Give some, get some
Last Monday the Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society had their Country Store event. This is an annual fundraiser where members donate plants, pots, accessories, even fruit, jam and baked goods. These are then raffled off in a high-energy, loud and fun event. Raffle tickets are only 50 cents, and with the hundreds of items available, your chances of winning something are very good.
Even yours truly, who usually doesn’t have much luck in these sorts of things, scored big. I brought in a few plants and came home with even more than I had donated:
Plants were grouped in several categories—cacti, succulents, houseplants, etc.—and you put as many raffle tickets as you wanted in the coffee can for the category you were interested in. Helpers then drew tickets from those coffee cans and the lucky winner had her or his pick from the items that were available in that category.
Most of the succulents I picked weren’t labeled, probably because the donors weren’t sure either, but I got a wonderful coral × soap aloe hybrid (Aloe striata × maculata) with white teeth (the plant on the top left in the photo above). I also got an Aechmea recurvata ‘Big Mama’, a terrestrial and/or epiphytic bromeliad (aka pineapple relative) that produces a color flower spike in the spring. Bromeliads are mostly uncharted territory for me, but it never hurts to try something new.
If you have a plant society or club in your area, you should considering hooking up with them. I didn’t join the Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society until last year and I missed out on a lot of fun activities over the years.
Gardening is about sharing, and a club allows you to give and receive not only valuable advice but also neat plants.