New Member, Introduction
Thu, 15 Jan 2004 06:14:00 PST

Thanks to all the wonderful members who have taken time to correspond with me 
before I was "official."  I do enjoy plants and learning about them, but find 
I'm a haphazard gardener.  I can kill off entire trays of seedlings by 
forgetting their water, or placing them in too-hot sun.

I don't grow too many bulbs, but am trying to fix that.  Some on this list 
have been kind enough to send seeds (thanks Robb).  I think I enjoy seed 
propagation as much as any other part of the hobby, maybe more.  Here in greater 
Houston, TX area I find that many plants will grow outside, but many more insist 
on pot culture--they get stored dry and dormant in their off season.  The 
problem here is wetness more than cold, so I store them in the laundry room rather 
than the garage with its swings of humidity.  

I have been pleasantly surprised to find that methods I use to grow cacti and 
succulents work fine for some bulbs.  I mix up soils with 80% 
pumice/sand/perlite or sometimes even 90%.  I leave agaves and cacti outside all year in 
pots, never providing extra water, they thrive if they have excellent drainage.  
I'm just beginning to try such an approach for xeric bulbs (Dave at the African 
Garden has provided some advice).

I'm a plant pathologist by training, a botanist in my "first" career and now 
I work on various mammalian genomes in the biotech industry.  My hobbies 
include "stalking" and growing native USA plants and plants from Mexico.  I have 2 
Chihuahuas (silly animals, but affectionate), and my companion wishes nothing 
to do with plants.  My most serious bulb pest (in terms of theoretically 
possible damage) is the armadillo.  They can root up parking lot-sized patches 
overnight, or tip over very large pots.  

My special project this year has been to locate and characterize native Texas 
populations of Hymenocallis (mostly liriosme).  I've yet to locate H. 
galvestonensis.  Jim Shields has offered to help preserve Hymenocallis germplasm, so 
many of the populations of this variable plant are being lost to development.  
Alan Merow has indicated a willingness to undertake karyotyping and DNA 


Joe Shaw
Conroe TX, zone 9

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