Joyce's Diary -
Maurice, Valerie, Bob and myself exhibited at the Oxford Branch Show in Witney on Sunday the 20th of July. This is usually one of the best shows in the country. I felt very proud of our Branch, we came home with quite a collection of prize cards. The next show will be ours in the Neeld Hall Chippenham on August 9th. I hope you are getting your plants ready. I know that some of you have not been growing cacti and succulents for long enough to have plants mature enough to show but I hope you will come along and see the show anyway. We would welcome some help on the day with helping exhibitors to unload, serving tea, selling tickets at the door, or selling plants at the Branch Sales Table. If you have plants that you wish to sell bring them along between 9 and 10.30 am. They should be clearly labelled and should have a second label showing the price and your name so that money can be allocated after the event. 10% of the sale price will be deducted for Branch Funds. Alan Phipps and Rene Geissler will also be selling plants on the day and Malcolm Pym will be selling pots.
I wonder how many of you had plants scorched during this recent hot weather. Despite fans and open doors and windows and damping down of the greenhouse floor, a few of my plants were scorched or showing signs of distress. Some of the lithops were so hot that I could hardly touch them. I have now fitted some green net shading to see them safely through the next heat wave. Even with the shading the temperature in the greenhouse was 110 today.
I usually grow most of my gasteria and aloes in full sun but gasteria in particular were looking quite stressed so I have had to put them under the staging. Once shaded, they quickly plumped up, but they also lost the nice pink colouration from the sun.
Bill Morris, one of our speakers earlier in the year told me that he grows mesembs out of doors in a rockery in the summer, digs them up in the autumn and overwinters them dry and frost free. I tried this as I had quite a few spare mesembs. I made sure that there was plenty of drainage around the plants. Initially the slugs were delighted and I wondered if there would be any plants left but they quickly recovered and were none the worse for their experience. The plants outside have put on more than twice as much growth as those indoors. Glottiphyllum in particular have developed thick chunky leaves and Trichodiadema is an absolute mass of flowers, it will be interesting to see what kind of a root system they have when the times comes to dig them up.
See all of you at the show on Saturday!
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