Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Meeting plant friends in person

Being a person with a relatively uncommon passion, I have friends that are spread far and wide.  Very few of my plant friends live near me, with the exception of people in the Oklahoma Orchid Society.  My friends that have a passion for aroids live in different corners of the country, and also outside of the US.

At the IAS show last week, I got the opportunity to see some of my aroid friends that I had previously only corresponded with through email.  Not only did I get to see these people in person, but we got to wander around in the IAS show and look at all of the amazing plants together, siphon through the pots and decide what we were going to buy, walk through the amazing Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens and point out everything we saw with people who were genuinely as interested as we were.

Derek, me and Taylor at the IAS banquet
Banta, me, Derek and Ron Weeks
Calathea pavonii that Banta showed me
Albert among the Anthuriums

Taylor Holzer and I have traded plants and emails for a couple of years now and we have a lot of passions in common: aroids (Philodendrons, Anthuriums and many more), prayer plants (Calathea, Maranta, Ctenanthe, etc.), orchids, aquarium fish (especially cichlids), aquatic plants.  Taylor is a great guy and it was really cool to chat plants with him in person.  I'm glad that we both made it to the show this year.  Taylor attended the show last year, but this was my first time.

Derek Powazek is a new friend to me.  We have traded plants and emails for the past 6 months or so.  He is a fellow blogger and lover of a wide variety of plants, including aroids and orchids.  He is also a really great photographer.  He lives in San Francisco and made the very long trek (flight) to Miami for the show this year - also his first IAS show.

John Banta (known simply as Banta, to aroid folks) is a legend in the IAS.  He and I spent a short time chatting about our shared love of Calatheas and we took a walk through the gardens to find Calathea pavonii, which he has graciously offered to share with me, from his own collection of Marantaceae.  John led one of the talks on Saturday afternoon, which dealt with a project that Banta is leading a new project to collect data on the viability of aroid pollen with age.  If we collect pollen from our plants for use in pollinating other plants, how long can we store it before it is no longer any good?

Albert Huntington is the current Vice President of the IAS and does a ton of the legwork of the society.  He is in charge of the website and does a really great job.  Albert is always the first person I go to when I have questions about the IAS and, in this instance, when and where to be and all that good stuff for the IAS show this year.  During the show he was running around taking pictures, helping at the cash register, recording the auction sales and doing who knows what the whole time, making sure everything went off without a hitch.  We got to have dinner with Albert and discuss all sorts of fun things.

There were many others that I have emailed and finally got a chance to talk with at the meeting.  It was a great time and I am so glad I got to go this year.


  1. Yay for plant friends!

  2. [...] was attending the show, even when I kept saying no. Thanks for getting me there, Zach! You can read his reflections on the show here, along with a photo that makes me look like a [...]

  3. Oops spoke too soon, took a while to load. Nice!

  4. Thanks Zach! I sure wish I could have made in to the show, Maybe next year.