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I am determined that the Society will support Cactus and Succulent lovers all over the world during this difficult time and we welcome members and non-members to attend. These meetings are a showcase to what the hobby is about and we welcome absolute beginners through to the more experienced amongst us. We have a Zoom licence for 500 participants and currently have almost 300 attending so we have more space for visitors (if necessary, we could extend this to 1000 participants).

The talks are scheduled to last about an hour but I have added extra time at the end to allow for any over run and also to give you an opportunity to tell me how you would like me to move the Society forward.



The BCSS continues with the weekly online talks and this month we again have a fantastic line-up of speakers to educate and entertain us with various aspects of our wonderful hobby. I do hope that you can attend and if you have time please stay on after the talk for the usual informal chat which helps me understand what you want from the BCSS in the future. Please contact me, Ian Thwaites, by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., if you would like to offer to give future talks or are able to recommend any top-class speakers.

The meetings are open to all so please spread the word and encourage more members (and anyone else) to join in.

These talks are NOT recorded and many of the lectures are one off ‘specials’ so there will not be another chance to experience the talk.

Topic: Stefan Burger - Chilean Altiplano
Date and time: Tuesday 1 September 2020 at 7:30 pm (BST)
Meeting ID: 839 4631 2082
Passcode: bcss

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Stefan has always had an affinity for plants and first became aware of cacti when he was just a boy. In his adult years, he has travelled to exotic plant habitats in Chile, Peru, Argentina, Madagascar and the United States. Stefan has an academic background in applied sciences and now works in South America facilitating ecotourism and independently researching cacti, primarily Chilean genera.

Topic: Ask the experts with Diane Walpole, Terry Smale and John Betteley
Date and time: Tuesday 8 September 2020 at 7:30 pm (BST)
Meeting ID: 823 3962 1287
Passcode: bcss

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Diane won the succulent section of the Virtual National Show and says, “From my first cactus purchase back in the 1970s, to two large greenhouses today, I have been passionate about growing these fascinating plants. I’ve been an enthusiastic grower from seed, and interested in some of the more challenging genera and species, (with a fair bit of success and some failures), and always willing to learn.”

Terry says, "I am a retired research chemist who has been growing succulent plants for 55 years. I served as the Chair of the Mesemb Study Group and ran their seed distribution for 32 years with my wife Jennifer. More recently I was a member of the RHS Tender Ornamental Plant committee and Vice-Chair with responsibility for the Award of Garden merit till the end of last year, and have judged with and chaired judging panels at Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows. Currently I am a proof-reader and referee for BCSS periodicals and a member of the Research Committee. I have written many articles, particularly on South African bulbs and succulents and normally give about 12 talks per year. I try to propagate as many unusual South African succulents as possible. My favourite groups are conophytums, haworthias and slow-growing cacti.”

John says, “I have over 60 years in the hobby, served on the Shows Committee for 12 years, judged over 90 provincial shows and the last five National Shows. As an exhibitor I have won over 100 Ginns medals and the Banksian Medal for most points and prize money at the 2012 National. I have an enduring and active interest in the science of horticulture.”

Topic: Andreas Mordhorst - The colourful world of cactus hybrids
Date and time: Tuesday 15 September 2020 at 7:30 pm (BST)
Meeting ID: 819 5237 8096
Passcode: bcss

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The talk covers three themes related to hybrids:
• Intergeneric hybrids
• Development of a hybrid species from culture
• Quality improvement of cactus hybrids over recent years

Andreas says, "I got my first cactus at about the age of 10 or 11 and within a short time all the windowsills of my parents’ apartment were covered with cacti. Already as a teenager the first cacti were crossed, when Mendel's rules of inheritance were studied in school. For the last 20 years I have been breeding cacti. Additionally, I try to interpret experiments and observations in culture biologically. As a biologist I have performed scientific experiments for about 15 years and have been active for another 15 years in many other functions; both of them more or less directly related to plant breeding.”

Topic: Thomas Guerry - Argentina, homeland of Tephrocactus
Date and time: Tuesday 22 September 2020 at 7:30 pm BST
Meeting ID: 857 3767 6207
Passcode: bcss

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Thomas says, “All Tephrocactus species grow in Argentina, and the plants of the genus are very variable, much more than for some other small Opuntioid genera. In north-west Argentina, one can come across many different forms and colours, regarding the segments, the spines and the flowers, which make this genus very attractive for lovers of small opuntias. I am a 28 years old French process engineer, and have been growing cacti for over 15 years. I have a strong interest in South American cacti, especially the small opuntias, and I have made several trips to Argentina and Chile in order to see these plants in the nature.”

Topic: Derek Tribble - What's new with Cotyledon and Tylecodon
Date and time: Tuesday 29 September 2020 at 7:30 pm (BST)
Meeting ID: 830 8589 8106
Passcode: bcss

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Derek says, "I have retired from the computer software industry and have been a BCSS member for over 50 years. Currently living in Highgate, London I am the long-standing chair of Harrow Branch. I have judged at cactus shows and have given over 600 presentations to specialist C&S societies and conventions in several countries. My passion now is growing and studying South African leaf succulents, after 16 visits to observe these plants in nature. My main interests are Adromischus, Cotyledon and Tylecodon, which are all members of the succulent Crassulaceae family. I maintain a private reference collection of these genera, as well as a comprehensive web site entitled 'Adromischus Displayed'. Tylecodon is a very diverse genus of about 50 species and T. tribblei was one of my discoveries. A continuous trickle of new discoveries continues from the veld, so the Zoom presentation will explore what is new and how to grow them well.”

IMPORTANT: You must either enter the unique Meeting ID or follow the link above

We now have a link for the Zoom talks on the BCSS website, so why not click on this and save that web page to your favourites/bookmarks so that you can see what the talks are even if you accidentally delete this eNews: https://tinyurl.com/CWLOnlineTalks



Ian Thwaites