Succulent Day

Discovery Garden and Terrace Room

National Arboretum, Canberra


Learn more about succulents and their part in the National Arboretum.



18 Nov.



19 Nov.

National Arboretum Canberra


Weston Creek Community Centre


Succulents in Future Garden Design: Attila Kapitany.  Q&A.



Plant sale.  Open to the public.  All welcome.


Potting demonstration: Jackie Warburton.



Guided tour of the Discovery Garden.



Short talk on Dragon and Bottle Trees.



Bottle Trees and Boabs - popular landscape trees for our times: Attila Kapitany.  Q&A.



Grafting demonstration: Trevor Rodgers; and 


Guided tour of the Discovery Garden.







The Future of Succulents in Garden Design

At first, the mind tends to limit succulents to a particular garden style and yet imaginative garden designers have in recent years explored the possibilities like never before. Join me on an almost unbelievable visual treat. Once upon a time, who would have thought that succulents could ever be made to look soft and luxuriant in the garden, as opposed to the more typical ‘dry desert’ style, mixing succulents with annuals, spring bulbs and under roses?

Also why are succulents popular? You’ll be surprised at my thoughts and findings….

Some say the current popularity of succulents is only a fad that’s going to fade …I’ll prove them wrong!

And which ones are frost hardy and better suited to Canberra? How many native succulents are you aware of (as there are hundreds, some quite spectacular?)

Attila is a succulent expert and author of many popular books on the subject will be along with pictures to show, and knowledge to share. Get an autographed copy of some of his publications.

Bottle Trees and Boabs – trees for our times  

Apart from Attila’s expertise with succulents, Attila has grown thousands of bottles trees  commercially, both wholesale and retail for almost 40 years and has written a book on the topic. Come and listen to his expertise advice.

Why not get an autographed copy of his bottle tree book?

Marvel at the majestic and spectacular giants of the Australian continent, some grotesque and monstrous, others appearing in need of a hug. Much of the presentation will show trees in habitat and cultivation with regular references to support their incredible potential in landscape gardening and design.

While some people are aware that Australia has the Queensland bottle tree (Brachychiton rupestris), most aren’t aware of several other species within the genus that also develop bottle-shaped trunks, such as Brachychiton compactus.  This is a much rarer and much more spectacular species, primarily in that its flowers are large and the canopy luxuriant. Other species, even rarer new species, will be shown.

The Qld bottle tree, the main feature of the talk,  is remarkably cold and frost tolerant and able to grow in poor soils and with very little additional water, so can suit many Canberra gardens. Let Attila show you how a Qld tree  can be so suitable this far south. You’ll be guaranteed a remarkable insight into a range of aspects about bottle trees few people are aware of! 


 About Attila Kapitany



Attila Kapitany has over 30 years of experience with cacti and succulents and was president of the Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia for 10 years. In 1980, the Kapitany brothers established Collectors’ Corner and Paradisa Nurseries, specialising in cacti and succulents. Together with Rudolf Schulz, Attila has written 7 books about succulents and his work is regularly published in magazines, journals and newspapers.



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Welcome to the The Cactus and Succulent Society of the ACT Inc.

This is a friendly club which encourages the cultivation and propagation of cacti and other succulent plants in the Canberra region. We share our experiences and knowledge through our meetings, newsletters and other activities. Our members come from all parts of the ACT and surrounding communities.  Some are school students; others photographers, artists, horticulturalists, general gardeners and many others. We are all interested in growing cactus and succulents. Some of us have been growing succulents for many decades.

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Featured Plant.

Huernia Zebrina
Huernia Zebrina

Huernia zebrina is a succulent suited to growing on a sunny protected porch.

This is one of the Stapeliad group of succulents, often known as the starfish flower group, which mainly come from Africa and Madagascar.  Heurnia zebrina is commonly known as the lifesaver plant, due to the round disc on the flower looking like a Lifesaver ring. The plant makes a clump of compact angular stems up to 8 cm tall. Most Stapeliads are frost sensitive, and should not be watered much if at all in the colder months.  They are also susceptible to mealy bug.

Apart from these challenges, most stapeliads grow well in the warmer months, and like to be watered regularly when growing. The very showy flowers of Stapeliads come in a range of shapes and colours, and may depend on pollination by flies - in which case the flowers may not have a nice smell.  The genus Huernia usually does not have species with unpleasant smelling flowers.

Photo © Tony W

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Meeting Location.

Weston Creek Community Centre, 12 Whitney Place, Weston, ACT.

Enter from the courtyard between Coolemon Court and the Weston Creek Community Centre.  (Google maps link.)


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Condensed History of CSSACT.

The following is an extract based on a complete article prepared by Miriam and Annette for our 50 years celebration. 

The Beginnings 1965-1970

CSSACT came about from a number of like-minded people asking the community if there were others interested in forming a group.

  • 3 June 1965 - A notice placed in the Canberra Courier invited people interested in growing cacti to a meeting at Barry's place in Lyneham.
  • 27 June 1965 – At the meeting it was agreed to establish the Canberra Cactus and Succulent Group (the Group).
  • The ‘Group’ was set up under the auspices of the Horticultural Society of Canberra (HSOC), making use of their shows and newsletter
  • 1966 – In less than a year this Group had 35 members.

The Early Years 1970-1985

The early days were characterized by a period of forming the Society, and sharing both knowledge and experience, and sharing the workload with more of the members.

  • August 1972 – The Group became the Cactus and Succulent Society of the ACT, and developed its own constitution.
  • 1970s to mid 1980 – As the workload increased CSSACT officers took a range of roles, including ordering pots and plants for members to buy, and even ordering seeds and plants from overseas.
  • 1973 – The position of newsletter editor was created, with Miriam producing the newsletter with a duplicating machine in her laundry.
  • Early 1980s – CSSACT members formed a studying group on what grows well in the Canberra Region. Steve, Frank and Miriam produced a booklet on what grows and survives in Canberra’s climate.

The Period of Consolidation 1985-2005

Over the next fifteen years CSSACT held plant sales at shopping centres, and built links around Australia, with many of the members attending interstate conventions.

  • 2000 – CSSACT prepared for hosting the National Convention - Succulenticon 2001 - in Canberra, convened by Annette and Mike.
  • 2001 – CSSACT established a meeting location at the Hughes Community Centre, and a place to store the library collection.
  • 2003 – A website was developed for CSSACT by Lindsay.

The Last Decade 2005-2015

Over the last decade CSSACT events have included soil mix days, representation at gardening events, photography and bowl arrangement competitions, and garden visits - both locally and interstate.

  • 2011 – CSSACT hosted a successful Get-Together convention, convened by Jenny. Profits from the event have assisted CSSACT build a larger presence.
  • 2013 – Website upgraded by Up-There web design, and included provision for a member page.
  • 2015 – CSSACT received a Gold Award from the Chief Minister for 50 years of service to Canberra.

Awards for long service to the Society

Awards in recognition of 30 years long service to CSSACT go to Frank, Ian, Max, Shirley, Jim & Anne, Glen, and Annette & Mike.

Awards in recognition of 50 years long service to CSSACT go to Franz and Miriam.

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