Some winter casualty reports are in early.


Gardeners who got caught out by the bad winter

Three head gardeners around the country compare notes on how the worst of the winter weather affected their gardens and greenhouses.

Plant explorer Tom Hart Dyke created a World Garden of Plants in the walled garden of his ancestral home at Lullingstone Castle in Kent.

Opened in March 2005, the gardens are full of exotic specimens arranged in borders by continent, but have not yet been tested in really cold conditions.

All that changed when Tom returned home last month from plant hunting in Peru. He says: “On December 18, within the walls of the World Garden at Lullingstone Castle, the weather station clocked -15.5C (4F).

Damage to plants is significant, especially over Mexico, South America, Africa and Australasia – it’ll be fascinating to see what does and doesn’t come back in spring and summer in 2011.”

Even his heated “Hot and Spiky” house dropped to -4.5C (24F), so virtually every succulent was damaged although the extent of harm to the cacti will take longer
to assess.

“The heating couldn’t maintain the usual minimum of 5C (41F). But I’m curiously optimistic that, as this was for only one night, the cacti and succulents should bounce back,” he says.

Industrial Cactus Farming @ Ubink Cactus Nursery, Holland.

Some Cacti in Flower Slideshow Videos

Marianne Beleyav’s Collection: : St Petersberg Cactus Club

Alexander T’s Collection: St Petersberg Cactus Club

Lessons from Plants in Pain, or What We Talk About When We Talk to Ourselves

From the Science Essayist – an interesting article on inter and intra plant warning systems

In my favorite recent study, which delights me more because of how the plants defend themselves than how they talk about it, Lima beans infested with spider mites—as well as those exposed to leaves from infested plants—react by activating a set of genes that trigger the emission of a volatile organic compound. This compound, in turn, attracts spider mite predators that come and hoover up the pests.


The New ‘New Member’ Welcome Kit

Welcome/Cultivation Pack

Free to all NEW BCSS members. This will be available to existing members for £2 via the publications section of the BCSS site.

From around the web

Photo Galleries of UK Nurseries from 2007 including Abbey Brook,, Akamba, and Hollygate Cactus.

Growing Ariocarpus from Seed : Andreas Laras

Telegraph – Houseplants: Enjoy the garden indoors



Vic Knight: Growing Conophytums and Lithops, interviewed by Derek Castle

October Meeting Show Bench

BCSS Birmingham Oct Show Plants

BCSS Birmingham Oct Show Plants

BCSS Birmingham Oct Show Plants

Potting up a large Euphorbia Ingens

Derek and Arthur pot up part of a large Euphorbia Ingens from the Arid House at Winterbourne

All lined up.

All lined up II

Autumn Show.

Stuart’s pick of the show

Some shaky and out of focus video (i apparently turned off the auto feature on the camera – whoops!)