As we write this column on April 1st, our focus is on cacti and succulents. Three factors inspire this topic, as summarized in these paragraphs.
Spring Show & Sale of the Monterey Bay Area Cactus & Succulent Society.
This local organization, an affiliate of the Cactus & Succulent Society of America, presents two of these two-part events each year, in the fall and the spring.
The show presents a variety of exceptional plants, representing prime specimens from several different succulent plant genera. This display provides an extraordinary opportunity for both novice and advanced gardeners of these plants to see mature plants that have been grown expertly and shown aesthetically in selected containers.
The sale brings offerings from multiple growers, all of whom are members of the Society. Generally, several tables each present small and reasonably priced, inviting gardeners to select multiple plants to add to their indoor or outdoor gardens. The sale tables might also include specimens of relatively rare plants. Gardeners with special appreciation for unusual plants often quickly gather up these premium oifferings.
The Society will hold this event on April 13th & 14th, at San Juan Bautista’s Community Hall, 10 San Jose Street. The accompanying photos can be spotted on flyers posted in garden centers and other public places throughout the Monterey Bay area. Photography by Fred Valentine.
Succulent Blossoms on Stamps
To draw attention to the Society’s upcoming show & sale, the United States Postal Service has released ten new First Class stamps depicting the blossoms of ten cacti. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamps with photographs taken by John P. Schaefer. Visit usps.com/stamps, and scroll to “Cactus Flowers” for more information, including images of the stamps. The many growers of succulent plants will appreciate these stunning stamps.
Succulent Blooms by Month
Some gardeners have impressive awareness of the timing of events in their gardens, particularly when various plants burst into bloom. I am not one of those gardeners, but one who typically discovers new blooms with surprise and delight. A gardener who knows when succulent plants bloom has helped those of us with less awareness with a monthly series of photographic collections of succulent plants in bloom.
The gardener is Geoff Stein, who describes himself as an “obsessive, compulsive collector of all oddball tropical and desert plants.” To date, he has produced photographic overviews of succulents in bloom in December, January, February, March and April. The April issue of this series extends to nineteen pages and includes scores of photos.
Geoff Stein is a prolific garden writer who has created scores of lengthy articles on a range of topics within his interest in “tropical and desert plants.” Each of these pieces includes numerous photographs of the plants under discussion. Some of his articles are broad in scope, e.g.,, “Introduction to Dyckias and Hechtias,” while others deal with specific cultivars, e.g., “Easy Succulents: Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’.” For a list of his articles go to https://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/ and search for “Geoff Stein.” His writings are definitely worth exploring.
Admittedly, the USPS produced its Cactus Flower stamps in recognition of the growing interest in gardening with cacti and succulents, not specifically for the Society’s Show & Sale. April Fool!
Still, that event will be a pleasure for avid gardeners interested in these fascinating plants.