery owner Nancy Shramm is happiest when there’s dirt under her fingernails. Shramm is the owner of Carmen’s Nursery, a shop which specializes in rare and unusual plants and has been in her family for over three generations. Located in Gilroy, Shramm inherited the nursery in 2004.
“I continue growing bonsai starters, rock garden plants, miniatures that are good for fairy gardens or garden railroads,” Shramm said. “And since I have a split personality, I also grow unusual edibles. I have a lot of fig trees and kiwis, capers, pomegranates.”
Regarding the “unusual edibles,” Shramm says there’s a special security in knowing you can plant a seed and grow it into something you can eat. On the flip side, her rock garden plants or bonsai starters show the beauty of plants in general.
“I really feel like if you can nurture something, whether it's animals or people or plants, it helps you be a better person,” Shramm said. “And it just makes me feel good.”
However, Shramm specializes more in propagation, not necessarily long-term nurturing for a full-grown plant. She loves starting plants from seeds, but she doesn’t have the time to learn the training for growing a bonsai. Thus, Shramm simply grows the plants and brings them to conventions such as these.
“The type of plants I grow, they're not really showy,” Shramm said. “They have flowers, but they're not big fancy flowers.”
Shramm doesn’t believe her plants are suitable for farmers’ markets, where patrons seem to be on the lookout for more food and especially aesthetic flowers. She did have a stand at the farmers’ market for around nine years, but it’s been five or six years since she last set up shop there.
This is Shramm’s third year at the Midori Bonsai club’s annual show. The original location, in Japantown, wasn’t as open or bright as the Quinlan Community Center and Shramm likes it better here. But regardless of the location, Shramm is simply there to sell starter plants to people who are interested in bonsai.
“Plants are magic,” Shramm said. “Seeds are amazing. If you have this little tiny dried thing and you put it in the dirt and put water on and it actually grows. It's really like magic. And seeds also seem to have hope for the future.”