That summer, I spotted VFTs for sale at Lowe's, and I managed to persuade my parents to buy me one. I had a great time feeding it ants and watching the traps send the insects to their doom. There's just something incredibly cool about watching a plant eat an animal. Most people think of plants in the traditional sense: slow, helpless, and perhaps even boring. CPs shatter those perceptions. I was hooked.
Sadly, Mr. Fang (as I called my VFT) eventually died after a few months and the ant problem in my parents' house never truly went away. Now, nearly two decades later, I've finally jumped back into the hobby. This time, armed with the knowledge gleaned from Peter D'Amoto's incredible book, The Savage Garden, I've become a proud owner of three healthy, fun carnivorous plants that I've had since June: a tropical pitcher plant, a Mexican butterwort, and a cape sundew. And none of them have died! It's a minor miracle. I've been growing my plants on a sunny windowsill during the summer (my apartment has no private outdoor space), and now with winter here, I've placed them into a terrarium to maintain some humidity and provide plenty of light. Of course, nothing beats real sunlight, but the plants seem to be doing incredibly well under the florescent bulbs I purchased. I don't get many bugs in my apartment (thank god or I would have to buy an iguana), so my plants get fed freeze-dried bloodworms. These can be found in almost any pet store, as they are a favorite food for beta fish.
Here's a closer look at my strange collection of plants:
|My Mexican butterwort. It produces small sticky drops of dew that captures gnats and fruit flies. Prey gets digested right on the surface of the leaves (you can see a bloodworm getting eaten in this pic).|
I know, I know, this is supposed to be a blog about writing. So how are my strange plants related to that? Well, I think Peter D'Amoto is proof that writing can be combined with any of your other passions. His guide to growing CPs is one of the most comprehensive works written on the subject, and it's already in its seventh edition. Just goes to show: you don't have to write a traditional novel to be a successful writer. Just write about what you love.
On the off chance that you're interested in owning your own "Savage Garden," I highly recommend reading D'Amoto's book first. Then check out California Carnivores to see what they have for sale. It's a great company that Peter runs himself, and the plants I bought from there are doing really well. Even if you're not going to buy anything, it's fun browsing through the different kinds of plants they offer.