June 7, 2018 General Meeting

Long time member and friend of the society Paula Jacoby-Garrett and collaborator Sharon K. Schafer will be our presenters.  The title of their presentation:

Two Deserts - One Sky

Sharing Our Passion of Deserts with Students

For the last two years, sixth-grade students from the Las Vegas area have been involved in a unique shared experience called Two Deserts – One Sky. This innovative collaboration between Shri Jasnath Asan, an ashram in northwestern India, and environmental educators in southern Nevada, U.S.A. was implemented in fall of 2016. The goal was to connect students, ages 8-12, in the Mojave Desert of southern Nevada with their peers in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan in an effort to promote global environmental education through fine art, photography, and science.

With both groups of students, Nevada artist and wildlife biologist, Sharon K. Schafer helped students experience project-based-learning on a global scale and gain an understanding of, not just the issues being faced in their community, but also of similar issues and concerns around the world. Students on both continents documented the natural history of their desert environments with photographs. The project is committed to arid land environmental education and dedicated to fostering an understanding between cultures of our shared responsibilities to our fragile planet and to one another.

Our meeting will take place Thursday at 7PM at the 

Nevada State Garden Clubs Center at Lorenzi Park, 800 Twin Lakes Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89107.  Consider  bringing along  a  friend, a  refreshment,  and a raffle  plant or two. We have recently had some great raffles including dozens of plants.  So if you like nearly free plants, please come along.

Our 2018 Calendar is mostly complete.  Check it out our Calendar.


May 3, 2018 General Meeting

Long time friend of the Society, Woody Minnich (pronounced Min-ick as Jim Peters was so kind to point out to me after I've been mispronouncing Woody's name for a decade) will be our presenter. 


His topic will be of a tutorial nature: The Secrets of Growing Quality Cacti and other Succulents.  From his notes:

How do you find out what the secrets are? They are important strategies about how to grow plants well and they can be accomplished by doing five easy things: visiting habitats, traveling from garden to garden the world over, participating in shows, accessing numerous cactus and succulents books, and most importantly, talking with the growers of these wonderful plants. It is your awesome opportunity to learn from these various experiences!

With these experiences, it doesn’t take long to learn the many different approaches on how to grow quality cacti and succulents. Like most things, years of experience help, but seeing cacti and succulents in the field (their natural habitat) gives one incredibly valuable insight. Also, visiting numerous collections and gardens around the world helps add an even greater dimension to the understanding of cultivation in various environments. Participating in cactus and succulent shows isanother great way to give one a full perspective on how to present and grow quality plants. Last, but not least, read the books! Don’t hesitate to use all of these available means to add to your information bank, and mostly, don’t be afraid to ask questions. “Why” is the biggest word in the world! Many of the factors for growing quality plants aren’t really secrets, but often, only the stories not shared or observed!

We will refer to both cacti and succulents as “succulents” because all cacti are succulent. Succulent plants are what they are for a reason! The storage of water is what gives them their succulent character and this storage is what gives them the ability to survive in often harsh habitats. The great majority of our succulent plants come from deserts or relatively arid regions. These environments are often very dry, and usually lack moisture for extended periods of time. These same habitats are usually very sunny and often reach high summer temperatures when moisture can so quickly be lost. Thus, our plants are succulent, because they must have water storage to get them through the often extended hot and or dry times.

Due to the variable environments that our succulent plants come from, there are many considerations that one must keep in mind. These factors include: 

  • At what time of the year does water generally become available and how?
  • What are the high and low temperatures and air movement from the dry to wet times?
  • What is the substrate, soils or rocks or bark, the growing medium?
  • Does the substrate contain minerals, acids, alkalinity and or nutrients?
  • What is the plant’s method of water storage, leaves, stems or roots – tubers?
  • What is the plant’s method of acquiring water - roots or foliar?
  • What is the plant’s orientation to the sun, amount of exposure, nurse plants etc.?
  • What is the plant’s ability to take or need cold temperatures?
  • What are the plant’s root-system needs, confinement or open, drainage, temperatures?
  • When does the plant grow or when is it dormant?
  • What is the elevation at which the plant naturally grows?
  • When does the plant normally flower and fruit?
  • Does the plant have any symbiotic relationships?
  • What are the plant’s enemies: insects, bacteria, fungi, animals etc.?

In a general way, we will cover all of these aspects and how they relate to you and your overall growing environment. Each one of us live in a slightly, to extremely different micro niche. It is from all of the above mentioned factors and how we apply them that will determine how successfully we grow our plants. Don’t forget, much like life itself, it is often from our mistakes that we gain our greatest learning experiences.

Wendell S. (Woody) Minnich, Woody, as he is commonly known, grew up in the Mojave Desert and has had an attraction to desert plants and animals since the early 1950’s. He has been involved with the cactus and succulent world as a grower, field explorer, club and organization leader, writer, photographer, lecturer and presenter.

Having been a speaker all over the world, Woody is most often associated with giving presentations on his field work from the places he has traveled, such as: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Socotra, South Africa, the United States and Yemen. He is also recognized for having operated the nursery Cactus Data Plants since 1975. Woody’s show quality plants were often considered one of the standards for staging and horticultural achievement. His favorite genera include: Adenium, Ariocarpus, Astrophytum, Copiapoa, Cyphostemma, Fouquieria, Gymnocalycium, Lithops, Mammillaria, Melocactus, Pachypodium, Turbinicarpus and Pachycauls in general.

He has published numerous articles in various journals and his photography is featured in many books including; “The Copiapoa” by Schulz, “The Mammillaria Handbook” by  Pilbeam, “The Cactus Lexicon” By Hunt and Charles, as well as many others. As of this last November 2017, he is featured as the primary photographer in the new book “The Xerophile.” This book specializes in what the authors call, The Obsessed Field workers from around the world.

Woody and his wife, Kathy, live in Cedar Grove, New Mexico. He is a retired secondary school teacher of 32 years where he taught Graphics, Art and Architecture. In the cactus and succulent hobby, Woody is recognized for his high energy and creative spirit. As an educator, he has become an important part of the hobby and thus is an honorary life member of ten C & S societies. With 45 years in the hobby and 64 years in the field, he has many experiences to share and numerous photos to show.

Our meeting will take place Thursday at 7PM at the Nevada State Garden Clubs Center at Lorenzi Park, 800 Twin Lakes Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89107.  Consider  bringing along  a  friend, a  refreshment,  and a raffle  plant or two. We may  have a ceramic pot  or two for the raffle.

Our 2018 Calendar is mostly complete.  Check it out our Calendar.