A quick signal interrupt, and an excuse for my fellow Dallasites to stay as far away from the Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day parade as possible. (Dallas is particularly good at turning ethnic Catholic holidays of celebration and glee into excuses for Anglo Protestants to feed vast rivers of booze vomit running through our streets, which is why you avoid Greenville Avenue at all costs on St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo.) For the last several years, I’ve had to skip out on the legendary Gunter’s Orchids open houses in Richardson because the open houses coincided with my first spring show at All-Con. Not that I’d tell you to skip out on All-Con for any reason (especially since the dealers, particularly Tawanda Jewelry, will appreciate the attention), but my not having a booth means that I’m free to head out for the open house. Much to its credit, when the florist company Dr. Delphinium bought out Gunter’s two years ago, the old traditions remain, and Dr. Delphinium hosts its open house this Friday through Sunday at its Richardson location. This means lots and lots of freshly-blooming orchids, and you might even luck out and see the revived Tahitian vanilla orchid in full bloom.
Me, I’ll be out there on Saturday at around noon, so anyone who wants to join me is welcome to do so. If you can’t, well, I’ll get plenty of pictures. One way or another, see you then.
More photos from Texas Frightmare Weekend 2012. As can be told, Frightmare has a lot more new and returning carnivorous plant enthusiasts than I realized.
One person in particular struck a chord, because just about everyone who regularly goes to conventions has been in her situation. This young lady came by to take a look at the plants on Saturday morning, and fell in love with the spoonleaf sundew (Drosera spatulata). Unfortunately, she related that money was really tight, and that she had enough left either to buy a sundew or to get back home on Sunday. I asked “So where’s home?”, and she told me “Norman, Oklahoma.” Since that’s also home to a very dear friend from high school and the Sam Noble Museum, I knew exactly how far she’d had to travel, and I told her that there was no way I’d take her money if it meant she’d be stuck.
Instead, I told her “I take photos of folks who buy plants, and I’ll put you in the gallery under ‘Next Time, Maybe?'”
Well, Sunday came, and she took a look at one particular sundew arrangement. Lots of sighing, and I knew that sigh. That wasn’t a sigh of “Oh, if only someone gave me something for free.” That was a sigh of “If I knew a place that bought kidneys in Dallas on a Sunday, I’d cash one in right now.” Count this one as a raincheck, kiddo. Just come back in 2013 and let me know how it’s doing, and consider buying a couple of companions when you have the cash, okay?
And that’s it for 2012. Next year, I’m definitely getting a decent lighting rig for the camera, and trying this again.
A quick note due to various obligations, but let’s just say that the next few weeks promise a reprieve from winter blues if you live in the Dallas area. And if you don’t, what’s stopping you from moving in?
Anyway, the first item of business involves livening up the winter diet, and there’s no better way than with items spicy enough to peel the enamel off your teeth in big floppy strips. This is why we have ZestFest at the Irving Convention Center this weekend. Aside from haranguing the crew at Defcon Sauces for Habby Horse sauce in 55-gallon drums (it just doesn’t last long enough in my house in any smaller container), it’s time to see what new plants and new condiments are due from the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University. Anybody who’d develop the “NuMex Halloween” deserves some additional consideration.
Secondly, the first Triffid Ranch show of the season is scheduled for ConDFW on the weekend of February 17 through the 19th, so of course a show of equal interest runs at the same time. Namely, the big ReptiCon Dallas reptile and amphibian show in Ennis. The only thing I can say is that while ReptiCon Dallas promises venomous reptiles on display, ConDFW has the works of famed palaeoartist William Stout on display. The only wise option, of course, is to come out to both. (We have the same conflict between a show at All-Con the weekend of March 16 and the big Fort Worth Orchid Society sale at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, so this is par for the course.)
Thirdly, I don’t have any particular details until after 4:00 Central Standard Time on January 26, but I should soon enough for a new event at the Dallas Arboretum. Just don’t let the Czarina know, unless you like hearing her squeal like a little girl. I imagine a lot of other people will do so as well, once they hear the news.
And lastly, it features a new hotel, with much easier access to DFW Airport. A new lineup of guests. A HUGE new dealer’s room. If you don’t get your tickets to Texas Frightmare Weekend, you’re going to miss out, and not just on new Triffid Ranch specials. Carnivorous plants and horror conventions go together like vanilla orchids and cacao, and I just might have a few examples of both this year. Get your hotel space now, or forever hold your peace.
As of Saturday night, the official Triffid Ranch show season ended for the year. This doesn’t mean that individual events and opportunities won’t open up between now and December 31, or that folks in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex can’t order custom arrangements. It just means that the next next big Triffid Ranch event, at ConDFW in Dallas, starts on February 17. As always, keep an eye on the main Triffid Ranch site for updates and revisions.
As for the MetroPCS Fair Park Holiday show last Saturday, let’s focus on the positives. We met a lot of very interesting folks, including one very considerate woman from Chicago (who unfortunately left without giving a name) who reminded me of why I miss Chicago at times. It may be time for a road trip up that way before too long.
For the most part, this weekend is the one I recommend as Dormancy Day for anyone keeping temperate-climate carnivorous plants in North Texas. Temperate carnivores, particularly Venus flytraps and Sarracenia pitcher plants, are already battening down for the winter, and will remain so until at least the middle of March. Now’s the time to put them to bed, or at least a place where they can get outdoor temperatures and photoperiods, and leave them there until St. Patrick’s Day.
For the tropical carnivores, though, they get one more big show before the end of the year. This Saturday, look for the Triffid Ranch booth at the MetroPCS Fair Park Holiday in Dallas’s Fair Park, benefiting the Friends of Fair Park. I don’t know exactly where we’ll be located, but we’ll be in the Holiday Gift Market between 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
After that, the next Triffid Ranch shows will be in 2012, starting with ConDFW the weekend of February 17. For the rest of the year, please feel free to keep tabs via the Upcoming Events and Past Press page on the main Web site. And now, back to getting ready for this coming Saturday.
I’ll have pictures from this weekend’s Discovery Days: Discovering Reptiles & Other Critters event at the Museum of Nature & Science after we’re done, but now it’s time to go back. Saturday’s crowd was extremely impressive, with a lot of kids stopping by on their way to see the mineral or light exhibits, and a lot of parents coming back after taking their very young kids to see the Bob the Builder Project: Build It! exhibit. (The only issue so far, and it’s really minor, is that the Triffid Ranch booth is right next to a big Bob the Builder display, with a motion sensor that makes Bob utter three inspiring messages when people walk by. The motion sensor was apparently damaged a while back by well-meaning kids walking on the display, so Bob goes off randomly, all day long. In other words, he’s just like me. Interestingly, a few buzzes with my scorpion detector, brought specifically to light up plant structures with UV, and Bob quiets down for a while.) Either way, everybody’s having a blast.
Although this has been like a typical show, where I’ve rarely left the booth, this encourages me to do more reptile shows. In particular, the turtle exhibit on the ground floor is full of the expected wonders, including softshell turtles and a huge Sulcata tortoise that begs for romaine lettuce. I won’t be ready for a big show right away, such as next February’s North American Reptile Breeders Conference show in Arlington, but I’m definitely getting lined up for the 2013 show. In the meantime, if the folks at the Museum want me to come back next year, or to participate in any of the Beer & Bones evening shows for adults, I’d have to be an idiot to say “no”.
The rest of October is going to be relatively quiet for the Triffid Ranch, but things start livening up in November. Specifically, four weeks from this coming Saturday, come out to the Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas’s Fair Park for its “Discovery Days: Discovering Reptiles & Other Critters” exhibition. And before you ask, just because it’s listed as a kid’s event doesn’t mean you have to be one to show up. If you’re really self-conscious about asking questions around a herd of sharp-as-whips third graders, don’t feel badly: I’m going to be the target.
As to why carnivorous plants should be included in an exhibition on reptiles and amphibians, well, I have a secret. If you’re unfamiliar with the Borneo pitcher plant Nepenthes ampullaria, this should be your chance to see the one known carnivorous plant that acts as a frog tadpole nursery. And if that doesn’t intrigue you, I’ve got nuthin’.