First mailing

Alberto Castillo
Sun, 11 Aug 2002 18:02:20 PDT
Dear All:
               It is good to be in this forum with such a varied attendance. 
I started collecting bulbs (and breeding pheasants) as a teenager. There 
were a few bulb fanciers here in Buenos Aires at that time and they were 
generous with their knowlledge. Finally I got in contact with growers of 
California and elsewhere and spurred by their interest in our almost unknown 
bulbs I tried to collect them. To my surprise, most were rare and difficult 
to find. Then started a most rewarding and exciting part of my life as a 

I started making collecting trips in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay 
and Southern Brazil in search of the plants. Realizing how scarce they were 
I started a project that proved immensely successsful. The reasoning behind 
it was: Who will care to come deplete wild populations if they receive the 
seed for free? So I started giving seed of South American species for free 
on a bona fide basis to anyone requesting them. Most of those asking for 
them were wonderful people and supplied heaps of common and uncommon bulbs 
of all kinds. Most collecting trips in the wild anywhere in the world at 
that time yielded bulbs to be tried here. 

Thus the bulb collection became huge, of all origins with two full time garden helpers and myself caring for it. The South African section alone comprised 700 species. I found myself growing all sorts of bulbous plants and gaining an invaluable  experience. The collection was appointed a Botanical Garden in 1988. I became a member of the Board of International Bulb Society. Collecting trips in the wild were four or five a year, most fruitless as certain species were very rare and could never be found. Years after, things are different now but most of the.collection still remains as a Botanical Garden,

 I am a member of the Board of the Argentinian Botanical Gardens Network. The seed is given for free to IBS and to bulb friends. We resumed collecting trips in 2000 with the University and more and more species were added. We plan to rebuild the collection to its former numbers, particularly the South African section. The South American holdings comprises plants sampled from 270 populations of different species in the wild. We work with two National Collections in England: that of Sisyrinchium and tigridioids and that of Ipheion. I am a member of the Australian Bulb Association and now of PBS where I am sure a lot of bulb action is taking place.

Kind regards
Alberto Castillo

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