We arrived too late to experience the show part of the meeting and too|
early for the banquet. We wandered around looking for some IAS authority
and found a darkened room filled with an assortment of display plants. We
could see through the gloom that some were obviously rare and attractive.
Others were not so obviously rare, but were also attractive. The quality
of the plants was very high.
We continued our perigrinations for a bit until we saw two individuals
outside the display. "Would either of you happen to be aroid people?", I
asked. We were immediately warmly received by who we found out were Ron
Weeks and Derek Burch. Ron and Derek then took us back into the darkened
display area, switched on the lights, and gave us an enthusiastic tour,
Pretty soon it was time to begin assembling for the banquet. We bought a
second ticket for my guest and made our way to the designated room
accompanied by Ron and Derek. After a little chitchat with other folks Ron
came in again and ushered us into The Presence. There he was, the famous
Julius Boos, looking faintly like an off-duty Santa.
I was bold. "OK, Julius, say it for me: chubas." "Chubas, mon!," he said,
with a hearty laugh. We then related the heartwarming chubas story to my
friend, who turned out to live less than a mile from where Julius works.
The world is filled with coincidences.
Then Julius spirited me back into the display area to show me a special
Philodendron and a few other aroids of interest to him, some with chubas,
some without. Julius, in case you know him only from the list, is an
ebullient person and has a ready manner with newcomers to the art of
plants. Come to think of it, Julius is that way in his writing as well.
Next it was a treat for me to meet and speak with Steve Lucas. I have been
a fan of his postings and in person he is just as intense and articulate
as he is on-line. I suppose it's a compliment to reveal that he is older
in person than I expected. He has a muscular writing style that made me
think he was maybe in his 30s. As it is he is a seasoned person with the
clarity of wit of a younger man.
Then came Leland Miyano, the featured speaker and traveller from afar.
Leland was embarrassed, I think, to hear that his speaking was one of the
main motivations for my coming to the show. But he did not disappoint me.
His slides and narration were a thing to experience and worth the trip all
by themselves. The range of topics drifted from aroids many times. I
wanted to be back on the internet where they have those little highlighted
words that you can click on to receive more information. Fossil moa birds
from Hawaii. Click. Rare palm trees rediscovered. Click. The completely
unexpected section along the Atlantic coast of Brazil, where the sun bakes
down on what we would call badlands. Click. Unknown aroids that survive
this climate that would mummify a person in two hours. Click. Frogs that
ooze foam and make one delirious. Click. Roberto Burle Marx. Click.
My plant-innocent friend found Leland's presentation tremendously
It was unfortunate that I didn't budget more time to visit. But I had to
be off first thing the next morning to the Florida gulf coast. While there
I was inspired by Leland to find a few new aroid species on my own. What's
the big deal?, I wondered. Leland made it look easy. So off I went into
some of Florida's many overgrown areas, fully expecting to make a name for
myself with at least one species new to science. But lo, it's harder than
it looks. After a couple of hours I did manage to come across some Pistia.
But I am doubtful that they would be of interest to Dr. Croat. They
appeared to be the same Pistia found everywhere in Florida by the ton. Let
me know if I'm wrong; I still know how to find them again. I also found a
small cluster of palms I was sure was a new species. But I mentally
channelled Julius and he informed me by telepathy that they were plain
palmetto palms. Like I said, it's not as easy as it seems.
At least I avoided the wonderful stingless bees that seem to have been a
favorite of Leland when in Brazil. Or maybe it's more accurate to say the
Leland was a favorite of the bees.
I have some resolutions I can recommend to others. Maybe you have thought
about attending but wonder how someone not at the A-list level of aroid
horticulture might be received. First, you will be welcome regardless of
your experience. Second, plan to spend some time in the exhibit area as
well as the banquet and auction. If you are curious and have questions,
this is where to get answers. Also, the breadth of plant knowledge extends
to beyond aroids. People at the show seem to know about lots of kinds of
plants. Third, bring a plant. If you have several, bring them for the show
and to donate for the auction. Especially if the plant is weird or unusual
you won't find any better audience than this. Fourth, bring some money and
bid on some rare plants or buy them from the helpful vendors.
And for those of you that are not members, join the IAS.
Ted. The one from Detroit.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...