Tuesday
Dec292009

January Meeting: Thurs 1/7 at 7PM Garden Club Building at Lorenzi Park

Program: Panayoti Kelaidis’s “Looking for Succulents in All the Wrong Places"

Arranged and Contributed by 2010 CSSSN Vice President, Donnie Barnett.

The January program features Panayoti Kelaidis's talk on "Looking for Succulents in All the Wrong Places.” Panayoti is a world renowned speaker on succulents and rock gardens. He is Curator of Plant Collections at the Denver Botanical Gardens and Vice President of the Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society (CCSS). P.K. has traveled throughout the world searching for succulents and new alpine plants.

Panayoti has been a great inspiration to me. I remember meeting him when I was 12 years old at a CCSS cactus sale. Later down the road he visited my parent’s rock garden in Pueblo, Colorado. He was able to spout off nearly every species of plant in the yard. He showed me that a man with his kind of knowledge could help gardeners and hobbyists improve the horticultural world. This January meeting should be epoch!

Important Discussion: “CSSSN’s Location, Location, Location!”,  and other items

brought to you by 2010 CSSSN President, Victor Lindsey.

Wednesday
Dec162009

What Are U Doing New Year's Day (or any other holiday)?

Dear Cactus and Succulent enthusiast,

Are you new to the "Valley?" or  Do you and your family and friends have a void of "tradition" during the holiday season?  Does this sound familiar?  Read this little item and start something that brings joy to your life!

We live in the unique "Four Corners" area of the US.  Moreover, we Las Vegas people live smack dab in a Mojave valley surrounded by "higher desert"  ranges.  We're a stone's throw from what's living in CA, UT, AZ, and even ID!  From a desert plant diversity perspective, it's just a hoot to some native C&S lovers. 

I'm suggesting that people think and act on a tradition that's been alive for years, but maybe not in your heart.  I'm going to quote from an article that appeared in the CSSA November/December, 1989, issue of the CACTUS AND SUCCULENT JOURNAL Volume 61, No. 6.  It's an article written by Carol Wujcik.  Many of us may know both Carol and Joe . . . certainly hundreds of C&S enthusiasts know Wujcik pottery.  Try this tradition.  Fill your lungs with clean air.  Fill your eyes with Mother Nature!  I begin the quote (in italics), with permission:

"Some people go to Grandma's house for the holidays . . . some people go to the desert . .

A CACTOPHILE'S CHRISTMAS by CAROL ANNE WUJCIK

Visiting our local deserts in Southern California has become a holiday tradition for my husband and me.  A daytrip to visit spiny desert dwelling friends in their awesome homes of tumbled, sculpted boulders is soul-satisfying and fun.

Christmas in America is composed of many things - family and friends; presents; exhaustion; long, cold nights; firesides and song; garish displays; togetherness and smiles; and for some, profound religious joy.  The holiday season for me usually includes all these things, but ever since my first desert experiences at Anza Borrego Desert State Park and Joshua Tree National Monument, Christmas and often New Year's day as well means the crunch underfoot of decomposed granite, cold winds, mittens and scarves and coats, towering rocks and winter meadows of Joshua trees, fuzzy-topped Echinocactus polycephalus, sun on the golden Opuntia chlorotica, and the warm gold and ultraviolet light of a late afternoon sun on the white/lavender flocks of Opuntia erinacea ursina.  The beauty of the holidays has become the desert for me.  Christmas, especially, is Joshua Tree National Monument - a place inviting spontaneity and poetry - a place many call "sacred."

For our Christmas '88 celebration, good friends joined our annual visit to plant friends in Joshua Tree.  The weather was cold and clear.  As we drove up into the high desert, Morongo Valley on State Route 62 was a basin of winter white.  Snow and frost sparkled on Joshua trees and Opuntia.  Every leaf and branch was outlined in ice, and the several Saguaros outside the cactus nursery beside the road were bejeweled.  Even the lowly Opuntia erinacea ursina were luminous.  Thinking we would have a chance later for photos of ice or snow-covered plants, we continued out of the enchanting little basin into clear, cold sun.  Cool but no ice or snow.  Our memories will serve as a remembrance."

The article continues complete with a desert poem written by Carol that points out the paradox of the very dry desert marked with washes and dry basins that have been carved by water . . . yet none is to be seen.  She laments that it is too cold and windy for the family to put up with decorating a Joshua Tree and certainly doesn't stand still long enough to sing a modified rendition of, "Oh Joshua Tree! Oh Joshua Tree!"  They visit their favorite plants to check on their well being and say hello to new little beings that might have surfaced.  The article closes with their list of visited plants.  When I recently visited the desert, I was happy to see most of the plants listed.  Take the checklist below, and see how many you can find! 

Happy desert holidays, Susan Kent

Opuntia basilaris (Beaver tail Cactus)
  • Opuntia erinacea var. ursina (Grizzly Bear Cactus)
  • Opuntia chlorotica (Pancake Cactus with yellow-gold spines)
    Opuntia phaeacantha var. major ("Prickly pear" type???)
    Opuntia snalyyi var. parishii (Devil or Dead Cactus)
    Opuntia ramosissima (Pencil Cholla)
  • Opuntia bigelovii (Jumping Choola or Teddy Bear Cholla)
  • Opuntia echinocarpa (Silver and Golden Cholla)
    Opuntia acanthocarpa (Buckhorn Cholla)
    Ferocactus acanthodes (Fire Barrel Cactus)
    Echinocactus polycephalus (Cottontop Cactus)
    Echinocereus triglochidiatus (Mojave Mound Cactus; Claret Cup)
    Echinocereus engelmannii (Hedgehog Cactus)
    Coryphanta vivipara var alversonii (Foxtail Cactus)
    Mammillaria tetrancistra
    Dudley sp (saxosa?)
    Yucca brevifolia (Joshua Tree)
    Yucca schidigera (Mojave Yucca)
    Fouquieria splendens (Ocotillo)