This Agave salmiana, housed at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, decided to flower – always a spectacular sight, even if the flower stem still has some way to travel.

Here is a recent photo taken by our branch member Eddie Adams – and how this ends can be seen in a forum posting by Geoff Bowman, who gave a talk to our branch last year. His documentation is great to get a sense of scale: Geoff had to take out several panes of glass from the greenhouse roof; the plant itself was planted out in his commercial-style greenhouse and with free root-run grew to about a couple of meters in height (and rather wider).

Change of programme: November meeting


Unfortunately Andrew Young is unable to travel to Birmingham this month, so we re-arranged his talk on Steven Hammer’s collection for March next year.

Instead, we have moved the talk originally scheduled for March 2017 forward: Derek Castle will tell us about a visit he made to South Africa, this coming Tuesday, 15 November, 7pm, usual place.

Coming up: October meeting

Thelocactus sausseri seedlings / by Dornenwolf on Flickr CC

Thelocactus sausseri seedlings / by Dornenwolf on Flickr CC

We are very pleased to be able to welcome nurseryman Tony Irons to our next branch meeting. He will share his expertise on raising cacti and succulents from seed. This is on Tuesday, 18 October, usual time and place – all welcome!

Autumn Show this weekend

It is the weekend of our Autumn Show in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens: 11-4 on Sunday, and the show is held in conjunction with the Haworthia Society.

Coming up: August meeting

We have a change to our schedule of talks for August and September – a straight swap.

So in August, we welcome John Foster to our branch, with his talk on showing and judging cacti and other succulents – for instance at our Autumn Show. John has judged our show in the past, and his idea is to give some insight into what might make a good show plant.

If you have any plants you might like discussed please bring them along! This is on 16 August, and the slides from the 1996 National we will see on 20 September.

Autumn Show – schedule

Birmingham Branch’s Autumn Show will be held in the Botanical Gardens on 2 October. It’s still a while, but we already have the schedule ready and available here.

Coming up: July meeting

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

This month we will be looking at the genus Coryphantha – Kathy and Keith Flanagan kindly agreed to travel up to Birmingham to introduce us to this interesting group of plants, this coming Tuesday, 19 July. Usual time and place – do come along!

Gold at BBC Gardener’s World Live

The branch achieved a Gold Medal for their stand at this year’s BBC Gardener’s World Live. Here is a photo of the stand – we’re in the Floral Marquee this year.

BCSS Birmingham at BBC Gardener's World Live 2016

BCSS Birmingham at BBC Gardener’s World Live 2016

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.