Shrinking Cactus Clubs
There has been some interesting disccusion on cacti_etc
recently on this topic. A number of the subscribers suggest that one of the prime reasons for declining membership is due to clubs not welcoming new members and making them feel at home. I don't disagree with this point but wonder if there are also economic and social trends reducing the number of people growing our plants. Sharply rising fuel costs are making it more expensive to travel to meetings and in more northerly latitudes making it expensive to heat greenhouses in the winter.
It has been noticeable this year that a siginificant number of cactus and succulent nurseries have closed. It would be interesting to hear from other nursery owners if turnover has declined, particularly in the wholesale sector. If this is the case we should perhaps looking to alternative methods for over-wintering our plants. The methods employed in eastern European countries may have something to teach us.
We also need to give serious thought to how clubs can interact with their members in other ways than monthly meetings.
BCSS Central File Store
It has become evident that the British Cactus and Succulent Society
would benefit greatly from having a central file store somewhere on the net. The prime use of this would be for the producers of the journal to store working documents so that they could file and retreive them from wherever they are. It would save a considerable amount of time and expense in sending around CDs by post and also provide a much more flexible and secure system than storage on a privately held local computer.
My first thought about this was to use a tailored FTP server but this is inherently insecure and does not give all the facilities needed. I consulted with Yann Cochard of Cactuspro
and he suggested that the webdav protocol was just the sort of facility wee needed. We have been trying to set up such a system based on various free test accounts so that we can evaluate it. Getting this working has proved much harder than we expected. Do we have any webdav experts out there who could advise us?
I am sure that if we can get this going it is the sort of facility which would be of great use to the other national Cactus and Succulent societies.
One use of the Cactus-Mall Blog
It is my intention to use this facility to improve communication between Cactus-Mall customers. I hope this will help us share ideas to improve our success. Naturally in its very early stages this blog is presently set up so that anyone can comment on existing posts, but at the moment only I can initiate new ones. Shortly I will be sending out invitations to some of the key Cactus-Mall users to ask them if they would like to have the facility to post original messages to the Cactus-Mall Blog.
If others would like to have this facility I will be happy to consider requests.
Some of you will know that Suzanne has been waiting for a carpel tunnel syndrome operation on her right hand. This happened yesterday. All went well and she is currently at home recuperating.
She will not be able to drive for at least two weeks and obviously is a bit limited in the tasks she can do. This may cause a little delay in the publication of the October Mesemb Study Group Bulletin. This is however reasonably well advanced. The colour pictures will be checked tomorrow and we hope that publication will occur sometime next week.
Derek Bowdery and John Pilbeam's Ferocactus Book
The BCSS publication of John Pilbeam and Derek Bowdery's Ferocactus book has now happened and I am sending out advance orders and supplies to book dealers who have ordered them.
I will be pleased to receive further orders now as the we need to sell a significant number so that the BCSS can finance further publications from John Pilbeam which are in the pipeline. With the arrival of large numbers of Ferocactus books the BCSS publications store is now quite full and we need to sell some to create space for storing additional publications.
This Blog will note updates to the Cactus-Mall and other related websites like the British Cactus and Succulent Society and the Mesemb Study Group.
I will give my thoughts on the current state of the Cactus and Succulent hobby and discuss topical subjects which I think need airing.
I hope it can be used by others to give us feedback on the development of the now 10 years old Cactus-Mall and what you think of its usefulness and ways in which we might improve this.