Home & Garden: Learn about cactus & succulent plants | PostIndependent.com

Home & Garden: Learn about cactus & succulent plants

Brittany Markert
bmarkert@gjfreepress.com
The Chinle Cactus and Succulent Society planted a garden at Western Colorado Botanical Gardens. The group helps locals learn about how to xeriscape and how to care for cactus and succulents.
Janet Hassell |

GO&DO

WHAT: Chinle Cactus & Succulent Society Monthly meeting

WHEN: Thursday, April 9, 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Western Colorado Botanical Gardens (641 Struthers Ave., Grand Junction)

COST: Free

INFO: www.chinlecactusclub.org

Maryann Benoit of Grand Junction never considered herself blessed with a green thumb. After discovering cactuses and succulents — which are typically low-maintenance plants — nearly a decade ago, her outlook on gardening improved.

“I was able to grow them and they didn’t die on me,” she said with a laugh. “It made me feel good to be successful.”

Now Benoit is president of Chinle Cactus and Succulent Society, a 60-member club based out of Grand Junction that she describes as “a learning club.”

The gardening club started 15 years ago thanks to Don Campbell, a Grand Junction resident. The group holds monthly meetings to discuss growth, care and factual information about succulents. They also maintain gardens at Western Colorado Botanical Gardens and Mesa County Fairgrounds.

Membership costs $20 per person or $25 per family for a year. The money goes towards maintaining the gardens, special presenters, and more.

“We want to help our members understand cacti and succulents better,” Campbell said. “We cover every aspect — from conservation to growing indoor and outdoors.”

While most members are from an older demographic (50 and above), group members hope to have a younger crowd join and learn about succulents.

“We would be very happy to have people referred to us to help with their lawns,” Benoit added.

GARDENING TIPS

Before you stick your hand into a cactus, take note of these hobbyist tips:

According to Benoit, cactus plants are technically succulents; they just have spines. Succulents store water within themselves, just like a camel.

“You don’t have to watch it too much, which is good,” Benoit explained.

Whether a cactus is being cultivated as an indoor or outdoor plant, one must also invest in the correct tools, like long tweezers or tongs to grab cuttings for replanting.

“You may end up with a lot of spines in fingers,” Benoit said. “One of our programs we offer helps learn which tools are best for different situations.”

Members of the Chinle Cactus and Succulent Society encourage folks to contact the group to learn more about how to xeriscape or grow succulents.

“We try to respond and share information with the general community as much as we can,” Campbell said.

For more information, visit http://www.chinlecactusclub.org.


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