Sunday, December 19, 2010

January 2011 Program Description

"Travelogue from South Africa"
Presented by Art Scarpa

Saturday, January 15 from 1-4 pm
At Tower Hill Botanic Garden
11 French Dive
Boylston, MA 01505

This past summer Our fellow CSSM member Art spent several weeks travelling through Cape Town, the western provinces of South Africa, and north just over the border into Namibia searching for his favorite plants in their native habitats. Due to extreme drought over the past few years, with only 1.5 mm of rain in 2 years in some regions, the surviving plants were well hidden.

Many of the plants we grow indoors here are native to South Africa. The South African Floral region is home to an incredible diversity of endemic native plants unmatched by any area of similar size, the richest area in the world.

South Africa is a vibrant, diverse, exciting society to visit. In addition to his planyt hunting adventures Art will also be recounting some of his experiences and views about it's people and the country as a whole.
Art will bring along some live plants from his greenhouse collection to illustrate how a cultivated plant looks compared to one growing in its native habitat.

This is sure to be an exciting, entertaining, and very informative program, don't miss it!

Meeting Schedule:
1:00 - 1:30     Socializing, eating, plant show, meeting setup
1:30 - 2:00     Business Meeting
2:00 - 3:00     Educational Program (see above)
3:00 - 4:00     Plant Auction and Raffle
4:00 - 4:15     Clean up

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Philadelphia International Flower Show Trip Details

The proposed CSSM trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show and Longwood Gardens is officially canceled due to lack of interest.  As of December 31 at 9 am only eight people had committed to attend the trip, we needed at least 18 for the trip to be affordable.

Thank you for your interest and please stay tuned as we may try to organize a similar trip next year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December Meeting

"Pot luck Holiday Party "
Saturday, December 18 From 1-4 pm
At the Goodnow Library
21 Concord Road
Sudbury, MA 01776

This month we will not have a regular meeting, but instead a holiday party at the Goodnow Library.  This setting allows us more room than Tower Hill and is closer to Boston making it more convenient for some members.  There is plenty of parking in back of the library.  We will meet in the room just to your right as you enter the main doors.  If you have any problem finding it ask for directions at the main desk.

The party will include the classic pot luck meal, the holiday plant raffle, the member gift swap, and lots of socializing.  There is no regular plant raffle (so please do not bring plants in), no auction, no educational program, very little or no business meeting, and the library will not be available.

The gift swap is optional.  To take part in it please bring a wrapped gift valued at $10 or less, you may bring a gift valued at more than $10 if you choose to.  Gifts do not have to be plant themed, though they normally are.  A nice plant is a fine gift, just wrap it up.  This is a normal gift swap not a yankee swap.

We will raffle off a nice selection of unusual plants ordered especially for the holiday party.  This is the society's gift to the members.  Plants for the raffle have been ordered from, and Steven Hammer.

For food we all bring a dish to share, the club does not provide any food.  What type of dish you should bring is based on where you last name falls in the assignment list below.  Please RSVP to Suzanne at and let her know your name and what you plan to bring for the pot luck meal.

                               A-D      salad
                               E-I       dessert
                               J-R       main dish
                               S-Z       beverage

Friday, October 29, 2010

Second greenhouse opens at Tower Hill

On monthly meeting days many of you enjoy wandering around Tower Hill Botanic Garden as much as attending the meeting.  You will be glad to know that the second greenhouse, more properly called the limonaia, is nearly complete and will be open to the public by November 14.  Tower Hill will have free admission that day and tours of the new building form 11-2.

Please see the link below for a detailed article about the new building and other renovations at the garden.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Steven Hammer's newest plant list is out

Ok everyone, Steven Hammer just published a new list of sale plants at his sales site.  The way it works with buying from him is that every few months he publishes lists of plants he has for sale in larger quantities.  Customers send in their orders fast for the rarer things so get a move on if you want any thing listed there.  You can also ask him if he has something you are looking for that is not on the list.  He seems to have mainly South African plants and has a huge selection of in Mesembs (especially conophytums), Haworthia, and Gasteria.

Many CSSM members buy from him on a regular basis.  I personally recommend him as a seller, his prices are very low and his plants are always excellent.  CSSM orders many of our sale plants for the show and meetings from him.

He sends the plants "bare root" which mean all the soil is removed and the roots are exposed and dry.  This means you must have soil and pots waiting when you get your plants.  It also means some times reviving the root system once a plant is potted up.   It is up to you as the grower to figure out if and how to do this and beyond the scope of this post to describe.

Contact him by email with one list of what you want to buy from the published list and another of what you are looking for.  He will let you know what is available and how much it will all cost.  Then you send him a check (no credit cards, pay pal, or other electronic methods) and he sends you your plants.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More images posted to

I just posted about 30 new images to the CSSM account.  They are all of CSSM member Abby's beautiful plants, thanks Abby! Click the link on the side bar to see them.

I like to view them using the light box option.  To do this click the magnifying glass containing the + sign above any image or start here

Flickr is a wonderful place for plant lovers.  You can find thousands of photos by succulent plant growers, collectors, and explorers.  There are photos of succulents in cultivation, in the wild, and a lot of photos of succulent plant habitats.  Try searching the site using the name of a plant or wild place you like.

To start try viewing the CSSM profile page and look at the favorite photos and contacts.  The contacts are people with a significant number of C&S photos that I think CSSM members will enjoy.  I will continue to add to this list as time goes by.  Feel free to send suggestions if you find a nice photo or a flickr user with nice photos.


CSSA convention and annual show

The 2011 Cactus and Succulent Society of America (CSSA) convention will take place from April 24-29, 2011 in San Diego, CA.  This year the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society will host the conference.  It should be a fun and educational event.  For more information see

The CSSA also holds an annual show and sale at Huntington Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA.

For more info about the last (2010) CSSA show

To see the CSSA's photostream including photos from the 2010 show visit

Monday, October 18, 2010

November Program Description

“Cultivation and propagation of Cold hardy cacti”
presented by John Spain
November 20 from 1-4 pm
At Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA

In November we welcome John Spain, one of the most respected growers of cold hardy Cacti in the country! This is a program not to be missed. Mr. Spain has been cultivating and propagating cacti outdoors in the cold, wet climate of central Connecticut since 1966. Over the years he has become acquainted with over 200 species and varieties of cold hardy cacti.

In his program Mr. Spain will present everything you need to know to cultivate and propagate cold hardy cacti on your own. He will share many color slides of these beautiful plants. To keep the program moving along smoothly there will be time for a brief question and answer session at the end.

Please bring a notebook and writing implement so you can take notes and keep track of any questions you want to ask at the end of the program.

Mr. Spain's classic book, “Growing Winter Hardy Cacti in Cold/Wet Conditions”, includes all of the information he will discuss in this month's program and more. It will be for sale by the author at the meeting for $13.50 per copy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October Program Description

"Introduction to Rock Gardening"
October 16 from 1-4 pm
at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, MA

This month we are very lucky to have a long time member of the Berkshire Chapter of the North American Rock Gardening Society introducing us to rock gardening.  Our speaker is a well known, experienced rock gardener who maintains three very large rock gardens containing hundreds of species of cold hardy plant including many cacti and succulents.

Rock Gardens are a bit different from regular “dirt” gardens in ways that make them ideal places to grow cold hardy Cacti and succulents. Peter will introduce us to the concept of rock gardening and tell us about some cold hardy cacti and succulents that thrive in that setting.

Please visit the web site of the Berkshire chapter of the North American Rock Gardening Society for more information, resources, and their extensive archive of informative news letters.

2010 -2011 CSSM Program Schedule

Below is the schedule of upcoming meeting programs for the 2010-2011 year.  Programs in BOLD are definite, those not in bold are tentative.  We meet monthly from October through June with our annual Show in September.  Our meetings take place on the third Saturday of the month from 1-4 pm at the stated location for that date.  For directions to meetings please google the meeting location and/or use maps or a mapping program.

Visitors are always welcome at our meeting free of charge.  If we are meeting at Tower Hill Botanic Garden just tell the gate attendant that you are going to "the cactus club meeting" and you will be let in for free (the society rents out a room for the meeting).  At the front desk ask to be directed to the Cactus club meeting.

Most people come to the society as beginner succulent plant growers so please don't be shy about joining us.  If you have any interest at all in this society please come to one of the meetings and find me (Devan) and introduce your self.  Although I am very busy during the meeting I would be happy to show you around and let you know how the club works.  I want all people interested in our society to see first hand what it has to offer them.

We are a fun, friendly, easy going group of plant lovers and welcome people of all ages.  The meetings are family friendly so don't hesitate to bring your children along.  If you are a kid who loves plants and found our society, please have your parents bring you to one of our meetings.

October 16 Introduction to Rock Gardening Tower Hill Botanic Garden
November 20 Cultivating Cold Hardy Cacti Tower Hill Botanic Garden
December 18 Annual pot luck holiday party Goodnow Library             Sudbury, Ma
January 15 Travelogue from South Africa Tower Hill Botanic Garden
February 19 Conophytums Tower Hill Botanic Garden
March 19 Travelogue from Big Bend Texas Tower Hill Botanic Garden
April 16 Cactus and Succulent Books Tower Hill Botanic Garden
May 21
- Pre-show pep rally
- Annual meeting to elect new officers
Tower Hill Botanic Garden
June Field trip Destination not yet determined