- that so many others share the interest I have in this fascinating and amazing group of plants.
I remember a little from when I was very young, less than four years old. Actually a collection of many little memories. Some of the things I remember are, watching a toad (I called it a "hoppy toad") that lived under our front concrete pourch steps, bunny rabbits that snacked on the dandelions in our front yard, robins pulling earth worms from the early morning lawn. I remember our next door neighbor farming potatoes between our place and theirs, tadpoles, crawdads, and bluegill in the creek in the front, the bridge of logs (like a raft), that bridged the creek so we could get to the road. I remember gypsy moth invasions, and invasions of black snakes, my dad and uncle butchering a snapping turtle on our back porch. I remember how I was fascinated by my baby sitter snapping her fingers as she listened to music and danced - how I pestered her until she taught me how to do it too. I remember lots of little, isolated snips, memories of things that fascinated me then, and some things that still do now.
Later, after I was a little older, I remember how I have always been fascinated with nature, and especially, plants. Animals are interesting, but I too am an animal, and most of the things animals do, I was already familiar with, so animals were interesting, but plants, now plants were familiar, yet still very mysterious. I remember how I was in grade school and developing a collection of orchids. How I was a member of the Orange County Orchid Society and attended monthly meetings. I remember learning to grow an organic garden in my back yard. To keep honey bees, raise chickens and rabbits (and how to dress them for dinner)... and how to hatch eggs and start another generation.
Then, one night after the library had already closed, and I was still waiting for my mother to pick me up, I went next door to a building supply store which had an outdoor garden department. In that outdoor garden center they had a small package for sale of, what they called Venus's Fly Traps. I purchased me one of these packages, took it home and tried to grow it. I was thirteen years old (1969). I had some limited success, but I did fail initially. Later I wrote to the company that had produced this product. I discovered there were other plants that also captured and ate insects. My CP addiction was now full-blown, though surprisingly it has continued to grow.
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You may wonder why I said the preceeding:
It is because I have a passion to grow plants, and to watch how they change through their entire life cycles. To be involved in the lives of the plants, and learn how to provide them as optimal an environment as I am capable of. It is quite emotionally rewarding to be able to create a suitable, balanced environment, using available resources, providing them to the plants in just the right amounts.
I have this voice inside me that keeps telling me to expand my collection. And another voice that says, "that's more than you have the time and resources to care for". So I try to pick only the plants that I find most desirable -- plants I feel are attractive, and personally challenging. If I, somehow, won the lottery, or otherwise found myself with extremely expanded material resources, I would definitely be able to expand my collection into its own botanical garden, similar to what happened to create the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Dreams are dreams, and the best we can do is to nurture and nourish them so they can develop to their full potential. It is my desire that all of our best dreams will find the "environmental" resources to flourish and grow.
I am most interested in plants, and particularly CP, but my current resources limit me, so I have forced myself to narrow my focus. I decided to focus on Pinguicula and particularly tropical Pinguicula, the majority of which originate in Mexico. I chose this group of CP for several reasons: 1) despite reading everything about them in the popular CP literature, I still couldn't get a good idea as to what size each species typically was (would I need 2" pots or 6" pots for them, I couldn't tell); 2) it was also vague as to what balance of environmental factors was optimum for growth and health; 3) I believed (true or not) that they were under-represented in collections of CP; 4) they are handsome plants, with flowers as attractive, or even more so, than African Violets - with even more potential for the development of hybrids.
I believe I did the right thing for me and my dreams. I now have a very good idea what most of the Mexican Pinguicula look like, how they grow. Thanks to CP computer forums, I did discover that there are more people growing this group than I had realized. I hope, too, that I helped inspire even more people to grow this group of CP.
It inspires me to see how other people seem to have their own impassioned dreams, similar to my own, inspiring them to grow, propagate, and promulgate these fascinating plants.