As a child growing up in South Louisiana, I was very fortunate to have taken a long car trip every summer with my grandmother and mother: one year east, the other west. I loved it all but my heart deeply resonated with the American Southwest. I have been to the Grand Canyon more than 30 times and have always been transfixed by cactus. It was years before I realized that the American Southwest was just a tiny sliver of the amazing ecosystem that is so much of Mexico. My passion, and the passion of other like-minded expats in SMA, led to the founding of The San Miguel Cactus and Succulent Society.
Something like 70-to-80 percent of all succulents are native to Mexico and new varieties are discovered regularly. Many new expats are amazed by what they see and, of course, they find there is so much new to learn if they plan to garden here.
The San Miguel Cactus and Succulent Society was formed by several of us who love the plants and wanted to make trips to various nurseries and research centers. Our membership is now closing in on 100, but all lovers of cacti and succulents are welcome to join. We even have a Facebook page!
Our first field trip was this week. We made a short but somewhat mysterious visit to a nursery in a small valley accessed by a former railroad tunnel. The nursery was filled with amazing and rare plants, often in sizes bigger than I have ever seen.
We will also visit a tree that started its life just about the time Michelangelo was finishing the Sistine Chapel. We made a test visit earlier, which was a delight. We were able to meet the owner and I was able to find a VERY rare cactus seldom sold. It was one I had wanted for a very long time. It takes 20-to-40 years to flower, so my purchase was also an act of great hope.
A number of other society trips will take place over the next year. At one of them, we will see plants that take about 350 years to flower!
At my age of 64, succulents are much like life to me. I’m glad that I can now devote a big chunk of my life to them through The San Miguel Cactus and Succulent Society. If you are interested and would like to join our society, visit our Facebook page and sign-up.