(Most sites and blogs put together lists of interesting sites for tips on gifts this holiday season. Let’s assume that family members and friends are already taken care of, and you yourself might need something to do through the long winter. Keep checking back every day between now and New Year’s Day, and with luck, you might find something of interest.)
I’m regularly asked if and when the Texas Triffid Ranch will start online sales of plants and arrangements, and I have to be honest. Part of the reason why the Triffid Ranch doesn’t ship plants is because most of the plants and arrangements are too large and too heavy to ship on an economic basis. It’s not fair to charge, say, $10 for a plant and then another $60 on shipping for the rest of the assemblage. The other reason, though, is that I have plenty of mentors and friends who do offer online sales, and I can’t recommend giving them your business highly enough. If asked whom I prefer, I’m going to tell the absolute truth and say “all of the above,” because each one has something to offer.
To start, just about everyone in the carnivorous plant trade owes a debt of gratitude to Peter D’Amato of California Carnivores, if only because of the seminal reference guide The Savage Garden. If you end up in the North California area next year, consider a trip to the nursery location, but also don’t be afraid to order plants all year round.
On a more personal level, I sincerely regret that I didn’t get hooked on carnivorous plants about six years earlier. This way, instead of wasting time with a writing career when living in Portland, Oregon, I’d have spent almost all of that time ransacking the inventory over at Sarracenia Northwest. While making plans for your own arrangements and displays, you might want to check out SN’s series of instructional DVDs, just to get everything ready for when you’re ready to start your plant collection.
And on the other side of the continent from these two, we have Black Jungle Terrarium Supply, in central Massachusetts. Black Jungle carries a lot of carnivores, but it also specializes in dart frogs and dart frog supplies, and a lot of fascinating non-carnivorous plants. By way of example, check out Black Jungle’s collection of ant plants (plants with specializations that encourage ants to nest inside), and if you really want something different, consider a bioluminescent mushroom kit.
With all three venues, I’ve purchased plants, including some that hold places of honor in my personal collection, and never had an issue, and I recommend all three without reservation. One day, I hope to return a tiny sliver of the goodwill and knowledge they’ve offered me, but I’m going to have to work at it.
More to follow…