I am not new to Carnivorous Plants, but have been out of the hobby for some time.
As a kid back in the late 60's I ordered some Venus Fly Trap bulbs from some ad in a magazine. They grew in our kitchen window in a little glass dish for a number of years, and I was hooked!
Back then, finding carnivorous plants other than flytraps was near impossible. In time I was able to find a nursery or two (like Arthur E. Allgrove) that also offered common sundews and pitcher plants, but that was pretty much all that was available at that time.
My older, college age brother learned about a local bog that was deeded to the University of Illinois, and with my prodding he agreed to take me, along with a couple of his friends, for a trek thru it one Saturday afternoon.
It was a Tamarack bog, with floating mat (peat type land, trees & vegetation float on the water!). Quite an experience, as I was young and light enough not to sink thru the floating "land". My brother and his friends however had a more difficult time, as they often hit areas where they went in like quicksand! It is quite the sight to see the trees, plants and land swaying back and forth like waves on water, as you walk along (or jump up and down)! Seeing Northern Pitcher plants, orchids and sphagnum moss all around was a real treat for me at that age.
In 1970 the bog was transferred to the conservation district and has since been developed into a preserve/park, with floating boardwalk and such.
I would spend my time at the library looking up CP's, local sites where they might (or used to) grow and spent a lot of time drooling over Paul Zahl's articles/pictures in the May '61 & '64 issues of National Geographic.
In 1971 I began contacting the states Natural Resource department and with some persistence (and getting in touch with someone wonderful willing to share information), I learned about other places nearby that hid some wonderful carnivorous plants! In addition to a few other bogs, I learned about a forest preserve not far from the city, that had some wetland areas where sundew were growing.
This was my first experience learning how to identify plants, as we could not see them until we were right on top of them! Once our eyes knew what they were seeing, we discovered we were literally surrounded by thousands of sundew!
Sadly, in years since then, the water table has changed in the area (from nearby development perhaps) and the last time I was there, all the sundew were gone and the wetlands dried up!
By the time I was 16, I began to work for a local "mom-&-pop" plant shop. I learned about "other" plants that were wonderful too and have since had a lifelong interest in plants and gardening. Finally in 1974 I got a copy of Carnivorous Plants by Randall Swartz. Again my interest was renewed, but again, finding a resource for anything beyond the common 3 (VFT, sundew and Pitcher plants) was near impossible for me. (Let alone affording anything, although that problem still exists to this day.)
Over the years on and off, I grew many CP's with mixed results. Sometime around the late 80's/early 90's I joined the ICPS for a number of years & met some generous and wonderful people thru it. As an artist (among other things, my wife and I both paint & teach art for a living now) I have donated cartoons and logo designs to the ICPS that were used in past (and present) issues of their journal and for Society Identification. (I feel honored that they chose my artwork to use!)
In the process, I met some local members who were dissolving the remainder of their collections and acquired some nice plants that I had never grown before (Cephalotus, Nepenthes hybrid....). For a time I eventually raised and sold cuttings of some of my Nepenthes to a CP Nursery I will not name, until it became more work than it was worth. This was back in the mid-late 90's and while I have since lost most all of my collection due to personal/home circumstances, to this day I still have the nepenthes plant going!
Well, that about brings me up to today. I'm no longer a member of the ICPS (right now). I have had a common VFT on the kitchen windowsill (old habit I guess), and I recently bought a sundew at a local nursery that had so many plant-lets I couldn't pass it up. I guess that sparked my interest again as I purchased a N. Bicalcarata to replace the one I had lost, and it now keeps my other Nepenthes company.
So, "Hi" to everyone! I'm here because I guess it's in my blood! It's nice to be here.
I certainly want to expand my "grow list", and will return any favors along that line if I can. Thanks for reading my rather long history and introduction. I am sure it is more than you wanted to know!
My Grow list...meager as it is:
Grow List for GrowinOld