Episode 111: Cactusworld Live
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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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.