Grand days out at BBC Gardener’s World Live

For the first time specialist plant societies represent themselves in the Floral Marquee at BBC Gardener’s World Live, vis-a-vis the fabulous displays of various well-known exhibitors.

We will have a stand again, with around 100 plants, all lovingly prepared, to demonstrate the variety in cacti and other succulents. We will happily advise on cultivation, treatment of pests, plant propagation – and if you bring along a photo of that cactus you had for 30 years wondering what it might be, we will try and identify it for you.

BBC Gardener’s World Live runs from 16 to 19 June at the NEC in Birmingham, with plenty of nurseries selling cacti and succulents too.

Coming up: June meeting

Notocactus roseoluteus / by Kakteenklaus on Flickr (CC)

Notocactus roseoluteus / by Kakteenklaus on Flickr (CC)

We are looking forward to welcoming again BCSS Chairman Alasdair Glen, this time with a talk intriguingly entitled “The Whole Blooming Year”. This will be on Tuesday, 21 June, 7.30pm in the Horticultural Training Centre at Winterbourne House and Gardens, on the University of Birmingham main campus.

Coming up: April meeting

Leaves of Titanopsis hugo-schlechteri / by Eric Hunt on Flickr (CC)
Oophytum nanum / by Kerry Woods on Flickr (CC)
Mesemb seedlings / by Stuart on Flickr (CC)
Trichodiadema bulbosum / by Ezequiel Coelho on Flickr (CC)
Monilaria pisiforme / by Kerry Woods on Flickr (CC)
Glottiphyllum peersii / by Reggie1 on Flickr (CC)

We are looking forward to a talk on lesser known mesembs – John Watmough, who runs the plant exchange scheme of the Mesemb Study Group, will introduce us to the weired and wonderful members from a diverse group of succulents, of which Lithops and Conophytum are probably the most widely grown.

The talk is this coming Tuesday, 19 April, at 7.30pm – usual meeting place at the Horticultural Training Suite, Winterbourne House and Gardens, Edgbaston Park Road.

A word on our table shows…

We still have them, but we are no longer prescriptive in which type of cactus or other succulent you bring along.

It would be nice to see more plants being brought along to meetings, and we hope that opening up the monthly show might encourage more of you to do just that… after all, we are all curious to see what each of us grow!

Coming up: February meeting

Lithops dinteri subsp. multipunctata flowers / by Martin Heigan on Flickr (CC)

Lithops dinteri subsp. multipunctata flowers / by Martin Heigan on Flickr (CC)

This will be on finding Lithops in the field – a look at flowering stones in their South African habitat.

We are very pleased to have our branch member Roy Earle give this talk! On Tuesday, 16 February 2016, usual time and place.

January meeting – this Tuesday

Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California / by Rebeca Anchondo on Flickr

Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California / by Rebeca Anchondo on Flickr (CC)

Just a quick reminder of our upcoming meeting on Tuesday – we will be looking at slides of habitats in Baja California.

New branch programme online

Rio Neuquen panorama / by Mariano Mantel on Flickr CC

Rio Neuquen, Patagonia / by Mariano Mantel on Flickr (CC)

The 2016 branch programme of events is now online – as it happens, this year we will be looking at mesembs in particular, but hopefully the programme holds something of interest for everyone: Nurseryman Tony Irons will be sharing his knowledge and experiences of raising cacti and succulents from seed, whilst Kathy and Keith Flannagan are going to introduce us to a fascinating group of North American cacti: Coryphantha. We expect a welcome return to Paul Klaassen with a travelogue of his most recent trip to Chile (and a previous one to Patagonia). And Roy Earle will tell us about finding living stones (Lithops) in habitat.

As before, we meet every third Tuesday evening of the month at Winterbourne. We hope to see you there! The first meeting of the year is on Baja California this coming Tuesday, 19 January.

Coryphantha robustispina var. scheeri, Alkali Lakes ACEC, northeast of Dell City, Otero County, New Mexico, 21 Jul 2014 / by Patrick Alexander on Flickr CC

Coryphantha robustispina var. scheeri, Alkali Lakes ACEC, northeast of Dell City, Otero County, New Mexico, 21 Jul 2014 / by Patrick Alexander on Flickr CC

Coming up: January meeting

Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California / by Rebeca Anchondo on Flickr

Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California / by Rebeca Anchondo on Flickr

We will be looking at the cactus and succulents of Baja California, by way of a slide show from the BCSS library. The slides were taken by Harold Crane during a trip in the 1960s; the script is by Frank Horwood.

The Baja peninsula of Mexico is home to a great many species of cacti and other succulents, which are well documented in a recent BCSS publication by John Pilbeam. It can be purchased here.

We will meet as usual on the third Tuesday of each month in the horticultural training centre of Winterbourne House and Gardens, Edgbaston Park Road, on the main University of Birmingham campus. This is from 7pm for a 7.30 start. The January meeting is on 19 January 2016.

Cactus sillouette, blue sky and clouds, desert hills, twilight, outside La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico / by Wonderlane on Flickr

Cactus sillouette, blue sky and clouds, desert hills, twilight, outside La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico / by Wonderlane on Flickr

An unusual take on growing succulents at home…

Branch programme for 2016

Thelocactus sausseri seedlings / by Dornenwolf on Flickr CC

Thelocactus sausseri seedlings / by Dornenwolf on Flickr CC

We will publish the complete schedule of events for next year in due course. You can look forward to an expert’s guide to raising cacti and other succulents from seed (nurseryman Tony Irons will be with us), a number of talks on mesembs such as Lithops and their habitats, a report by Paul Klaassen on his travels through Chile, and an in-depth look at plants from the genus Coryphantha.

We hope there is something for everyone in next year’s programme of talks. As always, we are keen to hear your views on the schedule of talks, and if you have any requests for speakers or topics do let the Committee know so that we can accommodate this for future programmes.