Oxford Branch

British Cactus and Succulent Society

Steve Williams

I started growing cacti with a few plants from a local gardening shop near my parents in Bournemouth in the late 1960s around the age of 12. These survived on a bedroom windowsill for number of years. At this time I was given a copy of second-hand copy of Roan's 'Cacti and other Succulent Plants' by a colleague of my father and was bought Edgar and Brian Lamb's 'Pocket Encyclopaedia of Cacti in Colour'. Although the plants have long gone, the two books survived. I started growing a few cacti on a windowsill again when I moved to Oxfordshire in the early 1980s. My interest was then rekindled by a visit to Hollygate Nursery and by a Cactus Show in Cambridge. A few more plants followed and, as the windowsills filled up, I joined the BCSS. After a year or so attending branch meetings in Swindon and Oxford, I found myself co-opted onto the committee for Oxford Branch. Since then I have been Branch Treasurer and am currently Branch Chairman.

I seem to be tending to grow more succulents, especially haworthias and adromischus, than cacti as time passes. Some might say this is because they are easier to repot but, as I am a negligent repotter, there must be more to it than that. Everything is squeezed into a 6' 8' greenhouse which I heat during the winter with an electric fan heater. I also try to grow a few things from seed each year, although I have yet to achieve the success rates of other members of the branch.