"A Summer Succulent Sabbatical to South Africa and Namibia"
Presented by Ernesto Sandoval from the University of California, Davis
Ernesto Sandoval is a plant person. No, he doesn't sprout buds or need occasional watering, but he does kind of like the bone-warming heat of a greenhouse. For Sandoval, Director of the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, raising and rearing flora and foliage is a deeply meaningful way of life. Simply, his passion is his profession.
"Plant people are nice people," says Sandoval. "There's something about working in a garden and nurturing plants and flowers that makes one more peaceful and calm."
The greening of Sandoval's life started early on. He grew up in the Los Angeles area and from the age of 10 worked for his dad's landscaping business and aptly-described as the "Mo', Blow and Go" style. From cutting countless lawns to cultivating saplings and shrubs in the yards of the San Fernando Valley, Sandoval earned both a pair of green-stained shoes and a practical botanical education. More formally, Sandoval obtained his bachelor's degree in botany from UC Davis in 1996.
I spent the first two months of 2008, January and February, in South Africa and spent most of my days in the field visiting Nature Reserves within the fynbos vegetation of the Cape Floristic Region where over 8,700 species of plants are to be found on 6% of South Africa's land area! The name fynbos is Afrikaans for fine bush and refers to the fine, needle-like leaves of many fynbos species. One 15km sq reserve has 1,600 species of plants!! Of course there will be more than just a few succulents that I discuss and I'll share some highlights from short trips to Namibia including Welwitschia and tree aloes.
Please join us for this very special presentation with Ernesto's excellent photography, lots of fun and some great stories!
FREE PLANT GIVEWAY
The giveaway this month is 'Black Ruby', a clone of Adenium obesum selected in Florida. A. obesum is one of several species of the genus which occur in scattered locations from the Arabian peninsula and the island of Socotra down to southern Africa. All of the species contain attractive brightly colored flowers, and have interesting succulent stems. Inter-specific crossing is resulting in many spectacular new clones every year. Much of the impetus for variety development resulted from the ideas and clones developed by our club member Mark Dimmitt. Examples of some of his crosses and much more information is available at http://adenium.tucsoncactus.org/. Adeniums are cold-sensitive, so are best kept in containers to allow moving to a warm spot in the winter. A care-sheet for Adeniums is available in the publications section of the club's website. The Adeniums are being donated by Dave Palzkill.