Coming up: Autumn Show

This coming Sunday at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Westbourne Road, from 11am till 4pm. This show is held jointly with the Haworthia Society.

August and September talks

We are grateful to John Watmough and Peter Hallett who gave talks in August and September, both well attended and well received. I received a few notes on John’s talk about Stapeliads from our Secretary, Mark O’Connor: John brought along a variety of Stapeliads, plants “noted for lots of stems and occasionally a pungent smell. Many of the plants of this type in South Africa are better at attracting flies than rotting meat close by, so pungent are the smells.” They are not all bad, though, and many species can be grown successfully on a windowsill without fear of an invasion of bluebottles or too much pong. There is a thread on the BCSS Forum which shows a variety of Stapeliads in flower.

Also in August, Arthur Tomkins and Gill Mills received BCSS Diplomas of Merit in recognition of their exceptional service to the society. They’ve long been very active members of the Branch – congratulations!

Unfortunately I don’t have any notes on the September talk, but I have heard that it was inspiring. Peter Hallett spoke on how to grow plants hydroponically, in a soilless medium such as pumice or pure grit. Peter does not grow his cacti with their roots permanently submerged in water, which is what the term ‘hydroculture’ in the title of the talk perhaps suggested, but instead gave hints on growing them in a soilless medium, which is something some commercial nurseries on the continent do.

Coming up: September meeting

Hydroton / photo by Waleed Alzuhair on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Hydroton / photo by Waleed Alzuhair on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

We are pleased to be able to welcome Peter Hallett to our Branch, who will tell us more about growing cacti in a rather unusual way: in hydroculture.

This is on Tuesday 16 September, 7pm for a 7.30pm start, at Winterbourne as usual.

Good summer? Looks like it!

Aeonium Zwartkopf / by Christian Bohm

Aeonium Zwartkopf with a lovely sun tan earlier this year / by Christian Bohm

Autumn Show 2014: Schedule now available

Haworthia pumila / drawing by Joyce Cocozza

Just received the schedule for the Autumn Show this year, on Sunday, 5 October, at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. We hold this show in conjunction with the Haworthia Society. Please consider entering a plant at the show – you won’t have to pay an entrance fee to the gardens if you do!

Coming up: August meeting

Stapelia hirsuta flower / by Martin Heigan on Flick -CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

Stapelia hirsuta flower / by Martin Heigan on Flick -CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

We are pleased to be able to welcome John Watmough from Oxford this month with a talk on Stapeliads – a fascinating group of plants which includes some old favourites and a great many species which are rather tricky to grow. They may be a little out of fashion these days and a little hard to source, but they ‘are not to be sniffed at’, as our president says, and he knows exactly why… John’s talk is on Tuesday 19 August, usual time and usual place.

Blow flies on Stapelia grandiflora flower / by Martin Heigan on Flickr CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

Blow flies on Stapelia grandiflora flower / by Martin Heigan on Flickr CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

 

July meeting: From Cape Town to the Orange River / Alice Vanden Bon

Alice Vanden Bon took us on a whistle-stop tour of South Africa and its wonderfully diverse flora. Starting off in Cape Town and taking in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens she introduced us to 16 habitats that she visited over a number of years, with reference in particular to species of Conophytum, Crassula and a number of bulbs.

Arid House at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Some of the Conos she showed us are relatively recent introductions such as Conophytum smaleorum – a chance discovery from a few years ago, when she and her travelling companions found their dirt road blocked and they climbed up the hill by which they had left their vehicles… One of their most spectacular recent introductions is Conophytum youngii, described in the BCSS journal Cactus World.

This was a magnificent introduction to a wide range of plants not often seen in cultivation, where colouration and compact growth cannot match that of plants in their natural habitat. If you missed the talk and you would like to catch up on this: Andy Young, one of Alice’s travelling companions, wrote several articles on their joint trips for the Mesemb Study Group Bulletin, which we have in the branch library.

Success at the NEC once again…

Bronze for the Birmingham BCSS for our display at Gardeners’ World Live this year – in the category for specialist societies! Our show manager is ever so pleased…

Coming up: July meeting

Orange River by Andre van Rooyen on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Orange River / by Andre van Rooyen on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

We are very pleased to have a very accomplished speaker with us this month: Alice Vanden Bon, with an account of her travels from Cape Town to the Orange River. Conophytum will feature particularly in her talk, but other genera of South African succulents will also be covered. This should be an exciting talk – on Tuesday 15 July, usual time and place. See here for directions.

Conophytum truncatum in habitat by Martin Heigan on Flickr  (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Conophytum truncatum in habitat / by Martin Heigan on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Stapelia gariepensis flowering in habitat by Martin Heigan on Flickr  (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Stapelia gariepensis flowering in habitat / by Martin Heigan on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

Coming up: Plant sale

Tomorrow will be the last day at the NEC – if you are planning to go to Gardeners World Live do come and find us!

Meanwhile this coming Tuesday (17 June) we hold another plant sale and auction from 7.30pm at Winterbourne. Nothing else is planned for this June meeting, but it is a good opportunity to purchase some additions to your collection – and for a chat amongst fellow C&S growers if nothing else.

All welcome!