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These notes are based on some twenty-five years of growing some three hundred species of cacti and other succulents as a hobby in a home-built, lean-to greenhouse overlooking the harbour shared by the cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. They are presented separately for each of six periods - use the menu at left to select the period of interest.

Many factors affect the timing suggestions which should therefore be considered only as guides by those using them in other places and climes. Our climate, here at 44 degrees North latitude, is much modified by the proximity of the Atlantic ocean and its relatively nearby Gulf Stream. It is also sometimes affected, in the spring, by wayward plumes of Arctic currents which occasionally bring ice fairly close to our shore. As well, we enjoy the advantage of warmed air which often comes down the NS peneplain from the uplands and is funneled through the Sackville Valley to Bedford Basin and the harbour. Of course, the southern exposure of my lean-to greenhouse has also been a very great asset.

We do not often have the extremes either of hot or cold temperatures which occur elsewhere. Regular on-shore and off-shore winds ensure an excellent contrast between day- and night-time temperatures, a factor which aids the initiation of buds, I believe. It certainly imitates the conditions in most of the native habitats of these plants, where the nights are usually cooler.

Paul J. Brunelle
Oct. 5, 2001