“All cactus are succulents, but not all succulents are cactus,” said Frank Drake, former president of the Bakersfield Cactus and Succulent Society. Frank, and his wife, Paulette, have been active members for four years, but the club has been active since 1997.

The club meets the second Tuesday of every month at St. Paul’s Episcopal church at 7 p.m. At almost every meeting, a speaker comes to educate the club on a variety of subjects: plant potting, mixing the soil with a variety of at-home essentials or how to dress them. Dressing means to decorate your cactus or succulent and make it look presentable for a show.

“You want them dressed with rock or a bigger rock to accent it, and I have leaf oil to oil my plants to add a gloss to them just to make your plants look good,” Paulette said. “The tools of the trade are tweezers.”

The club has participated at the Kern County Fair for many years, and has an upcoming show, the Bakersfield Cactus and Succulent Society Show and Sale, on Oct. 7 and 8 that will feature both cactuses and succulents. Many of the members will show either individually or as a representation of the Bakersfield Cactus and Succulent Society.

Frank and Paulette will be showing individually at the fair and will feature 40 cactuses and succulents; at the show, they will be representing the club.

Several members have a great amount of plants and take care of them at their home.

“If you ask me, we have 4,500 plants … but it’s probably more like less than 100,” Frank said, jokingly.

The club’s extensive knowledge about cactuses and succulents would be more than helpful to any new member wishing to join or for anyone willing to raise a cactus or a succulent. The club even has a member that has published a book about different types of cactus.

“Our club is to share information about (cactuses) and we want to teach people about cactus and succulents and share our knowledge. They’ll share with you and talk all day,” said Paulette. 

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