What Got You Here?

J.E. Shields jshields@indy.net
Sat, 24 Jul 2010 08:02:25 PDT
I've probably told this story before, but here is my tale:

As a kid of 9 or 10 years, I was only interested in butterflies and 
moths.  Plants were just food for Cecropia moth caterpillars, as far as I 
was concerned.  Then, in junior high school the family decided I was big 
enough to push a lawn mower so I was appointed the family gardener.  If my 
father bought a few tulip bulbs, I was the one who planted them.  When an 
old lady gave us a bunch of cuttings from her shrub roses, I got to start 
them under fruit jars.

In graduate school I was 2000 miles from home and happy not to have to mow 
grass, trim shrubs, or plant flowers.  Eventually, after a Swiss post-doc 
stint and back in the USA with a new wife, I re-discovered flowers for our 
garden apartment in Euclid, Ohio.  Apparently about 6 years of vacation 
from gardening mellowed me somewhat.  I planted Narcissus bulbs, a few 
tulips, and some bearded iris.

I actually still grow one of those irises, 'One Desire',  45 years 
later.  After moving to Indianapolis and buying a house, I retrieved some 
Ostrich Ferns and a Moss Rose from my parents home, both of which I had 
grown myself during my high school years.  I still have plants of both the 
fern and the rose here, about 60 years later.

I became interested in less hardy bulbs almost 40 years ago, starting with 
Hippeastrum and branching out into other genera and other families.  The 
obsession is currently somewhat out of hand, with three home greenhouses 
and one commercial greenhouse (2700 sq ft).  This summer, we are 
eliminating the commercial daylily beds.  The bulb collection is going to 
be slowly downsized in the next few years.

But I still have most of my butterfly collection.

Jim Shields
in very hot, very humid Westfield, Indiana

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:    http://www.shieldsgardens.com/
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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