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The Cactus of Colorado

Don grew up on the mesas and mountains of Southern Colorado and has lived in Colorado most of his adult life. At a young age, he was introduced to the natural world by his father, an avid outdoorsman, who took him on many hunting and fishing adventures. He developed an appreciation for the natural world especially for the flora and fauna of the North American Desert Southwest. This led him to the University of Southern Colorado (now CSU-Pueblo) where he studied Field Biology and earned a B.S. degree.

Don has created a large xeric landscape in the front yard of his Pueblo home that Panayoti Kelaidis of the Denver Botanic Gardens has called one of the most artistic and elegant xeric gardens in Colorado and beyond. The garden contains over 1000 cacti with well over 100 species from the American southwest represented. Additionally, there are numerous species of Agave, Yucca, Penstemon, and many other southwestern native plants found in the landscape. Panayoti urged Don to write a book about cacti which led to the book, The Cactus of Colorado (2016)


The Cactus of Colorado

Donnie was born in Pueblo, Colorado. At the young age of 8 years old he started growing his first plants. Once out of high school he started working at Wild Things Wholesale Nursery. After a few years, he acquired a job at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. Later he worked as an Environmental Biologist for SNWA. During his time in Las Vegas, he found his love for the Art of Photography.

Donnie has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from BYU. His biological specialties include North American Flora, Cactus, Agave, Desert fishes and restoration ecology. Currently, Donnie runs an ethical and sustainable nursery called ETHICAL DESERT that specializes in cold hardy and rare species of Cactus, Succulents and native perennials. Donnie and his father have published two books (The Cactus of Colorado & Penstemon of Southeastern Colorado) and are currently working on a new project.



Copiapoa 2023
Cactus Facts - Ecology, Evolution, and the Future of some Rare Point Endemics

Stefan is an Australian naturalist, habitat guide and environmental consultant living in Chile and is the lead guide of Cactus Explorer Tours and Consulting. He has an academic background in Applied Sciences and has been fascinated by all things cactus from a young age. Stefan has made various exploratory trips to Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Argentina and the United States in search of rare and endangered cactus species in the wild, and his Eco Tours are designed to be accessible and educational for the first time explorer to the qualified researcher. Stefan's studies are currently focused on Chilean cacti, especially Copiapoa and Eriosyce.

Over the past six years, his fieldwork and research has also expanded to xeric members of the Euphorbiaceae, Dioscoreaceae, Bromeliaceae, Passifloraceae and Amaryllidaceae. It will be no surprise that one key finding of Stefan's fieldwork is that many xerophytic plant communities are declining to urbanization, climate change, unsustainable agricultural and mining practices and illegal extraction of habitat plants for the horticultural trade. This has led Stefan to become a passionate conservationist and develop more focused and meaningful conservation and education efforts which are needed to preserve niche plant habitats and prevent extinction of the endemic biodiversity that lives there.


Cacti and Succulents of Arizona: Rare Botanical Treasures
Endemic Cacti and Succulents of Baja California: A Pictorial Travelogue

Peter started studying cacti in habitat more than 30 years ago and decided to get a Ph.D. in cactus evolution and biogeography at age 52, focused on the Mammillaria and Cochemiea of Baja California. He finished his Ph.D. at 58, at Arizona State University. He has published widely on topics in cactus evolution and ecology, including being one of the authors of The Field Guide to Cacti and Succulents of Arizona, published by the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society.

He is currently conducting the sixth installment since 1964 of the long-term saguaro survey on Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona, as a postdoctoral research fellow at The Desert Lab at The University of Arizona. He is also the managing editor for CSSA publications, and edits both the Cactus and Succulent Journal and the annual peer-reviewed yearbook, Haseltonia.



Kelly Grummons, Cactus Wrangler; Selecting Garden Worthy Plants
Why Graft? Not Only for Novelty plants but to Ensure Viability of Difficult Species

Kelly Grummons was the chief horticulturist and co-owner of Timberline Gardens in Arvada, CO which closed in 2015 after 17 years as a rare plant business.  Kelly grew up on the family ranch in the southern Black Hills on the Wyoming /South Dakota border where he developed a passion for horticulture and nature.

He studied Botany at the University of Wyoming.  He received degrees in Horticulture and Landscape Horticulture at Colorado State University.  Kelly wrote for the Denver Post for many years and now writes a column in the Colorado Gardener magazine.

He owns the mail order websites coldhardycactus.com and dogtuffgrass.com where he sells over 150 varieties of winter hardy cacti, succulents and DogTuff™ grass to customers all over the United States.



The Rocky Mountain World of Succulents
Pursuing Tough Succulents Around the World

Panayoti Kelaidis is a plant explorer, gardener and public garden administrator associated with Denver Botanic Gardens where he is now Director of Outreach. He began his career at DBG in 1980 as curator of the Rock Alpine Garden, where he designed and oversaw the initial plantings of this extensive garden. Garden Design Magazine has rated this garden as the best public rock garden in North America. He has designed plantings for many of the gardens at DBG.

He has introduced hundreds of native ornamentals from throughout the Western United States to general horticulture. He has taken 8 trips to South Africa researching the high mountain and steppe flora there, as well as travels to the Andes, Central Asia and the Himalaya (from both Pakistan and China) as well as travels throughout much of Europe, the Caucasus and Turkey.  Perhaps the best known of Panayoti’s introductions are the many showy hardy ice plants: several dozen of these are now available at garden centers across America and in other parts of the world. Panayoti has been party to the discovery of a number of species of plants new to science.


The Cacti and Succulents of New Mexico
The Treasures of the Atacama, Chile

Wendell S. Minnich, (Woody), has been involved with cacti and succulents for over 52 years. He is active in many clubs and is an honorary life member of 13.  As an energetic spirit for many clubs, and the CSSA, he has led the concern for strong conservation. Having been a founding member of many clubs, often their show chair, he was the co-creator of the incredible Inter City Show. He is currently the president of the Santa Fe Cactus and Succulent Society,.

In his many years of involvement with C & S, he has become well known for his field work in many countries worldwide. After 128 major trips, Woody has gained extensive knowledge with the Cactaceae and most of the other succulents. He specializes in: Ariocarpus, Astrophytum, Copiapoa, Mammillaria, Turbinicarpus, Uebelmannia, Echeveria, Fouquieria, Pachypodium and pachycauls. He has introduced numerous species to the trade from Brazil, Chile, Madagascar, Mexico, Socotra, South Africa and the USA.

Woody, a secondary school teacher for 32 years, taught Architecture, Graphics and Art. He now lives with his wonderful wife Kathy, in Cedar Grove, NM. His art background has led him to create many C & S T-shirt designs, and his photography is well recognized from his presentations, books and publications. Woody loves these fantastic plants and animals.


Staging, Bringing Out the Best in Our Plants
Mammillarias, The Weird and the Wonderful

Karen has been growing cactus since she  got her first ‘real’ cactus; a Gymnocalycium friedrichii, now G. stenopleurum; in the spring of 1979. In the fall of that same year, she purchased 6 Mammillarias in 2-1/2 inch pots.

She attended the first Intercity Show and was so taken with the plants and the people, she joined the Los Angeles Cactus and Succulent Society. In the years since, she has been involved with both the CSSA and Intercity Shows as a general helper; and have been Show Chair for the Sunset Succulent Society for the last 15 years.

“Originally, I was living and growing both cactus and succulents in the San Fernando Valley but since moving to the high desert; I decided to concentrate on growing cactus only, focused on Ariocarpus and related genera, Mammillarias, North and South American Opuntias, and Gymnocalyciums.”


Propagations of Succulents from Stems and Leaves
30+ Years of Growing Succulents at the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory

Ernesto Sandoval has been seeking answers as to why plants grow and look the way that they do for nearly 40 years. He frequently lectures to a variety of western garden clubs throughout the year and particularly to succulent clubs throughout California. Desert plants are his particular passion.

Ernesto Sandoval has been the director/manager of the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory for many years. He shares his enthusiasm and knowledge with new student interns each year. He explains and interprets the world of plants to people of a variety of ages and experiences from K-12 to professionals and master gardeners.  

He likes to promote plant liberation by encouraging gardeners of all sorts to grow more plants in the ground when possible. Although he loves the technical language of botany, he prefers to relate information in more understandable methods of communication.


In the Middle of Nowhere – A Journey to Central Patagonia
Where North Meets South – The Cacti of Mendoza to Neuquen

Elisabeth lives in the west of Germany, very close to the border with Belgium and the Netherlands. Her passion for cacti started in 1977 when she and her husband bought five little cacti at a local market. After visiting Patagonia in 2004, they specialized on cacti of the southern part of South America and focused their interest on Patagonian cacti. Many travels to Argentina and Chile followed.

They have traveled to every national and provincial road in Patagonia. Together, they have published several articles and books including some first descriptions. For many years, Elisabeth has been giving talks not only in Germany and other European countries. She is a member in several cactus societies such as DKG (German Cactus Society), Succulenta and IOS and in the board of the committee of the ELK, Europe’s largest cactus event.



Fun, Facts & Things to See and Do in Colorado

Marcia Tatroe writes the monthly Mountain Garden Checklist for Sunset magazine and is a frequent contributor to Colorado Gardener and other gardening publications. Her photography and gardens have been featured in numerous books, magazines, and nationally televised gardening shows.

She lectures throughout the West, focusing on garden design, rock gardening, xeriscape, and native plants. In her most recent book, Cutting Edge Gardening in the Intermountain West, she advocates using drought-tolerant and native plants and indigenous materials to create a gardening aesthetic unique to this region. Her garden was awarded Habitat Hero status by the Audubon Rockies in 2015 as an outstanding urban wildscape.


Aloes, Know and Grow Them
Aloe, Gasteria and Haworthia, Explorations in South Africa

Ernst van Jaarsveld is a horticulturist and botanist at Babylonstoren Farm where he works full time since his retirement from Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. He built up and manages the succulent collection which consists of a Succulent House and various rockeries. The latest is a Welwitschia Rockery built during the covid period. Welwitschia seed was sown during January and is grown out of doors covering the area with a translucent tent only when it rains during winter. Ernst is also involved in field work visiting various parts of southern Africa and doing research on succulents. His main interest is Gasteria and Bulbine (Fam. Asphodelaceae) and the family Mesembryanthemacea.


Succulent Science simplified, What every Grower Needs to Know
An introduction to Botanical Names and Plant Taxonomy

Dr. Rob Wallace is a botanist and biology professor at Iowa State University, where he teaches courses in plant systematics and taxonomy, biological evolution, economic botany, and land plant phylogeny. He has been raising and studying cacti and other succulent plants for over 50 years and has done botanical field research in desert areas of the United States, Mexico, Chile, Peru, and South Africa. In the laboratory, he has used molecular (DNA) methods to study phylogenetic relationships in a range of succulent plant groups, including the Cactaceae, Aizoaceae (mesembs), Portulacaceae, Didiereaceae, Haworthia, and others. He has given botanical research presentations at regional, national, and international meetings, as well as serving as a popular speaker and auctioneer at regional and national cactus and succulent society conferences. Wallace is a Past-President of the International Organization for Succulent Plant Study (IOS) and is one of the first botanists to apply DNA methods to the study of cactus and succulent evolution and systematics.