What a wonderfully mild month we have had. The plants are really loving it. Some of the Mammillaria are already in flower and lots of the others are in bud. I am particularly pleased to see buds on Mammillaria luethyi, it is a tiny plant, about the size of the tip of my little finger and I had not expected to see it flower for years yet. Gasterias and Aloes are budding up well and the Echinocereus plants which spent the winter in a cold greenhouse for the first time, have more buds on them than I have ever seen before.
The Lithops are very advanced for the time of year as well. Most are well on their way to shedding their old leaves, some have even completed the shedding and have had their first light watering. I love Lithops at any time of the year but the best time of all is when the fresh new bodies emerge and the colours are so strong and vibrant. I had some trouble with my Lithops seeds this year. The heating element in my old propagator had packed up and I bought a new propagator which didnít have a temperature control. I couldnít understand why the seeds were not growing until I read my books and was reminded that they do not germinate if they are too hot. I took them out of the propagator and put them on a cool windowsill indoors and most have since germinated well.
I have had few losses amongst my plants over the winter but as usually happens, if one plant is going to die it is never the one that you donít care about. I lost two large plants of Adenium obesum this winter. They had overwintered in my conservatory before but this winter they seemed to decide that it was too cold for them and with the spring they just gave up the ghost. I thought I had also lost a Pachypodium densiflorum, it bent right down in the middle and the leaves at the top of the plant were touching the pot. Bob reminded me that if it had leaves it was in growth and needed water. Lo and behold, within a day of watering it was standing upright again and looking fine.
May the 14th, Maurice has arranged for us to have a stall at a charity plant sale in The Shambles, Devizes. This is to raise funds for the Branch. Any well rooted plants would be welcome Ė they can be cacti, succulents or any othergarden or house plants. These may be donated or may be sold on commission with 20% of the takings going to the Branch. Please bring any plants for this sale to the May meeting. Those to be sold on commission should have, in addition to the name label, a further label with the sale price on it and your name as well. When the plants are sold,the price labels will be removed and will be used to calculate how much money is due to you. If you have a lot of sales plants please speak to Maurice or myself today so that we can have some idea how many plants we will have to sell.
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