Contents Volume 19. No 2

Summer 2008 

Editorial and more Trevor Wray
A Peruvian Mystery Roland Tebbenham
Dear Auntie G Gertrude Greenfly
Three first timers  Trevor Wray
Top hat - top cat Colin Walker
A warning from those nice CITES people  
The Zone 6 Show Barry, Roland and Trev
Succulents - the new trend setters Roland Tebbenham
Echeveria . Frank Reinhelt Trevor Wray

click for a better image


Cover picture: : I was lucky enough to spend five weeks in the States this Spring. I saw many rare plants and many of these in flower. This Sclerocactus wetlandicus was just one of many scattered over a hillside in Utah. They can be tricky to spot but not when they flower. I saw this before I even got out of the car!


You can click the picture for a better one.

EDITORIAL and more.....

From the Ed...

Welcome to another issue of NN; maybe the World’s most read cactus club branch magazine.

The Zone 6 Convention

We can give ourselves a pat on the back! Not only was the Convention we organised on behalf of the Zone much enjoyed by the participants, it was a sell-out and a great financial success for both the Branch and Zone. Free BBQs and great speakers for 2009!

National Show

In the UK cactus world these are a very special once-every-four-year event. (I am not quite sure why. I mean why they are every four years, I know why they are special.) 16th August is the date and you should enter any plant which has performed well at our Branch or Zone Shows. Or have a chat with the Ed who will tell you some classes that were so badly supported you are practically assured of a prize. (How do you think the Ed won some last time?)

You also have free admission to the Show. OK, you have to be there a little earlier (but you get to have a nose round and definitely get your head in the trough at the sales first). OK, you have to stay a little later. But I can assure you it will take all day to browse the sales area and see all those incredible show plants. Have I mentioned the fringe Society stands, BCSS book stall, raffles, refreshments… Trust me it is worth the long day out! And you have four more years to recover and regret that you never entered the class where the plant you never entered would have won easily. (Or at least a ‘third’ - of three.)

Naturally as a paid up member of N&MK branch you will expect a report in our magazine. And you will get one if someone writes it, or them. If you enter the Show please jot down your comments, feelings or observations on a scrap of paper, (or better an email to Trev). Facts, philosophy or fiction; NN loves a good story. If you go to the Show the same; say what you enjoyed, even what you hated. (Though we might not report that.) Plants you liked, plants you wanted. Please take some digi-pics. The Ed will be there with his camera but take that snap that will amuse our readers. An Abington Community Centre cup of tea will be awarded to the best photo taken at the Show. It could be you with that cup! And at the National as well.

Incidentally if you missed the last National and want a copy of our Branch’s pictures of the exhibits, the CD will set you back a quid. More if we post it.

The Branch Show

While we are girding ourselves up for the quadrennial (is that the word for every four years?) National don’t forget the Branch Show on July 26th and 27th. This is an opportunity to show our plants and impress the N&MK public. The visitors might join our society and have a lifetime of pleasure from growing and studying cacti and succulents. Really we owe it to the community - global warming is coming their way, (they say). What else can we grow?

Castle Ashby Fair

Over recent years the Branch has attended the Castle Ashby Fair to ‘press the flesh’ and sell a few plants. Jeff reckons the crowd there is different from the usual plant fair fare and we refer to them as the ‘green welly brigade’. Sue, (the F.L., her indoors, the missus etc.) went along to see the crafts and chatted with the cactus crowd. What did the F.L. buy at the Fair? Well naturally a pair of green wellies!

Notts WABs

I was up at Nottingham (nice people there) giving a talk about a visit to the Colorado Cactus Show and Sale. I was showing a slide of the wall of the gent’s rest-room which was tastefully decorated with a mural of native opuntias and yuccas. Pointing to an unfamiliar contraption on the wall I said “This is where gents can change their baby…”

WAB 1 “What for?”

WAB 2 “Two opuntias!”

(You will know of course that the ‘restrooms’ of the US are not for resting in (we’d call it the loo) and the WABs are the wags-at-the-back that you always get at cactus meetings.

Berlandier Nettle Spurge

At the NMK show in 2005 there were two plants of Jatropha cathartica, an interesting caudiform species. The leaves on these specimens were so different that I wondered if both could be correctly named. I started a Google image search. Sure enough the pictures showed both forms of leaves and it seems that young plants or stems have just juvenile foliage. A close look at the right hand plant showed dissected leaves developing. The plant gets its common name from an invalid old name of berlandieri. Google also showed that the species was a toxic weed of Texas and Mexico rangeland and related species had such names as nettle-spurge and bellyache bush. Better not eat your Jatropha! The net also suggested that the species could be grown from hardwood and softwood cuttings but I would imagine that seed would be the normal method. Now where can I get some?


Must haves…

The FL was touring a friend’s greenhouse and noticed a slotted shelf.

“That’s my wine glass holder said Cindy.”

I gotta get one!

What’s going on here?

Well you would have to ask Keith, (you know, Keith’s Books?)



And what’s going on here?

And, as an Australian cactophile commented on the Forum, “Why has this spider got eyes on his bottom?” (This was not the actual word he used)

Full NN report on page 11 - I mean click here

As to the magazine...




You can contact the Ed of Northants News by joining trevorwray with the usual 'at' sign and



Northampton and Milton Keynes Branch of the B.C.S.S.

Back issues of the NMK Branch magazine

Northants News Volume 19.1

Northants News Volume 18.3

Northants News Volume 18.2

Northants News Volume 18.1

Northants News Volume 17.3

Northants News Volume 17.2

Northants News Volume 17.1

Northants News Volume 16.3