Every two years the society organises one of the most hotly anticipated events in the succulent world calendar, its biennial convention.
Held at the Hilton Hotel in Leicester in October, it boasts a world class list of speakers, a bewildering array of plant sales from members far and wide, stunning plants in the show, an auction featuring some of the best plants you are likely to see on the open market in Europe and, of course, great company in convivial surroundings.
Unfortunately the convention planned for October 2021 had to be cancelled (difficulties with availability of speakers and the venue due to Covid-19 restrictions). However, the good news is that planning for the next convention in October 2022 (14th to 16th) is under-way.
Here are some highlights from the 14th convention held in October 2017. Jakub Jilemicky from the Czech Republic who many of you already know from previous Conventions and certainly the most travelled Haworthia ‘fob’ in Europe gave three talks. From South Africa we welcomed Ernst van Jaarsveld the renowned expert on gasterias and Southern Africa’s succulent flora who was until recently the Curator at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town with three talks. We had a cultivation expert from the United States in George Theodoris better known to many as Prickly Pete for his unbelievable cultivars making his first visit to our Convention, also with three talks; and if that wasn’t enough, we also had František (Fanda) Veselý from the Czech Republic speaking to us for the first time in the UK having made many trips to South Africa, and who is another Haworthia expert.
Also, as in previous Conventions, on the Saturday evening our own unique auctioneer Stirling Baker put some amazing plants under the hammer. All this, along with the hotel’s super hospitality, was on offer.
So, start saving (for the auction) and put the date of the 2022 convention in your diaries.
What delegates at the 2015 convention had to say:
“Great location, comfortable rooms, too much food! Meet like-minded friends for a chat in the bar, and join the curry trip on Friday evening. All that and great talks, sales plants, an auction and a show too!” (Rick G.)
“The Convention was well organised, with the speakers entertaining, informative and very friendly. The show and sales plants were of an impressive standard, and the sociability of the attendees most welcoming. I shall certainly be keen to attend again in 2 years’ time.” (Neil W.)
“Only the second time we had attended the Convention but after the first time it is now firmly on our calendar. Great venue with fantastic facilities and convenient for access. Good food, great company and superb lectures, what more could you ask for. It is the last of the plant season functions and what a great way to end it on.” (Bob and Beryl P.)
“We like the size of the Convention at 50-60 people because you then have the opportunity to meet and talk to a high proportion of the members there and that is an important aspect of any meeting/convention. The talks were all really good and interesting. The two overseas speakers were the same as last time but it would be difficult to better them for their knowledge and entertainment. We managed to beat Stirling in a couple of classes in the show! It is good fun when you pitch yourself against the best and just occasionally manage to get the upper hand.” (Terry and Jennifer S.)
“My personal opinion is that as the Convention only happens every two years it is nice to pack it out as much as possible with talks, even at the expense of free time, bar time, or coffee time. It was nice to see a mix of habitat and cultivation talks with the emphasis on habitat talks. The breadth of the plant sales offered an opportunity to acquire plants not normally available which is to be commended. All-in-all a great weekend and long may it continue.” (Ivor C.)
“This is a gathering we look forward to, we know the organisation is going to be spot on, the speakers first class and the auction ‘dangerous’ – with too many ‘must haves’ in it!” (Jackie & Charlie H.)
“As usual the speakers were tremendous, I thoroughly enjoyed each and every talk – content, delivery, interest – all excellent as expected from a highly respected group of speakers. However, the Convention isn’t just about the talks. The visit to one of Leicester’s finest curry restaurants lived up to the expected standard. Socialising in the bar brought up many varied topics of conversation as well as the opportunity to catch up with other ‘Haworthiaphiles’. The auction on the Saturday night provided great entertainment as well as the opportunity to see some amazing plants and even the possibility of winning some!” (Les P.)