The public is welcome to attend our Meetings, Silent Plant Auctions, and the Annual Show and Sale.

All meetings include:

  • A brief business meeting;
  • Club news
  • Q & A on how to grow plants
  • Announcements of upcoming meetings and events
  • A monthly program
  • and, a Silent Plant Auction!

Members frequently bring in cuttings to share on the free plant table.

We meet at 2:00 pm the last Sunday of most months at the Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, Arizona. The general meeting begins at 2 pm but you can come early to socialize and peruse the Silent Auction plants. Here is a map of the Garden.

Our Board meets monthly to discuss CACSS business; all members are welcome to attend Board meetings.
Meetings and the Annual April Show & Sale and the October Mega Silent and Live Auction are usually in Dorrance Hall. October

Refer to our Web site or contact us for last-minute changes.

Calendar 2018


January 28, 2018

2:00 pm – 4 :00pm

Dorrance Hall

Jeff Moore: Soft Succulents

The topic will be soft succulents highlighting genera of Aeoniums, Echeverias (and some of their relatives and intergeneric crosses), Dudleyas, Crassulas, Sedums, Senecios, Kalanchoes, Mesembs and a few others. Although some habitat images are included, the plants shown have been photographed in cultivation. This is a highly visual program and will include tips on growing these plants.

Jeff Moore has operated Solana Succulents located in Solano Beach, California for 24 years and has been involved with succulents for over 34 years. He says he is pretty much a generalist, as he likes them all. If he has a specialty, it is in aloes and he particularly likes crests, variegates and caudiciforms. He is also known for creating “undersea the sea” theme inspired landscapes. He has installed a permanent undersea garden in the San Diego Botanic Garden.

Jeff has written three books, all of which will be for sale at our meeting. They are Under the Spell of Succulents: A Sampler of Diversity in Cultivation, Aloes and Agaves in Cultivation, and his latest is Soft Succulents.

February 25, 2018

 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

 Dorrance Hall

Irwin Lightfoot: Photographing the Plants You Love

Whether it’s by smartphone, state of the art digital camera, or anything in between, we all take pictures of the plants we love.  Without getting bogged down in technical detail, Irwin presents a few simple steps to help you take your photography to the next level.  Join us for an afternoon of cactus and succulent photography.  You may never look at your plants the same way again.

After 29 years practicing trial law, Irwin Lightstone closed his law firm to concentrate on his photography. Irwin is president of the North Texas Cactus and Succulent Society, past president of the Texas Association of Cactus and Succulent Societies, and a vice president of the Fort Worth cactus and Succulent Society. He has given photography seminars throughout the country. Additionally, he led programs sponsored by the Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas Arboretum, the International Photography Hall of Fame, The Huntington, and the Cactus and Succulent Society of America. Irwin’s photography has won numerous awards and is often featured in the Cactus and Succulent Journal. He published Succulent Abstracts and Absurdities in Black and White. Presently, he is working with Steven Hammer on the new mesemb book.

Irwin lives in Dallas with his wife (Robin), one cat, two cars and several thousand plants.

March 25, 2018

11:00 pm – 12:30 pm

 Farrington Conference Room

CACSS Board Meeting
March 25, 2018

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Dorrance Hall

Doug Dawson: Lithops

Doug began his passion for Lithops in the 1990’s. Previous to then, he would occasionally buy one and shortly thereafter kill the poor thing. During the last 20 years he has grown most of his lithops from seed in the extremely harsh desert climate of Phoenix.

The four summer months have regular temperatures at night around 90 degree and days around 110 degrees. Doug will discuss what it takes to keep these colorful “living stones” alive.

The presentation will include many photos of what the plants look like in habitat in Namibia and South Africa. Then photos of plants in Doug’s collection will be shown, with many colorful cultivars as well as many of the species and varieties.

For those of you who are not yet open to including lithops in your collection, it is hoped that you will be convinced to give them a try.

Doug Dawson’s Biography

Doug is a retired math professor and does extensive botanical travels to areas of the world where succulents grow; include Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Yemen, Socotra, Africa, and his own state of Arizona. He has organized 15 botanical exploratory trips to South Africa and Namibia, camping on local farms and public areas for three weeks and exploring the surrounding mountains and hills by day. His next trip to South Africa will be May 17, 2018.

Doug has a passionate interest for growing cacti and succulents from seed. Other interests are photography and Power Points with succulent content. He has delivered many workshops and speaking engagements in Arizona and other states. He is a retired math professor.

With a background in German and French, Afrikaans has become a much more useful language for him nowadays in rural South African and Namibian areas.

Doug’s private plant collection emphasizes seedlings, Lithops, other Mesembs, Northern Cape Crassulas, and Arizona natives. He is a member of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America and the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society. Since 1989, Doug has been an active member of the Central Arizona Cactus and Succulent Society.

April 4 & 5, 2018

 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Dorrance Hall &

Boppart Courtyard

Annual Show and Sale Set-up

Plants are placed on April 4 and judging occurs on April 5

April 6, 7 and 8, 2018

Dorrance Hall and Boppart Courtyard


Annual Show and Sale

Friday and Saturday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

May 20, 2018

 11:00 pm – 12:30 pm

 Farrington Conference Room

CACSS Board Meeting
May 20, 2018

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Dorrance Hall

Woody Minnich:  The Bolivian Highlands

Bolivia, in the western regions of South America, is south of Peru and north of Argentina-Chile and west of Brazil. Being squeezed by past wars with its neighbors, Bolivia is now a small country with no direct connection to the Pacific Ocean. It is mostly made-up of high Andean mountain environments often divided by deep river gorge valleys. From sea level to altitudes in excess of 24,000 feet, it is well known for its Inca ancestry, high altitude terrace farming and the beautiful llamas, alpacas and vicunas. Due to it being mostly high in elevation, many of the cacti and other succulents are endemic to very specialized and uniquely created habitats.

When flying into La Paz, the capitol of Bolivia, one soon becomes aware of their first immediate adjustment. As soon as you step off of the airplane, you really feel the altitude of near 14,000 feet. Normally, a few days of acclimation are necessary, thus what better way to see this historically beautiful city, than to just meander very slowly from street to street! The people and their culture are pronounced, and the colors and vibrancy of their life style is inspirational. One would think, at this mountainous altitude, the winter temperatures would get very cold and thus prohibit the growth of most succulent plants. Surprisingly, there are numerous cacti and other succulents found growing everywhere. And, if the altitude makes you feels ill, there are always vendors along the cobblestone streets anxious to sell their famed cocoa leaves. Just chew some, dribble the juice down your chin, and soon you’ll feel as if you’re back at sea level.

From La Paz into Bolivia’s more remote regions, one quickly begins to view fantastic scenery from snow-covered peaks to deep valleys and sculptured geological formations. Soon the Puyas and columnar Cereus become the dominant vegetation. If curvy winding roads with sheer drop-offs are not to your liking, this may not be the best place for you. Pretty soon, many smaller cryptic genera become visible from the window of your Land Cruiser. You totally forget about the rough roads and immediately get excited by more and more species appearing with each and every bend in the road. Sulcorebutias, Rebutias and Weingartias are the most dominant genera, and when they are in flower, they seem to glow with their big electric red, yellow and burgundy flowers. The Echinopsis, Lobivias, Oreocereus and Cleistocactus are also very common and are often found growing in association with numerous Bromeliads and the occasional Echeveria.

Everyday in Bolivia is like riding a rollercoaster, from sea level to 20,000 feet, and from one species of cactus to another. In some areas, the cacti dominate the landscape, and in others, the cacti are as cryptic and camouflaged as chameleons. Hopefully sharing my travels in Bolivia from Lake Titicaca to Sucre, will be as exciting for you as it was for me.

Biography of Mr. Minnich:

Woody, as he is commonly known, grew up in the Mojave Desert and has had an attraction to desert plants and animals since the early 1950’s. He has been involved with the cactus and succulent world as a grower, field explorer, club and organization leader, writer, photographer, lecturer and presenter.

Having been a speaker all over the world, Woody is most often associated with giving presentations on his field work from the places he has traveled, such as: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Socotra, South Africa, the United States and Yemen. He is also recognized for having operated the nursery Cactus Data Plants since 1975. Woody’s show quality plants were often considered one of the standards for staging and horticultural achievement. His favorite genera include: Adenium, Ariocarpus, Astrophytum, Copiapoa, Cyphostemma, Fouquieria, Gymnocalycium, Lithops, Mammillaria, Melocactus, Pachypodium, Turbinicarpus and Pachycauls in general.

Woody and his wife, Kathy, live in Cedar Grove, New Mexico. He is a retired secondary school teacher of 32 years where he taught Graphics, Art and Architecture. In the cactus and succulent hobby, Woody is recognized for his high energy and creative spirit. As an educator, he has become an important part of the hobby and thus is an honorary life member of ten C&S societies. With 45 years in the hobby and 64 years in the field, he has many experiences to share and numerous photos to show.

June 24, 2018

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Dorrance Hall

Greg Starr:  Agaves 101 – Let’s Start from the Beginning

Greg has been asked to speak at Succulenticon 2018 in Perth, Australia and he has put together a brand-new program that he would like to preview before the September convention. This presentation provides the audience with the basics of agaves beginning with the history of names and finishing with a flourish of cultural notes. He promises that it is not as boring as it sounds. There will be a lot of pretty pictures; myths will be busted, and even good information about these amazing plants. If you have an interest in succulent plants, and Greg suspects that you do since you are a member of a cactus and succulent club, then come on out and learn just one thing about this fascinating genus of plants.

Biography for Greg Starr

Greg was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, and has grown to love the desert and its flora and fauna. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, and after working in the landscape industry he went back to the University to study Botany and further his education in horticulture. Greg worked for Warren Jones (co-author of Plants for Dry Climates and Landscape Plants for Dry Regions) and Dr. Charles Mason at the University of Arizona herbarium. Greg made his first foray into the world of collecting in 1979 when he traveled with Warren and Bill Kinneson to Texas where he saw firsthand, in habitat, the many plants he had only experienced in the nursery or landscapes. He emerged from the University in 1985 with a Master of Science in Horticulture with a special emphasis on botany.

He opened Starr Nursery in the summer of 1985, and has specialized in low water use plants for landscaping in southern Arizona. Greg has traveled extensively in Mexico and the southwestern United States to study the plants for their potential landscape use in desert regions of the world. He has also traveled to South Africa and recently to Madagascar in search of juicy succulents.

Greg has written several horticultural articles for the journal Desert Plants. Topics have covered various groups of plants as well as botanizing in South Africa. He has also described two new species and a subspecies of Agave, three new species of Hesperaloe, and revised the genus Hesperaloe in a monograph published in the journal Madroño. The first Agave species Greg described was Agave ovatifolia. He worked with Dr. Jose Angel Villarreal in describing this amazing plant which has been dubbed Whale’s Tongue Agave, a reflection of the incredibly wide leaves that sometimes double as water harvesting vessels. He and Dr. Tom Van Devender described Agave parviflora subsp. densiflora a new find from the Sierra Madre Occidental in eastern Sonora. Greg’s first book, Cool Plants for Hot Gardens, was released at the end of April 2009 and is currently out of print. His second book, titled AgavesLiving Sculptures for Landscapes and Containers, was released in early May of 2012. He was a co-author for the recently released Field Guide to the Cacti and Other Succulents of Arizona. He has taught Plant Biology and Plant Materials classes at The Art Center Design College in Tucson for their program of Landscape Architecture. Since 2010, Greg has focused intensively on the Agaves of Baja California and he and Bob Webb described Agave azurea, a new species from the Picachos de Santa Clara, and submitted a revision for the genus on the Baja California peninsula to the journal Haseltonia which came out in January 2015. He recently described Agave cremnophila from southern Oaxaca and is busy researching the rest of the agaves found down there.

July 29, 2018

11:00 am – 12:30 am

Farrington Conference Room

CACSS Board Meeting
July 29, 2018

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Dorrance Hall

Steve McMahon: Ferocactus.

This is an introduction to the genus Ferocactus, covering identifying characteristics, distribution of the species, and basic classification. Many of the species are shown, some with habitat photos. There are some landscaping and design tips, and information on culture.   Short lists of nurseries and references are provided at the end.

I have a BS and MS in Plant Protection from the U of A. I have worked in the agrichemical industry and spent many years off and on working with my father in the commercial landscape and maintenance business. I have been with the DBG for 17 years first as a certified arborist, and then as Manager of the Cactaceae here. Our collection of cacti is one of the largest in the world. I have participated in three workshops in Mexico covering desert landscaping with water-efficient plants, and have traveled in Peru and Baja California, Mexico.

I have been a member of the CACSS for over 20 years and served twice as president and as show chairman. In addition to collecting Ferocactus, I like Ariocarpus, Turbinicarpus, and Chilean genera. I also have many Euphorbia and Mesemb species, as well as Asclepiads and other caudiciform species.

I have converted my yard to all arid-adapted trees and shrubs, accompanied by cacti and succulents. As a result, I have diverse numbers of wildlife that live in or visit my yard, including even native bees that pollinate the various plants. I also have 5 box turtles indigenous to southeastern Arizona, which I took off someone else’s hands, and they have a good life among all the plants in the back yard.

August 10, 11, 12, 2018

This is a member only event.

Bus Trip to Los Angeles

 Experiencing the Intercity Show & Sale is always awe-inspiring whether it is your first trip or one of several over the years.  We will board the bus at 6:30 AM in the DBG parking lot Friday the 10th of August and depart for Southern California at 7 AM; returning approximately 9 PM, Sunday, the 12th.  Our hotel is the Oak Tree Inn in Monrovia for Friday and Saturday evening.  The trip will include a visit to the Inter-City show at the LA Arboretum, the Huntington Botanical Garden, plus nurseries and growers in the area.

The trip cost will be $200 per person with two people sharing a room.  Those desiring a single room will spend $300. The hotel has a free continental breakfast.  Other meals will be extra.

August 26, 2018

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Dorrance Hall


Cathy Babcock, Al Dunstan, Judy Mielke, and Rod Stanger:

How To Move A Botanical Garden

Moving the Wallace Desert Garden’s plant collection – 5,000-plus specimens of trees, shrubs, cacti, and other succulents – was a massive undertaking. Learn how a team of landscape architects, architects, horticulturists, and plant relocation specialists orchestrated the move and designed a new setting for the plant collection at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Presenters Bios:

Cathy Babcock has 30 years of desert plant experience. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Horticulture from Arizona State University. From there she hired on as Horticulturist at Desert Botanical Garden, serving as Director of Horticulture the last 7 years of her 22 years there. She has spent the last 6 years as Director of Horticulture at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, the last 2 of which she has been overseeing the move of the plants from the Wallace Desert Garden to BTA.

Al Dunstan, after 15 years in public and private accounting, turned a hobby into a business when he co-founded Desierto Verde, Inc. with friend Phil Hebets in 1982. DV originated a process for salvaging native desert trees that became an industry standard and led to native plant ordinances in many Arizona cities, including Scottsdale and Phoenix. Following the sale of the Company in 2005, Al started a design-build landscape firm in Ajo, Arizona and introduced a wide variety of desert plants to the former mining town. As Project Manager for the Wallace Gardens Foundation, Dunstan commuted from Ajo to oversee the move of 5,000 desert plants from Scottsdale to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. (2014-2017). He is now enjoying the small town life back in Ajo – but still planting trees, shrubs and cacti with his three man crew.

Judy Mielke, ASLA, and Senior Landscape Architect with Logan Simpson in Tempe, Arizona, has designed landscapes in the Southwest for more than 33 years. Her dual backgrounds in horticulture and design enable her to create landscapes that are both sustainable and aesthetically rich. She is the author of the award-winning book Native Plants for Southwestern Landscapes and has served as Associate Professor in Arizona State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Judy received her Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from Washington State University and her Master of Environmental Planning degree from Arizona State University.

Rod Stanger, ASLA is a Senior Landscape Architect at Logan Simpson with over 28 years of experience. Throughout his career Rod has worked closely with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) on numerous highway construction projects. Rod’s responsibilities have included supervising large scale plant salvage and replanting operations as well as implementing environmental mitigation efforts and monitoring erosion and sediment control activities to ensure compliance. Rod has developed land forming techniques for restoring waste and borrows sites on large-scale highway projects throughout the state of Arizona. Rod received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Utah State University.

September 30. 2018

 11:00 pm – 12:30 pm

 Farrington Conference Room

CACSS Board Meeting
September 30, 2018

 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

 Dorrance Hall

Program: Javier Gurrola – Wandering and Observing in New Mexico and Arizona

My presentations will take you to two vastly different places that are near and dear to my heart. The first half takes us to a place that is about 40 miles slightly northeast from my home town of Las Cruces, New Mexico and across the Organ Mountains and White Sands Missile Range. In the immediate vicinity of Orogrande, New Mexico (Otero County), is a small mountain range that lies in the northern portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, the Jarilla Mountains (approximately 32.425078, -106.103225). Here you will see pictures of your typical Chihuahuan Desert scrub with a very unique and naturally occurring hybrid between Echinocereus coccineus (Red claret-cup cactus) and E. dasyacanthus (Texas rainbow cactus)…Echinocereus x roetteri (Loyd’s hedgehog cactus).

The second half takes us along the “Devil’s Highway” in southwestern Arizona to a northwest to southeast oriented chain of rugged batholithic granite situated within the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range in Yuma County…the Tinajas Altas Mountains are a relatively small range of desert mountains one can easily overlook while travelling to and from San Diego! Located within the Lower Sonoran vegetation life zone of the Sonoran Desert, the cacti here still thrive, but are not nearly as abundant as elsewhere. Other xerophytes like Bursera microphylla (elephant tree or torote) and Jatropha cuneata (Desert Limberbush or sangrengado) grow to such impressive sizes as to dominate the landscape.

Javier’s bio:

I was born in Los Angeles, grew up and went to school in Las Cruces, NM, attended college at New Mexico State University (GO AGGIES!!) where I received a B.S. in Biology and Geological Engineering. My family and I moved out here to Phoenix in 2001 and I currently work with the City of Glendale as a Principal Engineer.

O.k. now with that out of the way, let’s move onto my love for plants…the spiny and prickly kind. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had this love of nature and natural history in general, including all the living kind and the non-loving kind. Having lived all my life thus far in the Southwest, I innately fell in love with the cactus family and other xerophytes native to my area. As a child growing up, my parents took it upon themselves to acquaint me with lots of outdoor activities and frequent visits to zoos and museums…no judgments upon anybody, but I count myself extremely lucky to have not grown up in the age of today’s technology…I may have never acquired these interests.

October 28, 2018

 10:00 pm – 2:00 pm

 Dorrance Hall

Annual MEGA Silent and Live Auction

Plants are accepted from 10:00 pm to 11:30 pm.

The auction begins at 11:30 PM. This timing is a change from previous years.

November 18, 2018

 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

 Farrington Conference Room

CACSS Board Meeting
November 18, 2018

 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

 Sunnyslope High School


Peter Walkowiak:  The Sex Lives of Plants

Description and biography to follow.

 December 2, 2018

 1:00 – 3:00 PM

 Tumbleweed Recreation Center


CACSS Holiday Party

This is a member and guest only event.