In this post I showed you vendor area at the 2015 Sacramento Cactus & Succulent Society Show & Sale. For the public, this is typically what they’re interested in the most. For many members, however, the judged show is the main focus. This where they get to exhibit their beloved babies and, with a bit of luck, receive an award.
The SCSS show is open to all members. There is no entry fee and you can enter as many plants as you like. There are two main divisions—“Cacti” and “Other succulents”—and within each division there are 27 classes (either groups of related genera or more general categories such as “Crest, monstrose, variegates” or “Miniatures”). A third division is dedicated to planters, dish gardens, bonsai and the like. Exhibitors fall in three categories: Advanced (anyone with 5+ years of experience showing plants), Open (professional growers) and Novice/Junior (less than 5 years of experience showing plants or 16 or younger).
Photo courtesy of Fiona Ellis
Folks brought in their show plants on Friday, and bright and early on Saturday morning two groups of judges (one group for cacti, one for other succulents) inspected all the entries and judged them on five criteria: condition; staging/presentation; size and degree of maturity; nomenclature; and rarity. Ribbons for first, second, third place, and honorable mentions were given in each class. Rosettes were given for a variety of higher-level categories such as Best Cactus (Advanced, Open, Novice, Junior), Best Succulent (Advanced, Open, Novice, Junior), Best Ferocactus, Best Mammillaria, Best Agave, Best Aloe, etc. etc. Rosette winners were moved to the stage and also received a pot made by SCSS president Keith Taylor, a very accomplished potter.
Now that you know a little more about how the show works, let’s take a look at the plants. I didn’t take as many photos as in years past but you’ll still get a good idea of the caliber of plants in the show.
Agave marmorata f. brachyphylla
Agave xylonacantha ‘Frostbite’. Exhibitor: Marylinn Vila
Sansevieria pincuicula. Exhibitor: Alex Rigg
Epithelantha micromeris f. cristata. Exhibitor: Penny Newell
Boophone disticha. Exhibitor: Keith Taylor
Euphorbia obesa. Exhibitor: Nick Wilkinson
Dioscorea elephantipes. Best Succulent Open.d
Sulcorebutia bicolor. Best Rebutia. Exhibitor: Bill Munkacsy
Agave albopilosa. Best Agave. Exhibitor: Nick Wilkinson
Haworthia truncata. Best Haworthia. Exhibitor: Peter Beiersdorfer
Fockea edulis. Best Succulent Advanced. Exhibitor: Keith Taylor
Pachypodium brevicaule. Best of Show. Exhibitor: Mark Muradian
Unfortunately, the lighting was fluorescent, which produces a sickly color cast. I tried to balance it as much as I could in Photoshop but the photos still don’t look as natural as they would outdoors. My apologies.
I must admit I forgot to photograph my own plants. Please check out this post to see what I entered. I won first place ribbons in all classes I entered, plus a second place ribbon in the “Agave” class where I had two entries. My Dyckia marnier-lapostollei narrowly missed getting Best Succulent—Novice; what did me in was the pink nursery label I had failed to remove from the pot. Yes, details matter. Next year I’ll be sure to follow the instructions to the letter. Isn’t that what we always tell our children? Time to listen to our own advice!