Episode 111: Cactusworld Live

Cactus heaven at the World Garden at Lullingstone Castle, host to Cactusworld Live. Photograph: Jane Perrone.

Cactus heaven at the World Garden at Lullingstone Castle, host to Cactusworld Live. Photograph: Jane Perrone.

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I jumped at the chance to present a live episode of On The Ledge at the inaugural Cactusworld Live event organised by the British Cactus and Succulent Society (BCSS), with two cactus-loving guests, BCSS patrons Tom Hart Dyke and Anne Swithinbank.

Succulents on sale at Cactusworld Live. Photograph: Jane Perrone.

The event was held at Lullingstone Castle in Kent in the UK, Tom’s home and the site of the wonderful garden he designed. It was wonderful to see so many families, children and newcomers to cacti turning up to buy plants and learn about them.

If you’re interested in cacti and succulents, do check out the BCSS’s Instagram account and Facebook group and consider supporting this wonderful plant society by becoming a member.

A quick warning: that the show was recorded in a really noisy marquee outside: my sound person Lisa Hack and I did as much as we could to minimise the background sound, but at times it’s a bit loud, so I apologise if this is a tricky listen, but I hope you’ll bear with it, as Tom and Anne have some interesting things to say!

Anne Swithinbank, Jane Perrone and Tom Hart Dyke in discussion at Cactusworld Live. Photograph: Lisa Hack.

Anne Swithinbank, Jane Perrone and Tom Hart Dyke in discussion at Cactusworld Live. Photograph: Lisa Hack.

This week’s guests

Anne Swithinbank is one of Britain's best known horticulturists, gardening broadcasters and writers. She is a member of the Gardeners' Question Time panel for BBC Radio Four, has worked in the famous glasshouse at RHS Wisley, in Surrey, and has written many books, including The Greenhouse Gardener and The Conservatory Gardener

Tom Hart Dyke is a horticulturist, author and plant hunter whose family seat is at Lullingstone Castle. You may remember Tom’s unfortunate brush with fame back at the start of this century, when he was kidnapped in the Colombian jungle on a plant hunting expedition that went dangerously wrong. Tom and his fellow trekker Paul were kidnapped and held for nine months. During that time, in the depths of despair, Tom kept faith, despite facing possible execution, by designing what is now the World Garden of Plants.

Business was brisk at the plant stalls! Canny collectors brought along their own trug or plastic tray to place their purchases in! Photograph: Jane Perrone.

Business was brisk at the plant stalls! Canny collectors brought along their own trug or plastic tray to place their purchases in! Photograph: Jane Perrone.

Want to try some tongue-twister cactus names? Here are some to wrestle with!

Coleocephalocereus buxbaumianus

Echinofossulocactus coptonogonus

Tylecodon walichii

Weberbauerocereus horridispinus

Want to know why botanical Latin is important? Check out this episode!


Ceropegia seed pods. Photograph:  Forest and Kim Starr  on  Flickr .

Ceropegia seed pods. Photograph: Forest and Kim Starr on Flickr.

Question of the week

Sarah wants to know whether she can sow the seeds from her string of hearts, aka Ceropegia linearis subsp. woodii.

These seed pods look amazing (although between you and me, they can’t help but remind me of someone sticking two fingers up in a rude gesture), but it’s worth sticking a bag over each one, as the seeds will pop out when the seed pod bursts open, and as they have ‘parachutes’ attached they may float.

I advise sowing these fresh on some moist seed growing medium, covered over with a thin layer of damp vermiculite or sand. Keep in a warm, sunny spot and wait for germination.

Sowing this plant from seed isn’t tremendously common, though as it’s very easy to propagate from the teeny tubers that grow in the stems (hence the name rosary vine), or by rooting sections of stem.

Want to ask me a question? Tweet @janeperrone, leave a message on my Facebook page or email ontheledgepodcast@gmail.com.


THIS WEEK’S SPONSOR: THE iHARVESTᵀᴹ GARDEN

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CREDITS

This week's show featured the tracks Roll Jordan Roll by the Joy Drops and Water in the Creek by Josh Woodward. This week’s ad music track is  Dill Pickles by the Heftone Banjo Orchestra. All tracks licensed under Creative Commons. Sound engineering by Lisa Hack. Logo design by Jacqueline Colley.