Joyce's Diary -
Most of my plants have now started their winter rest. I had a surprise flowering of Mammillaria maritima a couple of weeks ago. It had produced three of its bright red flowers early in the year, so I was surprised to see it budding up and producing a whole cluster of flowers in the middle of October. It was probably because of the very sunny summer. It will be interesting to see what it does next year. Mammillaria plumosa is coming into flower early this year as well. My plumosas never produce a lot of flowers at the same time but instead produce a few at a time over two or three months.
Lithops have nearly finished their flowering. As a special treat I had one plant (Lithops karasmontana) which produced not a white or a yellow flower, but a pink one. Other plants from the same batch of seedlings produced white flowers so I shall be watching out for the pink one again next year. Other Mesembs are still flowering away. Some of the Glottiphyllum have highly perfumed, large yellow flowers. I grew some of these on a rockery outside for the summer and despite the frost, they are still flowering away. Pleospilos compactum have large yellow flowers, above two inches across, and Lapidaria are producing their yellow flowers for the first time. Titanopsis are in bud, as are Aloinopsis but they will not be in flower for a few weeks yet. It is good to have these late flowering plants to shorten the flowerless winter.
I keep a record of all my plants with information on when and where I got them. One of my winter jobs is doing a stock-take. I have already started this, and have discovered that I have over 700 lithops! The trouble is that it is necessary to grow each batch of seedlings for a couple of years to see the variety of markings on the plant bodies and to decide which to keep. Some batches can produce as many of 40 seedlings. As you can imagine, there are a lot that I would be very happy to find good homes for. If you are interested give me a ring and come around to see them sometime.
If any new members are thinking of joining the British Cactus and Succulent Society, now is a very good time to do it. If you join now for 2004 you get a free copy of the December 2003 journal. The December journal is a particularly good one to get as it contains the seed list. If you have not grown cacti from seed before, now is your chance. The list will include many rare and unusual plants as well as the more common ones. Seeds from the Society are very reasonably priced so if you do have a disaster you are not greatly out of pocket and if you are very successful you will have good young plants to exchange or sell. If you want any more information, speak to Mary or to me.
Back to Diary Index