What Got You Here?

Dan Hubik dan@hubik.com
Sat, 24 Jul 2010 21:36:01 PDT
This is a great thread. It is encouraging to read everyone else's stories 
and hear about how a lot of you also developed an interest from an early 
age. I certainly was considered somewhat 'special' for being so interested 
in gardening when younger!

My name is Dan Hubik and I am a 27 year old doctor from Melbourne, 

I have been interested in gardening and horticulture for almost as long as I 
can remember. I was introduced by my grandmother who was a keen gardener and 
had a large vegetable garden. She taught me how to grow plants from seed 
(such as cucumbers) in the garden which I loved. From this point on I was 

When younger, instead of having a tree house I built a play nursery from 
spare wood that we had lying around the house and sold plants to neigbours 
and friends. I loved the idea of propagating plants and remember borrowing 
books on this from the library and propagating whatever I could get my hands 
on. I also developed an interest in bulbs and used to order many different 
types of bulbs - tulips, daffodils, freesias, hyacinths from mail order bulb 
companies. A trip to one of the many nurseries around my area was certainly 
a great experience. My favourite shows on TV at the time were 'Gardening 
Australia' and 'Burke's Backyard'.

At about 12 years old (grade 7 at school) I developed a love of Bonsai as I 
was studying Japanese at the time. Shortly after this time I started up my 
own website on the subject - http://www.bonsaisite.com/ - which has become very 
popular and now sits as number 2 on google for 'bonsai' (only secondary to 
the wikipedia entry). I also have many of my own bonsai today, however this 
has taken a step back in favour of my other horticultural pursuits.

My interest in Hippeastrum took a bit longer to develop. I had seen some 
hippeastrum flowers (Apple Blossom) that my mother had bought and marveled 
at how amazing they were. Later when I went to the Tesselaar tulip festival 
in the Melbourne Dandenongs I saw these bulbs on special so managed to get 
two at a discount price. For a while these bulbs hardly flowered (mainly due 
to a neglect) and my dad actually planted them in the garden thinking that 
they were Agapanthus! A few years later I saved these and planted them in 
separate pots. They're now prolific flowers and I have about 30 good-sized 
bulbs in total.

After this I started purchasing Hippeastrum bulbs from Maguire's and also 
eBay. I have quite a few hybrid hippeastrum now but have changed my focus to 
collecting species Hippeastrum. I have been able to purchase H. papilio and 
H. reticulatum bulbs here but have had to start others from seed imported 
from overseas as Australian customs generally don't allow the importation of 
bulbs without huge fees for quarantine. I have about 12 species total now 
but keen to collect more, which is why the PBS list and seed exchange is so 

In the years to come I hope to have enough money to buy some land to put a 
large greenhouse on and grow a large collection of species hippeastrum. I 
might then be able to make some interesting new hybrids. I figure that I 
certainly have time on my hands given my age. I'll have to have a think 
about what trait I might breed towards. A true blue hippeastrum perhaps? (I 
also have Worsleya procera but my main focus is on not killing them at this 


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