Monday, November 8, 2010

How I got started

The following is my entry for participation in the EtsyCREST Blog Carnival, Nov 2010. The prompt is, "How did you get started in your art/craft?"

Cirrhopetalum Elizabeth Ann 'Jean'As many of you are already aware, I'm involved in a variety of endeavors, but my main thing is still plants, primarily orchids. I've been interested in horticulture since I was a kid, dazzled by my Granddad's enormous houseplants and extensive vegetable garden. I grew a number of things, and still have a few of the Dracaenas I got back then as wee cuttings. They're shrubs now. By the way, if you have one of these and it doesn't do much for you, try moving it (gradually) to a very bright South-facing window. These things are trees in the wild.

But I digress. I would page through and read generic houseplant books, making lists of things I'd like to try. Orchids seemed the gold standard. They have that reputation of being a challenge, but the promise of spectacular success is unrivaled - large, long lasting flowers in a variety of shapes and colors. Little did I know just how much variety.

I received my first orchid as a gift, which died a spectacular death of rot as a result of bad advice. As a plant enthusiast, I had to try again, this time armed with better resources. As luck improved, so did the desire for more plants and information, as is so often the case. While in college, I joined AOS and began attending NCOS meetings, and you could often find me on the weekends at Arbec Orchids. Working at Arbec resulted in an exponential increase in orchid-growing experience and trivia, including some tutelage from Roger Cole in orchid breeding techniques and lore.

Arbec has since moved and become a smaller business selling only at markets and shows, but some of you will still see evidence of it in my plants as I still have a couple rolls of the outdated Arbec plant tags... I really should get my own.

My research projects in college and for several years after focused on plant gene expression, providing handy access to laboratories with quality equipment and the experience for sterile culture. Given that I always enjoyed growing things from seed, the next logical step then seemed to try growing orchids from seed.

These days I have moved on to work on bacterial pathogens, but the clandestine Friday night use of the labs for orchid seed sowing is simply accepted as one of my quirks. My house is crammed with plants, and these days, flasks and young seedlings.

Are you looking to get started with orchids? Here's some orchid culture articles to get you started, and always feel free to drop me a line through Etsy or by email!

See how my other teammates got started:
The Dragon Nthly
raine studios
Birch Tree Jewelry
Twisted Cow
CT2 Designs
Sandi Volpe
Sew Artsy Amy
Purple Clover Art
Turquoise Angels
Of Cats and Crafts


SewArtsy said...

These are amazing plants! Glad to know someone with such a passion for them!

Turquoise Angels said...

I am impressed. What beauty. I am afraid I do not have a green thumb I did not get any of my grandfathers genes he owned a pick your own Fruits, Vegatables and flower farm. I worked there in the summers as a child but I did not allowed to touch the flowers.