Contents Volume 23. No 2

Summer 2012

Editorial and more.. Trevor Wray

A Lucky Find 

Roland Tebbenham

Old Friends                   

Roland Tebbenham

A Day in Denver 

Trevor Wray

Don Campbell 

Trevor Wray

Some thoughts on Seeds  Doug Rowland
The Zone Show  Trevor Wray
A First Flower Stimulates Research Roland Tebbenham

Cover picture: The FL and I enjoyed some time at the Denver Botanical Gardens and on page 6, (I mean click here), there is a report. In the Alpine Garden was a Delosperma new to me. I have been familiar with this genus for a long time, many are totally hardy in a cold greenhouse and some will tolerate cold and wet outside in the Northampton winter.

The dwarf cushion forms of D. sphalmanthus are a delight, totally hardy in a greenhouse and studded with mauve flowers in early spring. However the plant that caught my eye in the garden was new to me with bi-coloured bronze and cherry red flowers. I could find no named plants but an internet search soon indicated this was Delosperma 'Fire Spinner' a new introduction and an award winning plant in the US. This is a 'patented' plant which means it cannot be propagated for trade without a licence. There are some US suppliers, but I could find no UK ones. Something for my wish list then...

EDITORIAL and more.....

Welcome to the Summer edition of NN.

After the driest winters it seems it only needs the issue of a ‘drought order’ to cause continuous torrential rain. Growth in the garden, of both wanted and unwanted plants, (I mean weeds), has been phenomenal. Slugs and snails as well. What it all means for our cacti and succulents under the shelter of a greenhouse I do not know. I assume that since it has been clouded and colder than usual it is bad news but I can’t see any difference… So far!

A rare Adromischus?

Summer is a great time to repot and clean up* Adromischus plants. Dead leaves look untidy and are a seed bed for the moulds and mildews that romp through the choicest kinds in winter. Dead flower stalks are a trellis for spiders’ webs which detract from the beauty of the smallest kinds.

Summer is also a good time to propagate these plants; it is never safe to have only one of a kind, or with me, even three or four! When tidying up you often find that fallen leaves have rooted and produced small plants and accidentally detached leaves soon will. The most vigorous kinds can be broken up. There is little point in producing a washing-up bowl full of an Adromischus unless you are after a first at the National Show, (oh you are?).

While working through and replacing the faded and broken labels I realised I had a rare Adromischus, at least on the internet. A web search for Adromischus ‘Hummel’s Frosty’ produced zero hits. Now Ed Hummel was a Californian nurseryman well known for his Crassula ‘Hummel’s Sunset’. His name for ‘Frosty’ is apt, but whether it is a species or a hybrid I do not know, however it is a vigorous grower by Adromischus standards. My congested 5” pan-full was broken up to produce two reasonable plants for my collection, several small plants and lots of leaves. So lots more ‘Hummel’s Frosty’ in Northants country.

*Reading over my shoulder… ‘Summer is a great time to clean up… “Ho, ho, ho,” went the F.L. 

Translation of article in Succulentopi Journal

You may have seen this on-line journal on the internet. It is in French but, if like me, you aspire to only ‘O-level’ you can use Google translation services to help out and get an approximation. Actually for much of this text it is very much an approximation, but never mind. There are some nice pictures.

My interest was taken by an article on Vasconcellea. You what? You rightly say. (Also known as Vasconcella) Yes Vasconcellea, (or Vasconcella), a genus in the Caricaceae. You what? Surely you are familiar with this family?

Never mind. It appears that these ‘pachycaul’ small trees grow from the sea to the foothills of the Andes The article suggests their culture is probably similar to the cacti with which they coexist; Armatocereus cartwrightianus, Copiapoa coquimbana and Eulychnia acida. Errr… maybe.

The Vasconcellea are often called 'mountain papaya', because they grow in the foothills of the Andes, although some also grow by the sea. The fruit of many species are locally consumed: V. chrysophila and V. pentagona in Colombia and Ecuador, V. candicans in Peru for example. Two species, V. pubescens and V. x heilbornii, especially the cultivar 'Babaco', are grown for their fruit on a larger scale. These are cooked as vegetables and canned, particularly in Chile, or used in confectionery.

As Vasconcell… whatever, is not recognised as a succulent in the ‘Guide to Shows’ you cannot exhibit it in a BCSS show. So it is purely for the botanical gardens and the Chilean version of Bird’s Eye, but the journal has an interesting article on Titanopsis. I like these! The translation does not…

“It was by chance discovered that Marloth the type species: based on what he thought of the limestone, he crushed one of the plants. His mistake he took out the species name, calcarea (Jacobsen 1960) Schwantes and later was inspired to name the genus.”

But never mind, the pictures are lovely and we get the drift.

There follows an article on Ariocarpus and I was attracted by cultivars A. retusus cv. ‘Maruibo’ and A. fissuratus cv. ‘Godzilla red leaf’. I don’t suppose I will be buying these for a few quid. (Or perhaps not till the Czechs get their hands on them). There is a forum with the usual forum articles (but in French) and finally a superb image of a Eriosyce eriosyzoides in the Quebrada Pinte, near Vallenar, Chile.

And I learnt that Quebrada Pinte  translates as ‘Paint Creek’. I always thought that a Quebrada was a Quebrada.

Do look at the images and perhaps struggle with the French, it is worth the time. You can download these pdf magazines at

The National Show

We are now just a few weeks from the National. Held only every four years and definitely worth the time to visit or exhibit some plants. Be warned; the standards are high!

Enjoy the mag and the summer when it comes.



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

Back issues of the NMK Branch magazine

Northants News Volume 22.3
Northants News Volume 22.2
Northants News Volume 22.1
Northants News Volume 21.3