This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

November 12, 2014

The amazing world of rare plant collectors

I have always loved beautiful gardens. I feel better around plants. During my more stressful years working at the bank, I would often just stop at a nursery on my way home and just wander around. Over the years I've found that pottering around in my garden is very therapeutic for me. And I love to experiment with different plants to see how they do here in the desert. My friends always considered me to be obsessed with plants, and when I left the bank, and got a lunchtime *roast* from my friends in the marketing department, one of the things I remember is my friends joking that I *lived by photosynthesis*.

And then I got involved with the Arizona Palm and Cycad Association. It's a gardening group, but don't jump to the conclusion that it's a bunch of little old ladies with petunias. It's a group of mostly middle-aged guys, like me (and we'll call ourselves that until we're 100) who have an interest in collecting rare plants.

The plants that I am most interested are cycads. For me, I just wanted to have a tropical paradise effect in my tiny backyard, and palm trees are just too big, and ferns won't grow here. What I was interested in was getting information on how to successfully grow them, and not just in California, but in the Sonoran Desert. And the group that formed introduced me to the greatest experts that you could possibly imagine.

I've known a lot of people who collect things, from baseball cards to vintage automobiles. And it's always the same - there seems to be a inborn desire of collectors to want to collect everything. I've visited people whose garages are bursting with classic cars, and people whose gardens have so many rare plants that you don't know where to look.

As a graphic designer and webby kind of guy, I volunteered to be the web master for the group. And though I encouraged members to write articles and take photos, I never really got much. So after a few years I decided to write my own page, from my perspective, for beginners like me. And then I moved it over to Blogger, which is where you are now.
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