Contents of the Spring 2012 Northants News

Happy memories of Warren                                                                                              Doug Rowland

It was with great sadness that we heard of the passing of Warren Withers. I had known Warren for at least 50 years and here relate a couple of amusing incidents with him. The first happened on one of his famous Continental Bus Tours. At the time, the hobby was in its heyday, with new Ritter discoveries in South America coming into cultivation at a fast pace. Tom Jenkins at Jumanery Cactus Nursery near Spalding was having difficulty maintaining stocks of good saleable plants and often visited Dutch nurseries for further supplies.

Our bus stopped outside this large Dutch nursery, and Warren found a note for him fixed to the door which read “You are too late Warren, I just bought all the best plants here for Jumanery, Tom”.

Another time we visited Warren’s collection in Rugby, where we were shown into a myriad of assorted glasshouses. I was looking at some cactus plants and suddenly saw a flash of orange movement below the pots. Looking under the bench I saw half a dozen goldfish enjoying life in a large pool. I asked how the goldfish got under a cactus bench, and Warren explained that the pool had once been the centrepiece of his lawn, and when he continued with his greenhouse building programme did not have the heart to fill in the pond, so decided to just leave it as it was!

Doug Rowland

Warren Withers

Jim Lewis                                                                              Trev Wray   


Jim Lewis

Jim’s funeral was in the same week as Warren’s. It was a bad week for me losing two long standing friends from the cactus world. Jim was a very active member of the branch in the past and on the committee for many years. We didn’t see him much at meetings in later years but until near the end he supported our show and attended and enjoyed the social occasions. We always noted that if he brought a plant to the show it won. A very economical way to exhibit plants! He was a good grower. Like Warren he was very generous with his plants and I have many species that came from Jim’s collection as cuttings or offsets.

I will miss the intelligent conversations I had with Jim over the years. Not just about our plants but bridge, wine, food and the occasional politics. A good friend.  


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