The Cactus Patch
Volume 14       June 2011      Number 06

Easter & the CSSA
A Letter From Bruce
by Bruce Hargreaves

It has been hectic lately. Yes, we survived the Convention in San Diego. Then I went to China Lake to see Petroglyphs. Then we went to LA and picked up Isaac Lusunzi from Australia. Next we went with him to Sacramento and Greenville. Finally we spent another week with Isaac back in Bakersfield. This is too much for one newsletter, so I will spread it out over a few months.

First, on Friday 22nd April we paid $4.03 for gas-the first (but not last) time over $4. What a beginning for our marathon of travel! On Saturday we watched “The Exodus Decoded” on National Geographic TV; -- a fascinating theory relating all the plagues to the eruption of the volcano at Santorini in the Mediterranean. (And Plato’s report on the sinking of Atlantis has also been so related!)

That evening we went to Russo’s Books for poetry and prose readings as it was poetry month. My brother Robert read some short stories we had read previously. Hopefully they will be published soon. Among the other presenters was Camille Gavin who told us about I to Eye. (She was born on I/Eye St. and later worked for the Californian on the same street.) Her book will be out soon.

Next morning we set off for La Mirada where nephew Leo lives. We had Easter dinner with four generations. Afterward Lora took Mother back to Bakersfield while Anne, Polly and I continued on to San Diego for the American Cactus and Succulent Convention. We arrived in time to register, get a free hybrid aloe and attend the opening reception. The reception was not exciting – they ran out of chicken before I had any! There was a raffle for early plant purchase, but we didn’t stick around for it.

On the 25th we showed up in time for the opening, but it was rather perfunctory. Dr. Rudi Dorsch of Huston, Texas, started the talks with an exciting presentation on the origin of epiphytic cacti. It was good to learn what they looked like before all the hybridizing began.

Next we heard about Agaves from Julia Etter & Martin Kristen now living in Mexico. The pictures were excellent, but a few names would have helped.

Dr. Matthew Opel of Connecticut spoke next and explained all the family changes which have occurred in succulents. No one complained until he suggested that, logically, the Cacti should be included in the Portulacas! (He then presented an alternative rearrangement, but I thought his first suggestion was good.)

During break time there was an exhibit of various tequilas and we had an opportunity to look at specimen plants and buy books, plants and pots. After lunch our friend Guillermo Rivera spoke on NW Argentina. It was the usual excellent travelogue which he has presented to our Bakersfield club. Jackie Poole lulled us with a presentation of all the cacti, etc. in Texas, but Marlon Machado woke us up with a visit to the south of Brazil. Even though Woody had shown our club the same area, Marlon managed to add to what we knew.

We met Gideon Smith from South Africa and had dinner with him. I bought a copy of his new book on aloes and had him sign it. After dinner we heard Dr. John Rebman speak on Dr. Reid Moran and his exploration of the island of Guadaloupe in Baja. I was interested to hear that the plants on the island were more related to the Channel Islands in Alta California than to Baja California.

Everyone at the dinner was presented with a young boojum.

I think that’s enough for now. As promised, I will write more later.

Easter Dinner

Opening reception -Anne, Polly & Paul Mitchell of Fresno

Opening Banquet-Prof. Smith (right) Estiela Figuerado & Martin Dent (left)

Tequila demonstration during a break

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