Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Long Time CSSM Member Dan Downey Passed Away

Dan Downey, 54 of Belmont Massachusetts, passed away suddenly on December 12th. Dan was a Computer Specialist for the Belmont Public Schools working throughout the system cheerfully assisting staff and students alike. He was a man of many interests, collections and passions: he loved the paintings of Hokusai; Japanese netsuke; cactus and succulents (he was a member of the Cactus and Succulent Society of Massachusetts); digital photography – especially of plants; salamanders of all sorts and owned several. He loved gems and minerals and had an extensive collection. He loved sumo wrestling and was a huge fan of such disparate music as Phillip Glass, Morrissey, the Throat Singers of Tuva and the Flaming Lips. He owned many string and electronic instruments and enjoyed playing with friends when he had a chance.  Dan was an avid reader and collector of books including Chinese and Japanese literature, mysteries and classic comic books. Dan was born in Kittery Maine, moving to Dorchester with his family when he was 2. Dan graduated from U Mass Amherst in 1980 and went on to have jobs as varied as his interests.

Dan embraced the interests of his children whether it was re-kindling a passion for Dungeons & Dragons, the plots and characters of Star Wars and every version of Star Trek, the sophisticated humor of the Simpsons and gaming world of Jack & Daxter and Final Fantasy.

A memorial service will be held on December 29 at 1:00 pm at First Church, Unitarian Universalist,  404 Concord Avenue, Belmont MA. The service is public and is open to everyone.

In lieu of flowers a donation can be made to the Dan Downey Memorial  IT Fund , c/o Belmont Public Schools,  644 Pleasant Street, Belmont MA,  or to a fund that friends have set up to help the family through this difficult time:  The Graham Family Benefit Fund, Belmont Savings Bank, 2 Leonard Street, Belmont MA 02478

Sunday, November 25, 2012

December 15, 2012 Holiday Potluck
First Church
725 Main Street
Lancaster, MA 01523
1-4 PM

Please join us for our Holiday Celebration. We will need 3 types of dishes: salad, main & dessert.
RSVP by December 10th to Suzanne and let her know if you can attend & what you want to bring. There will be a gift exchange ($10) for those who want to participate.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


CSSM Meeting - November 17, 2012
Tower Hill Botanic Garden
1-4 PM

Program - "Succulent Bonsai" presented by Glen Lord

Glen has been working with plants most of his life. He grew up in Maine on a family farm and has done everything from cooking to managing a 50 acre apple orchard. He has tied his love of cacti & succulents to an equally strong love of Bonsai. He has worked in one of the oldest Bonsai nurseries on the east coast and developed the traditional styling and pruning techniques of Bonsai to apply to succulents.

Succulent Bonsai & Kusamono - The word Bonsai makes one think of elegant pines and junipers, but not often succulents. Glen will show how to apply the same skill set to succulent plants. Kusamono is the art of accent plants and is often used to give a sense of time or season in Tokonoma displays. Glen will show how to use succulents in this way.

There will be a lunch served as well as the usual raffle and auction. A plant show will allow members and guests to display their plants in a small friendly competition which is educational and fun.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


CSSM Meeting - October 20, 2012
1-4 PM
Tower Hill Botanic Garden 
Hypertufa Trough Workshop

The workshop will be led by Deb Pope who has a vast experience making throughs. The fee for materials is $10. Email Suzanne at or Margot at to sign up for the workshop. Participants will need to bring a mask, gloves, plastic bags (to cover mold and/or cover finished trough to keep moist) and a mold. Choose something in a shape, (rectangular, round, square, etc.) that would make a trough you would like. Keep in mind that it has to be carried, so nothing too large since once the mixture is on the mold it will be heavy.

If you do not want to participate there will be something else to do, more info to come.

As usual there will be a social 30 minutes or so with a buffet lunch. And there will be our usual auction, raffle and plant show. Last month there was a good showing of plants for the show which is fun and informative and gives members a chance to show off their special plants. 

We will be placing a plant order to be delivered in November. More info about this will be in the Newsletter.

Friday, September 7, 2012

CSSM September 15th Meeting
Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Boylston, MA
1 PM - 4 PM

The program to welcome back members after the summer recess will be presented by two of our own very knowledgable members:
   Art Scarpa:"Set It & Forget It (Well, Almost), Low Maintenance Plants For Busy People"
      This program will feature easy to grow, tough plants for people who have little time to care for

   Paul Carlberg:"Succulent Bromeliads"
      Paul will show off and discuss some of his plants, Hechtis, Duya, & Dyckia to name a few.

Paul will have cuttings of Sansevieria & Haworthia for sale. We will have our usual raffle, auction &  plant show. Lunch is provided. If you have plants for the raffle or auction, please bring them. See the Newsletter for more information.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Our May meeting will be May 19, 2012, 1-4 PM at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive, Boylston, MA. The program will be, "An Experiment Growing Cacti/Succulents Outdoors in MA" presented by Frank Streeter.
Frank will speak about the hardy succulent garden he and Margot have planted on their property in Lancaster. He will relate how they prepared the site for growing these drought resistant plants, what
they have planted and how they are doing thus far.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


The CSSM March meeting will be on Saturday, March 17, 2012 1-4 PM at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA. The program will be, "Succulent Plants of Southern CA" presented by Matt Opel Ph. D. Horticulturist at the University of Connecticut Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.

Matt has recently had a species of Tylecodon he discovered in South Africa when he was a graduate student named after him - T. opelii. He is very knowledgable about succulents and is an interesting speaker.
This will be an excellent program!

As always we will have a plant auction & raffles as well as a plant show and the ever popular luncheon will be served. Come and meet others who share your love of succulents or come to learn more about these very interesting, unusual and sometimes odd plants.

CSSM will be entered in the Boston Flower and Garden Show at the Seaport World Trade Center. We will be in the Display Windows competition. The show runs from Wednesday, March 14 - Sunday, March 18.
Look for us if you attend the show to see some of our special plants.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

CSSM February Meeting

Since the January meeting had to be cancelled due to a snow storm, the program "Touring Succulent Nurseries in Southern CA" will be presented at this month's meeting. It will be presented by Art Scarpa, Paul Carlberg and Abbie Rorer. Abbie will have plants for sale.
Please join us, this will be an interesting and informative program.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January Meeting- Touring Succulent Nurseries in Southern CA

Last Fall Art Scarpa, Paul Carlberg and Abbie Rorer took a trip to Southern CA and visited succulent nurseries. They will describe their ventures to the various nurseries they encountered on this excursion at our January 21st meeting at Tower Hill Botanic Garden from 1-4 PM.

It promises to be a fascinating meeting with three of our most knowledgable members!

We will be having a plant show, raffles and an auction. And, of course, refreshments.

Prospective members are always welcome!

December Anniversary/Holiday Bash

The party was well attended and the food was enjoyed by all! It was a great idea to have the main course catered and attendees brought delicious appetizers and luscious desserts.
Everyone received a new plant from Mesa Gardens for their collections and there were some very interesting ones.
The plant exchange was fun with thoughtful gifts for gardeners and everyone seemed happy with the gift they "chose".
With the weather so delightful, the company so congenial and the food so appetizing, "a good time was had by all".