Wednesday, December 14, 2005


A fine red form of Schlumbergera, the Christmas cactus, in Ontario.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


This Echinocereus triglochidiatus has spent it's winters outdoors in southern Ontario for several years.

Winter has made a predictable appearance in Ontario already with temps in Hamilton making a temporary plunge to -12C. The next few months here will be a test on collectors ability to provide adequate conditions for their plants.

For some collectors the challenge is to find species that will survive our outdoors conditions unprotected through the winter. Some amazing successes have already been achieved in this respect and experimentation with new species continues.

A year round planting of Opuntia species in Hamilton, Ontario.

Monday, October 31, 2005


Pediocactus Peebleesianus in an OCSS collection.

Something very fundamental seems to have changed in OCSS cactus collections over the past couple of years. It is the appearance suddenly of all of the rarest and most difficult to grow species in several OCSS collections. It is directly the result of Paul Davydov's innovative experimentation with MME's. Even more exciting is the fact that there are signs that this is just the beginning!

Echinomastus warnockii in an OCSS collection.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Mammillaria guelzowiana in bloom in an OCSS member collection in 2005.

Unfortunately summer is quickly coming to a close here. In Ontario the summer of 2005 proved to be the exceptionally warm and sunny kind that cactus and succulent growers here always wish for. Great for phenomenal new growth and an explosion of flowers on cacti and succulents. Even species which rarely can be induced into bloom like Cochemia's were seen to flower outdoors without greenhouses this past summer.

Increasingly cooler weather here in Ontario will now make a dangerous period for the more tropical species and growers will have to keep a close eye on temperatures in order to avoid damage to less cold tolerant species. By the last half of October the first killing frosts can be expected and the first snow by the first half of November would be normal.

Cochemia poselgeri producing flowers outdoors in Ontario in 2005.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The CNE Cactus Show!

Mammillaria leuthyi. One of the outstanding competitive entries in past OCSS shows.

The annual CNE cactus and succulent show and competition will be at the CNE again this year August 18, 19, and 20 in the Heritage Court of the CNE’s new National Trade Centre. Participants in the competition should note that there is an error in the CNE’s competition guide booklet this year. The cactus show is to be staged on the morning of August 18th not August 19th as indicated in the CNE booklet. The error was confirmed to the OCSS by CNE official Paula Ellis. If you are participating in the competition please take note of this change and don’t show up with your entries one day late because of the CNE typo!

The competition is open to anyone, you don’t have to be a member of any horticultural club or society. Last year OCSS members dominated the cactus and succulent show entries and walked away with the majority of the prize money. Prizes for individual plants include $10 for firsts in any class, $9 for 2nds, $8 for 3rds, and $5 for honorable mentions. Prizes for collection categories of several plants award $12 for 1sts, $10 for 2nds, $8 for 3rds, and $4 for honorable mentions. For each of three sections a special $10 award is also given for best entry in the section. Staging of entries for competitor’s is to commence at 6:45 AM Aug. 18th to be completed by 10 AM. All entries must be removed after 10PM on August 20th. There is a $1 entry fee for each entry but entrants are not only eligible to win monetary prizes for their entries but they also get free passes for parking and CNE grounds for the days of the show. CNE rules and regulations can be viewed online at

For those who just wish to see and not compete the show is worth looking for. Many of the best cactus and succulent plants from private collections across the province will be there.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Pelee Island Cactus!
Opuntia humifusa on Pelee Island June 30, 2005. Photo by Paul Davydov
When the Ontario Cactus and Succulent Society(OCSS) was first created the founders chose a stylized image of Opuntia humifusa as it's logo.It seemed an appropriate choice since Opuntia humifusa is the best known native cactus species of Ontario. The OCSS also officially made it a priority of the society to study and disseminate information about the cacti native to Canada.

According to the most significant literature available dealing exclusively with the subject of Canadian cacti, colonies of Opuntia humifusa were wiped out on Pelee Island some years ago as the result of a natural disaster. Members of the Ontario Society were however skeptical that the entire humifusa population could have been completely wiped out and speculated that in fact something of the original population probably still survived on Pelee Island. In order to ascertain the true status of the cactus on the island 3 members of the OCSS, Ian Rabenda, Paul Davydov, and Oleg Solo went on an excursion to Pelee Island on this past June 30th, 2005.

After considerable effort a small wild population of the cactus was found on Pelee Island. The OCSS members braved rain, mosquitoes, biting flies, and an explosion of Mayflies but had a great time nevertheless. Inquiries with the local islanders revealed that in fact many residents were well aware that a remnant population of the cactus still existed on the island and it is clear that professional scientific monitoring of the plants is ongoing. Hopefully these remnants will form the basis of a recovering population of this endangered Canadian cactus.

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