Posted 30 October 2010 - 09:30 PM
I posted this story on the cycad forum, but it is more than appropriate for this forum.
>>>>.....Actually, It's not my plant. I wish it was.
Here's my story: Sometime around 2005 I was looking through the internet for cycads and came across several sites in california. I went to visit one site in pasadena california. I started early in the day, but got caught in the famous california car-jams, and didn't make it to his house until after 10:00 p.m. Unfortunately, it was dark at that time. This guy was really nice, he let my wife and daughter and myself into the back yard to look at his plants with flashlights. At the same time, I realized I lost my camera. It was one of those times when everything went wrong. Anyways, He had the most beautiful plants I had ever seen. Big HUGE plants. There were some really rare ones there, but I would have to say the centerpiece of his collection was a big giant latifrons. Now I had only seen small cycads before (excluding revolutas), so this was a first experience with me with truly BIG plants. Anyway, we all looked around with flashlights for a half hour or so, then my wife had had enough and wanted to go home. The collection owner was just so nice to us. I bought a little longifolius from him, and he gave me a free bag of fertilizer. He talked about the Latifrons for a while. He said he got it years ago from some collection back east, it came available to him when a tornado ripped the plant from the ground, destroyed the botanic garden it was in, and they then decided to sell it. They called him, and he said he went down there and picked it up. He said they had buried almost the whole trunk into a giant container. He had to then exhume the plant. He told me he had cut tons and tons of roots that had grown from the trunk, and detailed all the work to retore the plant. He said someone offerred him 60 K for it once, but he turned them down.
Anyways, I regret having never had the chance to go back and visit him again. I heard he passed away I think in 2008. His name was dick johnson. He really was the kindest nicest collector I ever knew. He really loved those plants. The way he spoke of them, they were like his children. So my last memory of the visit was looking at the Latifrons in the dark with a flashlight. Kinda made it a little more mysterious that way.