On The Move. Again.

I’m moving the plants. Again.

You read that right. I know it was only a few months ago that I moved into this greenhouse, but as the season continued I saw that the place I am in now is less than ideal for growing — and not just that. It’s not large enough to house the Sarracenia madness. I’ve noticed that all my moves also seem to coincide with my gardens fullness. Once the garden hits full capacity, I move. Seriously. As soon as the garden is packed out, I end up getting transplanted.

From a one bedroom condo in San Francisco with tiny patio years ago that I totally packed out, to a two bedroom condo with larger patio (check out the photo to the left – that was my patio in 2005) to my childhood home home with big ol’ yard and bright ol’ light and great water that let me grow many plants, to 1500 sq foot sub par greenhouse where I am at now… oh, it never ends. It really is a wild and awesome adventure. Don’t get me wrong though. I’m still thankful. It could of been a lot worse. It’s simply – life. Yes, a few plants are doing well in these conditions – Nepenthes, Heliamphora, and Cephalotus seem happy here, so it’s not a complete loss. But it could be better. Anyway – because of my less than ideal conditions, *many* plants were lost this year – perhaps in what was my worst year ever. It happens. Trying to negotiate the challenges at the current spot with the lighting, water, air circulation, and old facilities make it, well… let’s just say “difficult” at best. On top of that, I’ve gone through so much this in the past year. Letting go of the house, moving, a drastic change in employment – life’s been interesting lately. So many times this past year I’ve thought about walking away from this passion of growing plants. Yeah, it has gotten that bad at at times. I have thought about just dropping it all — and just walking away. I don’t know if any gardeners out there have faced anything like that — but damn, I sure have. Yep. It was that depressing for me. Is it madness to continue in this direction? Maybe. I am trying not to let the fear of failure get the best of me and if this new venture doesn’t work out – hell, I at least I can say, “I tried.” Giving up on growing has crossed my mind from time to time. No lie. However, the more I think about it – spending time in the garden and doing what I do with the plants was and is my form of non-destructive therapy to cope with all this “stuff” going on. Being surrounded by this living energy and seeing things grow (even in sucky conditions) has helped me to deal with all of life’s crazy moments. Gardening is part of me and I realize there’s no way I can ever separate myself from something so woven tightly in the the fabric of my being. Even when times look so fucked up, things manage to work out one way or another. I have to remember, it will all be okay. I am thankful for the encouragement from my friends and family. So thankful to have my wife, her encouragement and her patience with me throughout it all… And I’m so very thankful for all of you readers who allow me to share some of my insane passion and my life’s garden story with you. Like I said before: my garden is a living and breathing repository where life’s events are tucked away and recorded. It is my living journal – a collection of my memories. Each plant is an icon of an event: they are the witnesses, they are the scribes, and they are the story tellers.

This dark chapter of my garden’s story is drawing to a close. The next chapter has a very bright future. I’ll keep you all updated on this transition as it happens while throwing in posts about the plants and other ventures in between all the moving updates.

Here’s a few photos from this weekend.
Yah. Here we go, again…

June Move 2012
The greenhouse I am in now is packed – you can see how crowded and colorless the plants are, and how stretched they have become. I thought this would be enough space, and I wasn’t expecting it to be this dim in the middle of the summer. The fiberglass as you can see in some of these posts, is quite old and blocks out much of the needed light.

June Move 2012Several Drosera binata’s hangin’ out. They are just OK for their condition. They are very long, and have gotten quite leggy – stretched due to the light.

June Move 2012
Still a jumbled mess ! Disorganized from the move a few months ago. Oh well. I am looking forward to rebuilding and expanding soon.

June Move 2012The Dionaea. Some of the first ones to move out of here.

June Move 2012
Hybrids toppled. This sight *irritates* me to no end.

June Move 2012
This is PAINFUL to look at. You would not believe how some of these seedlings looked last year. Now they all look compost worthy.
At the new place, I hope to nurse these babies back to their former glory and beyond.

June Move 2012
This sucks … the good news is that it will all be much better soon.

June Move 2012
Packing Pinguicula and Dionaea in my trunk…  these were the first few trays to move out.


June Move 2012This is brighter. But this is NOT the final spot I am moving to. It is simply temporary housing – a holding location – until the spot close by opens up. I am so excited to get in there and start sharing the madness with you all once again. This holding place is great because it will serve as an area to “harden” the plants off to stronger light. Plants would otherwise burn if I just moved them from the dark to the bright light…

June Move 2012
First few trays moved in at the end of the row.

June Move 2012
They look kinda lonely…

June Move 2012A new road… filled with much brighter housing!

June Move 2012Looking forward…

24 responses to “On The Move. Again.

  1. *SIGH* Such a long journey, but one worth traveling with you:) So excited for the future!!! 🙂

  2. i think anyone who has huge collections goes through burn out at least once in their lives. i bred chickens for a few years, once i was taking care of 100 adult birds and 300 chicks, it just wasn’t fun anymore. i now have 9 chickens. i did the same thing with all of my other plants, some by choice, some i was forced into. i lost my huge collection of 800+ orchids when the greenhouse froze. i was so discouraged that i swore i’d never buy another one. five years later i have around 30. i’m now experiencing burnout with daylilies. i have 1200+ registered cultivars and around 10000 seedlings. it’s just not fun anymore, so i’ve been trying to pare it down. when moving and dividing clumps, i’ve found that due to heaving, animals or children, 2/3’s no longer have tags and i won’t know what anything is until it blooms and i failed to make accurate updated maps. i’m afraid i’m going to do the same thing with the sarrs. i get it dude, but would could you really walk away, would you be happy?

    • Exactly! I haven’t reached the point where I was tired of the plants, per se – it was more of life’s circumstances just getting in the way of the growing. I love spending time working with the plants, and haven’t gotten tired yet! Just wait – lot’s of awesomeness to follow in the months ahead. I’m very excited and am thankful that this opportunity opened up! The chicken breeding sounds interesting by the way — and dude, 1200+ cultivars?! INSANITY!!

  3. You are lucky to have Dahlia and her support as well as that of friends who will haul all of those out again and help you take them to their next (not final) destination.

    • Thanks Bom. Truly I’m blessed. The holding spot is a great way for the babies to harden off to the light. But next year, I’m really expecting great things! 🙂 Can’t wait to share once it all goes through!

  4. i do nothing half assed. all or nothing, which is probably why i end up switching to something new every five or so years. i went from six sarrs to around 150 this spring. i really think i may have a problem, lol

  5. Robert, Robert, oh Robert….what can I tell you that you aren’t already learning?! Let’s just say, you are not alone. Anyone who has explored horticulture obsessively finds themselves in this place eventually. Fifteen years I spent acquiring and hybridizing roses, and with over 4000 distinct cultivars still in the collection, they have far outstripped my ability to care for them all. I am now working to reduce the volume to a maximum of 10% of what’s here now. Maybe next year I will halve it again. You cant love what you can’t care for, so you shrink it down till its loveable again.
    A year from now this will be a distant, dark memory, the tale of which you will tell with grim ardor!

    • Thanks Paul! I find myself in admiration of folks like you and other great gardeners and growers who have traveled this road before me and draw upon their wisdom and guidance. Thank you for that! 🙂 I will remember this post and your comment a year from now and circle back and see where we will be. 🙂 Exciting times ahead!

  6. Damn Rob-in reference to the last picture, are we soon going to have to “fear the beard?” that new spot looks awesome-can’t wait to see how they do up in there!

  7. Rob, I can certainly sympathize and identify with your situation. I was up to plant numbers in the thousands, and now am down to a few mere handfuls. First to go were all the select clones of my own breeding and all the rare endangered forms and varieties as would be the general course of my heartbreak. I invested thousands of dollars, countless hours, and sacrificed many opportunities to spend time with friends and vacation. I began to feel overwhelmed and when work or health prevented me to interact with my plants, the plants, too, suffered the ultimate price. While the central valley seemed an unsuitable climate for growing my precious beauties, the southern California inland valleys proved even more inhospitable.

    As others before me have said, moderation is key. I have photos to remember my “kids” by and pride in knowing that my babies are alive and well since I dispersed them amongst other growers coast to coast. I sometimes marvel at how a parent penguin can distinguish it’s chick from a sea of seemingly identical chicks. Until I see a photo of a plant I once cared for and then I “get” it. You will in time reach your happy balance and have plenty of us out here that support and appreciate your efforts in keeping the passion for your plants alive. Your photographic abilities are far superior to anything I could ever aspire to possess. Keeping this public journal and your catalog of photos will keep your collection “alive” and inspire the next generation of carnivorous plant growers to enter the “obsession”, I mean hobby, of raising and cultivating these captivating carnivores. Keep the dream alive and best of luck!

    • Hey Dom! Thank you so much for your support, insight, and words of wisdom and encouragement. I know what you mean and I am honored to hold one of your babies here with me – S. “Bengal Tiger” is doing well for what it’s worth. I was talking to a good friend of mine this evening about all this craziness and he mentioned something that I hope would be true – that if I’m able to stick this craziness out there will be some stability. I believe that this next place will afford me that “happy medium” for growing. 🙂 Hope you are well my friend. It’s great to hear from you and again thank you once again for your kind words. I really appreciate it!

  8. Rob,I see what you mean about the light in the new(OLD) greenhouse,everything looks the same!
    Better luck in your new place,it already looks much lighter in the holding area.
    I felt the same a while back after loosing 70plus seed grown plants due to prolonged cold in the winter(-17)i lost nearly all my psittacina and minors and thought about giving up growing.
    It just refocuses you,i decided not to try and replace these plants but to grow better clones more suited to my growing conditions.
    I still have to let go of all my s.rubra collection but this will give me the space to grow all my selected sarra seeds and allow me to expand my AF seed obsesion.Its just another road that life makes us take.Hang on in there mate,in a few months it will just be a memory you can look back on and smile.

    • Thank you Sir! Yes, most plants look the same – only a very few are exhibiting some color. The holding area is bright but I can’t wait to share what it is like at their final spot. It will be amazing and as a friend of mine was telling me last night – this new spot will provide the plants some stability for the next few years.

      You are correct – and that’s what I’m finding myself doing: refocusing. In my move from my house, I let go of over half of my garden. My bamboos, my Dahlia collection, and many many other plants. I’m happy to see those plants thrive at their new owner’s place though – sharing and spreading those memories among others who love to grow. Thanks again for your kind words and encouragement, it really means a lot!

  9. I wish you much luck with your future move and endeavors. Even the new holding spot looks 10x better then your previous location. Im sure everything will be much happier there.

    • Hi Brie! Thanks so much. Can’t wait to finish this particular move – it will be A W E S O M E – and that means more awesome plants I can share with everyone else! 🙂

  10. Good luck with yet another move, Rob! I still can’t forget shipping all of my CPs across the country six months ago from CA to NY. That was a serious pain in the a$$. Hopefully this new spot will suit your needs much better.

  11. I helped with the moving of CA Carnivores off the hill to the “new”place Two thiings that I won’ t ever do again. Being invoved in the opening a new hospital or move a nursery.LOL
    Dom,I still have a lot of your babies,too
    I am trying to downsize my cp collection so I can focus on my new lily obsession day and asiatic
    When can I come see the new place?

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