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Gene Schroeder 

Central Coast Cactus and Succulent Society president

NEW TIMES What is a meeting like?

SCHROEDER A meeting is about two hours. It begins with the introduction of new members, followed by a little bit of business. After that, we have current events, and then decide on a Plant of the Month to be featured in our newsletter. During a break, we sell raffle tickets for that meetings raffle, and after that we feature a speaker. Sometimes speakers talk about what exotic plants they’ve seen on trips they’ve been to; other times, they might speak on proper plant care. After another break, during which we sell more raffle tickets, we have the raffle itself and something called the Plant Exchange. Members who wish to participate in the Plant Exchange bring plants, set the plants on a table, and draw tickets to see who gets which plants.


NEW TIMES Now, I’m familiar with cacti, but could you explain what succulents are?

SCHROEDER While there is no botanical description for a succulent, collectors generally describe them as plants that have evolved to survive difficult times, such as infrequent rain in harsh climates. Aloe and agave are succulents, and all cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti!


NEW TIMES What sort of events do you have?

SCHROEDER Our biggest event and fundraiser is a show/sale, this year at the Ludwig Center on Memorial Day weekend. There are many, many plants to purchase, and we have judges for those who want to enter the show. We also have events such as garden tours led by our other members.


NEW TIMES What should new members bring?

SCHROEDER Themselves, and a positive attitude! Also, they can bring a plant for the exchange, if they want to.


NEW TIMES What’s your favorite species?

SCHROEDER I love cacti, and my favorite species is the Peruvian Matucana. It comes in a variety of colors, from pure white to pink, etc. For more information, visit

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