Area of the Month – October

Cacti and Other Succulent Bed.

Every summer, for over 35 years, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens has assembled an exotic display of cacti and other succulents on the Loudon Terrace.

After being overwintered in the nursery glasshouses, they are taken out of their pots during mid-May and planted here. This is after the winter frosts have passed.

They enjoy the fresh air and moisture of the great British summer and sometimes double in size in a matter of weeks!

After the cacti show held here in early October, they are dug up, repotted and overwintered inside again.

This year, the bed has been improved with kind donations from the family of William “George” Watts; a keen cacti grower.

Over the decades he filled his large greenhouse with cacti and other succulents; grown mainly from seed as a preference. His family have told us that he would vanish for hours on end to tend to his prickly charges!

His children were discouraged from entering the greenhouse, not least by the narrow walkway and the looming spines…

In the 60s and early 70s, he entered his prize plants into a few “flower shows”, packing the plants into the back of his Morris Traveller in large trays along with a painted backdrop of a desert landscape to set the scene.

In recent years he had been struggling to maintain his collection and after his death in April, his family kindly donated his plants to Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses.

His family and the gardens hope that our visitors derive as much joy from them as George did.