Contents Volume 22. No 1

Spring 2011

Editorial and more.. Trevor Wray

A Fact-finding Mission 

Roland Tebbenham

The 2010 Branch Show 

Hugh Balhatchet


Stephanie Bahja 

Three Sansevieria Snips  

Trevor Wray

Echeveria 'Zaragosa' Trevor Wray

Uebelmannia pectinifera

Cover picture: Our cover picture for this issue is of the growing point of Uebelmannia pectinifera growing in Don Campbell’s collection. Bearing in mind that Don lives in Grand Junction, Colorado where it is cold (cold, cold) in winter, I asked whether the plant had any special treatment. No, it grew with the others in his sun-room, a glassy conservatory. No wonder he grows his plants so well!


EDITORIAL and more.....



2011 is an important year for members in the NMK branch of the BCSS. On a personal level you will try something new to grow, (within the general scope of succulents or cacti). You might try new cultivation methods, subscribe to new journals, contribute to or read the online forums. Attend relevant conventions. You might write an article for our magazine, Northants News will welcome your written contribution.

Or maybe you will just water the plants you have and be amazed as they grow and produce those fabulous flowers.

During 2011 you have an opportunity to visit other collections: locally in the NMK area from the list on our programme card, or on August 7th, the collections of Leicester members of our society. These are a great opportunity to see many desirable plants, and maybe buy seedlings or scrounge cuttings.

Show-wise our branch show is on August 13th & 14th and you should enter any show worthy plants you have. Firstly to promote our growing hobby to the outside world and also because you might be favoured by our judge with a prize card.

Show wise our Zone of the BCSS has a show on 21st May hosted by Coventry at Dunchurch. Do not feel intimidated; if you have a good plant exhibit it. If you do not, just come along and look at some super show plants. Who knows, you might just feel you have something better at home. So next year…

And naturally Roland has produced a great programme of cactus and succulent talks for the branch through the year.


I should have been working on NN but I was not. I was surfing Ebay for things…

I generally look at the books on our hobby and so I typed in ‘cactus’ into the item box intending to add ‘books’ into the category box. These search engines like to be helpful and make suggestions. ‘Cactus, inflatable’ popped up as I typed. How can you resist?

The image showed three saguaros, (cognoscenti say ‘sahwahoss’ which is near enough), or San Pedro cacti; without flowers it is difficult to tell. The unit is ‘made from 610g double sided bouncy castle PVC’ by ‘a very respected UK manufacturer’. Naturally you will ask if it will fit your greenhouse and it would be a squeeze here. It is 12 feet wide with three 5 foot cacti.



Probably more manageable were the next items; a great many 34 inch cereioid cacti. A couple of species here The Hawaiian Beachluau mexicanparty inflatablecactus. (Image on the left), That’s Luau not Lau by the way; and Inflatablecactus plant-tree (right). I suppose they might be the same genus to look at the images.

One thing is for certain – none of these Inflatablecactus are going to be compatible with the more conventional spikies we grow.

However they will be drought resistant.


My A to Z

Bill Morris’ A to Z talk last year got me pondering… It could be amusing to pass the time in the traffic jams by thinking of cactus genera that correspond to each letter of the alphabet. A is for Astrophytum, B is for Borzicactus etc. Q has only one solution… Quiabentia, and just how sad can a computer be? Mine can spell this genus (I think). There are no Xs that I know, but two Zs. Zygocactus is easy but there is also Zehntnerella. Mrs. Dell wasn’t aware of this one and I didn’t bother to add it to the spell checker as it is considered to be Facheiroa, (which she knew - I before E except after CH). Facheiroa is a genus of Brazilian tree cacti with a resemblance to Espostoa as you know.

This little exercise is pretty easy but if you want to make it more difficult you might try for only those genera which are accepted in the CITES Checklist or New Cactus Lexicon, (BTW they do not have quite the same list of accepted genera).

When you tire of this game you could try the same for the other succulents. There are three Zs (at least); Zehneria, Zygophyllum (not Zygopyllum as Jacobson spells it at the top of P394 in his Lexicon) and Zeuktophyllum. There is also an X which is quite (OK, fairly) well known. I’ll let you look that one up yourself. And yes, Mrs. Dell can spell that one as well!

This Winter

I have written many times about the hardiness of our plants, (or not!). The winter of 2009/2010 was the worst for years and some surprising plants survived in a cold greenhouse.

This winter we had the coldest December ever and many of those plants which I had considered bone hardy perished. This included nearly all the members of the Crassula family which had survived many years in this greenhouse. Perhaps many of these plants were still damp from the growing season when the extreme cold set in. There were even some casualties among the cacti. Good news is that most of the plants in the heated (to -2°C!) greenhouses survived. I want to know when this Global Warming is coming. In the meantime I am leaving every light on in the house. (Just teasing, Sue.)

This issue of NN brings you a major tour of Graham Charles’ greenhouse, some more on the last Show with the joys of winning and a bit about Sansevierias. Enjoy.



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

Back issues of the NMK Branch magazine

Northants News Volume 21.3
Northants News Volume 21.2
Northants News Volume 21.1

Northants News Volume 20.3

Northants News Volume 20.2