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South Coast C&SS monthly meeting – September 2023

2023-09-10 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm PDT

Peter at CSSA Trophy table

Mini-Show Cactus September: Ariocarpus, Obregonia
Mini-Show Succulent September: Adenium, Adenia

PRESENTER FOR SEPTEMBER: Peter Walkowiak:  Soil and Staging Workshop.

The second most asked question I get after ‘ When do I water this plant?’ is ‘ What soil do I use for my succulent plant?’ and this was the genesis for this talk on soil.

Peter at CSSA Trophy table
Peter with winning Mammillaria

Consider your soil as your foundation upon which you will sustain and support healthy plant growth for a long period of time. Important things a soil needs to have are good drainage and aeration, water retention, nutrient availability, proper PH and longevity. In this talk each of these topics will be covered in depth so that the unseen complexities of soil can be understood. What materials work, what does not and why they should not be used.

There will be a demonstration on mixing soil that is used in my nursery. I spent many years trying different materials to find the perfect succulent soil mix. There were many failures, most took two to three years to manifest its self and then had to answer the question ‘Why did this fail?’. You will be shown the ingredients and how they are blended to get this soil mix.

In the second part of the program we will discuss the process of staging your plants to maximize their beauty. There are many things to consider when putting together your composition. These are form, texture, color and balance and must be thoughtfully considered when putting together your piece of art.

The final part of the program is a Q&A session where I want you to ask me questions you have about growing your succulents like pest control – decease, fungus, insects or cultural like – light, fertilizers, PH, air movement.

Peter graduated in 1985 from Cal Poly Pomona with a B.S. Degree in Ornamental Horticulture. He worked as manager, production manager and section manager for three wholesale nurseries for 14 years. Peter then ran a landscaping business for another 14 years, the last five years of which he specialized in succulent landscapes. He started collecting succulents while at Cal Poly and his collection now numbers in the thousands. This led to propagating plants from seed and thus the seed was sown for the nursery that he now owns and runs for the last fifteen years.

He has been fascinated with plants in general since he was 5 and interest in succulent plants really got going in college, 1981-82. By the time he graduated, his collection had grown to 200 and many are still alive. This collection has grown to more than 2,000 currently. The collection consists of cacti, euphorbias and caudiciforms.

He is the past president of the Palomar CSS and was on the board for the San Diego CSS. He was on the on the Board of Directors of the C.S.S.A. for the last ten years and served as the Nominations Chair and Convention Sales Chair.  He was show chair for Palomar’s one and San Diego’s two shows and co-chair for the Intercity Show.

Peter selling his plants
Peter selling his plants


1:00 pm - 4:00 pm PDT
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South Coast Botanic Garden, Frances Young Hall
26300 Crenshaw Blvd.
Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274 United States
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