From the Digest

HSCSS Elects New Directors

Jesse Rehmer: “Despite what the tag from Lowes says, true friends will not let you place sansevierias in the bathroom!”

(January 2022)

As confirmed during the November 2021 club meeting, Henry Shaw Cactus and Succulent Society will have three new board members in 2022: Jesse Rehmer, Emily Hall and Lois Kennedy. The society extends its thanks to retiring directors Pat Cosgrove and Pat Mahon for the time and effort they invested in HSCSS.

“It is good to have new directors,” HSCSS President Ralph Olliges said. “They provide a different perspective on issues and events. We certainly are grateful for the prior directors and look forward to working with the new … as a way of rotating people in leadership roles. That is always a good thing.”

Jesse Rehmer

Jesse Rehmer is the society’s new social media director. Years of experience in the digital world coupled with an interest in succulents – especially sansevierias – made him a great candidate for the position.

Rehmer is a system engineer at Contegix, a St. Louis-based firm that provides web-hosting services for entities that require high-level data security. He maintains software and manages internal system functions.

A regular user of Facebook and other digital platforms, Rehmer has supported the International Sansevieria Society website and coordinated social media for his local St. Louis Hills Neighborhood Association. He said his social media activity is now “pretty much all plants.”

“I’m excited to assist the society in extending its reach,” Rehmer said. “I believe an active social media presence can bolster an organization’s membership and increase engagement. Extending our message and content from the digest to social media, for example, is a powerful way to keep younger generations engaged.”

Rehmer’s history with succulent plants began with an aloe gifted from his grandmother and advanced through off-season purchases of small succulents at Bayer’s Garden Shop in St. Louis. “The plants are so cool, I’ll probably kill them.” he thought. Some did die, but while repotting a sansevieria that didn’t, Rehmer found the colorful, intricate root structure fascinating – and was hooked on the hobby.

Emily Hall: “My history with succulents included killing a 30-year-old jade plant passed down from an aunt.”

Emily Hall

Emily Hall’s service reflects her burgeoning interest in the succulent hobby. “I’m excited to have been selected as a director and look forward to serving the board and members,” she said. “I’d like to continue volunteering at the Annual Show and Sale and in other capacities as needed.”

Hall’s enjoyment of succulents was sparked fairly recently – at HSCSS’ 2018 show. “I was blown away by the diversity, beauty and strangeness of the collection on display,” she said. “The incredibly kind members volunteering at the show helped me select and safely package a small mammillaria to bring home, and I haven’t stopped bringing more home since.”

Hall and her husband, Matt, joined HSCSS early in 2019 and stayed with it through COVID. She has since built a small greenhouse, successfully germinated several cactus species and built a collection of 200-plus youngsters and specimens.

Her current interests include conservation and greenhouse design, and plants in the Copiapoa, Neoporteria, Opuntia and Haworthia genera. The former teacher and academic administrator also has a lifelong passion for dressage and enjoys caring for animals, home remodeling and traveling.

Lois Kennedy

Lois Kennedy and her husband, Pat, were longtime members of Henry Shaw Cactus and Succulent Society. Lois continued with the society after Pat passed away in mid-2019.

A lover of art and orchids, as well as succulents, Kennedy is in the final stages of downsizing from her Ladue home of 44 years to a smaller place. An over-busy schedule limited her ability to provide input for this article.