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Damptov Dave
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:58 am
Location: Hampshire UK

New member - Hello

Post by Damptov Dave » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:00 am

My name is Dave and I live down the bottom of the UK in Chandler's Ford, Hampshire.
I started growing exotics about 40 years ago, and have always been slightly obsessed with banana plants. Over the years I've spread my interest to things like aroids, gingers, cannas, bamboos, palms and many others. Some we stick with and some are a transient challenge that once we've grown for a while we lose interest in, and let the first frosts get to. Current frustrations and obsessions are Manihot Grahamii and Esculenta, Solanum Chrysotrichum and Pyracanthum. The Manihots are proving difficult, so hoping I may pick up some encouraging advice here. Am also lucky enough to own a couple of the newish giant-sized Zantedeschia Hercules chaps, which arew trouble free and a must-have plant for a big leaf fan.
My only (and probably dreadfully underwhelming) claim to fame is that many years ago, when the Eden Project was still a twinkle in an old china clay mine's eye, I was friendly with a wonderful lady called Frances who ran the tiny plant sales shed at the fledgling Lost Gardens Of Heligan, and lived in the manor house apartments. I asked her if they would be needing plants for the new biomes, some way off yet, and she said yes. So I took a few lovelies down the 200 miles to St Austell in Cornwall and left them at the Watering Lane Nursery where they were storing plants in readiness. One of them was the wonderful - and at the time extremely rare - Ensete Maurellii. In those days you acquired plants like that a) by pure good fortune, and b) by being in contact with another subversive exoticist or collector. There was no internet to speak of, so buying anything other than the usual tedious bedding plants was difficult. It was a vastly different life being an exoticist back then, more similar to that of the great plant hunters than the simple act of online shopping for the more unusual today. You could get lists of wierd and wonderful seeds available from Africa or the Caribbean, but as for finding pictures of the sought-after item, well that was almost impossible. Anyway, the Maurellii back then was far more rare than even the Siam Ruby is today.
It was therefore a delight to finally visit the newly opened Eden Project and see 'my' E. Maurellii in the tropical biome, having the time of its life, wearing the little tag I'd made for it.
How times change, as nowadays they could have simply wandered down to their nearest petrol station forecourt and bought one for under a tenner, and I sometimes wonder if a plant is devalued by being available everywhere, or if it's a good thing that means we obsessives can concentrate on the really rare, really frustrating stuff, like trying to germinate Musa Ingens or get a plant to grow from a breadfruit root cutting or a Manihot twig.
Thank you for letting me join the group.

Posts: 193
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:09 pm
Location: Rotherham / Sheffield

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Post by Chez2 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:50 pm

Hello. We started with tropical plants around 2001. We used the Internet but you are right, not much on line back then. We visited a few specialist nurseries in person.

We visited the Eden project around its first birthday and I were really underwhelmed. I don't know if thats because I had spent holidays in tropical areas and had some tropical plants myself or what. It was fairly quiet but I still didn't get to see that much. I often wonder how it has developed after the first year.

Well done on your Ensete.

chainsaw kid
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Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:00 pm
Location: ll39 1bjArthog

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Post by chainsaw kid » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:59 pm

Welcome Dave, times have certainly changed since then. Chez you should try another visit it has matured somewhat since you went! I like to pay visit to Treseeders nursery if I'm down that way, well worth a look. icon_thumright
Don't Just sit there, plant something!

The Kid.

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Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:38 pm
Location: London

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Post by GREVILLEAJ » Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:51 pm

Wecome to HTUK, Dave. Can see you are a big leaf fan.

One of the longest welcome introductions but then you have 40 years experience :wink: Share them all with us icon_thumright

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