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Tropical Fern & Exotic Plant Society, Annual Fall Auction

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Palmarum

Tropical Fern & Exotic Plant Society

Website: http://www.tfeps.org/

Annual Fall Auction

Monday evening, October 28th, 2013

Corbin Building, Fairchild TB Garden, Miami - Florida

- 7:00PM - Eye candy was on display for the plant hungry during the giant annual Fall auction of the Tropical Fern & Exotic Plant Society. Many of us in the South Florida area have come to know the auction for a source of the very rare, strange and unusual. With the reduction of activities with other garden clubs and plant societies, this once a year auction has become one of the key events of the Fall season. The society specializes in tropical and native ferns but also includes other plant groups, such as Crotons, Aroids, Begonias, Bromeliads, Tropical Flowering Trees and other exotics. Actually, the society is open to any plant group. As a result of this broad definition, any plant of any rarity can appear in the auction. As you will see, this fact draws people to the meeting from all over the region. The society has meetings throughout the year and an active schedule of activities. Many of their meetings include a speaker and a auction and/or raffle. This night however, is focused just on the giant auction, so attendees were looking through plants as soon as they arrived.

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- It was early in the auction preview as attendees started to look through the plants, find their seats, grab some great food and pick up their official bidding paddles. Society regular and Forum member Ron Kiefert (Moose) received his paddle, but felt bad as the staff assigned him with just a negative sign...

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- With people attending from all over the area, you got a chance to visit with plant personalities you might have not seen in some time. SFPS Director Lenny Goldstein talks plants and palms with FM. Jeff Searle.

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- The plant spread. The food spread was in an adjacent room, but what everyone came for was spread around the room on several tables. More plants were added continually as people arrived.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- Many of the plants, especially the Ferns were unknown to me, so it was a good time to learn new species. This is a Silver Dollar Maidenhair, Adiantum peruvianum. The leaflets are large for a maidenhair fern, and grow to a size roughly larger than a silver dollar. As seen on the lower part of the plant near the tag, the newly emerging leaflets are a bronze-silver color.

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- Plants were randomly placed on the tables. In the center of the photo is a 3 gal. Heliconia indica, a rare colorful species that used to reside in the Rare Plant House at Fairchild. It was removed for renovation and has since been divided up and distributed among growers and collectors.

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- It was still preview time so tag reading and plant gazing was the focus. The flash didn't fire in this shot for some reason, but I was holding the camera barely still enough to compensate.

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- Ahh better.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- The reactions to plants and plant names were exuberant. I began to believe that this auction might have some heavy bidding involved. People were doing their mental checklists as they walked around, ate food and greeted friends and fellow enthusiasts. They mentally arranged favorites, must-haves, spending limits, etc. Plants were donated from more than just people in attendance. Nurseries from far and wide made sure their plants made it to the auction. Some specimens came with descriptions and care information.

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- Oh the Croton fanatics... If there is at least two crotons in an auction, that means there is at least three discussions about them. There were a lot more than two plants so you can imagine the related croton talk. Collector Jose Lopez debates a description with Ron on the right, with fellow collector and grower Marie Nock caught in the middle.

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- A nice variegated Rhapis excelsa enters the auction.

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- Cycads were few and far between, but were represented in the auction. A 3 gal. Encephalartos hildebrandtii (female) was on the back of a table.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- The weird, strange and very rare could be found all in one plant. This is Psilotum complanatum a species of whisk fern, originally collected near Kota Bharu, Malaysia. It is technically a fern, although it has differences that make it stand out, including the fact that it has no leaves. It is a descendant of early period, ancient vascular plants whose close relatives are long extinct.

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- Society member, auctioneer and theater actor Reggie Whitehead was passing by, re-arranging some of the plants so I asked him to hold up the Psilotum for a better photo. I found out a little bit later this 'photo of the moment' was symbolic in a way, since it was Reggie who first introduced the plant to cultivation.

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- The bloom belonging to a White Bat Plant, Tacca integrifolia. This particular plant might look familiar.

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- Jeff digs into the 'red, white and blue' cake made by Ron Kiefert. It had a little bit of cake to go with the frosting. It was good and rich and the pieces were cut small for a reason.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- Hmm what to get, what to try... Lenny carefully looks over his dessert options.

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- Food! Many donated plates and various dishes supplied a wide range of delicious food. You had to sample everything or as much as you could, and I tried. It was a few days before Halloween so a few holiday related dishes were included in the spread.

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- A silent chime was sounded and everyone began taking their seats with plates in hand.

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- Over the sounds of muffled plant talk and hurried eating, the meeting began with introductions and auction related guidelines and bidding rules.

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Ryan

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Jeff Searle

Thanks Ryan. Anyone here on the forum would love to be able to experience this event. There were so many plants and so many representitives of different groups it was amazing!

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Palmarum

- In addition to the plant auction, there were also many books on display as part of a silent auction. This area I went to first. There were many Fern books and other books covering different plant groups. Some items of note included the third edition of Hortus there on the left, and a copy of The Cycads there in the middle. The books were either auctioned solo or as part of a group. Usually in a silent auction, people write down their name and bid and continue until a certain time, where the highest bidder wins. This auction had pre-listed, staggered amounts which you would place your name next to in order to bid. Some of the required starting amounts were quite high. By the time I had left for the evening only two of the clipboards had bids.

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- After a few minutes the business part of the meeting had concluded, with a bit of humor and sarcasm popular to plant societies.

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- Then it was time for action. With Tom in the upper right and Reggie as auctioneers and switching off between plants, they started the auction. Plant carriers moved the plants around the room for show and then transported them to the holding room after the bidding. First plant up for bid was a Croton, and not just any Croton but a small specimen of Exotica, one of the most sought after and historic cultivars in the Croton world.

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- Bidding paddles went up like a flock of birds taking to flight. It was a nice show and I didn't know where to shoot first. I was currently in the back of the room so I turned to three of the biggest Croton collectors nearby, Jose, Lamar Sapp and Jeff. Bidding quickly jumped to triple digits, with Lamar in the lead the whole time. When he is bidding, he has the look, stare and stature of a champion gunfighter from the old west. Lamar went on to win the Exotica for $130.00.

DSC_0654.jpg

Ryan

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_Rich

Tropical Fern & Exotic Plant Society

Website: http://www.tfeps.org/

Annual Fall Auction

Monday evening, October 28th, 2013

Corbin Building, Fairchild TB Garden, Miami - Florida

- 7:00PM - Eye candy was on display for the plant hungry during the giant annual Fall auction of the Tropical Fern & Exotic Plant Society. Many of us in the South Florida area have come to know the auction for a source of the very rare, strange and unusual. With the reduction of activities with other garden clubs and plant societies, this once a year auction has become one of the key events of the Fall season. The society specializes in tropical and native ferns but also includes other plant groups, such as Crotons, Aroids, Begonias, Bromeliads, Tropical Flowering Trees and other exotics. Actually, the society is open to any plant group. As a result of this broad definition, any plant of any rarity can appear in the auction. As you will see, this fact draws people to the meeting from all over the region. The society has meetings throughout the year and an active schedule of activities. Many of their meetings include a speaker and a auction and/or raffle. This night however, is focused just on the giant auction, so attendees were looking through plants as soon as they arrived.

- It was early in the auction preview as attendees started to look through the plants, find their seats, grab some great food and pick up their official bidding paddles. Society regular and Forum member Ron Kiefert (Moose) received his paddle, but felt bad as the staff assigned him with just a negative sign...

DSC_0623.jpg

HOLY SMOKES MOOSE! You playin' Santa next month or did ya get an early start on Novem'beard'? Hardly recognized ya Knucksie! Hope you had fun at the event.

Best ~ _Rich

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Palmarum

- Let the stars of the galaxy shine down upon thee. People were still reeling from the previous croton in the auction when we went right into the next one. Another token plant of the evening and the title plant of the counterpart topic on Palmpedia, the 'Milky Way' specimen was up for bid. The paper plates also went up in a hurry, and they stayed up. Tom was taking bids by going around the room pointing back and forth at plates that remained upright...

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- The bidding climbed like a fever, reaching the hundred mark faster than the flu in winter. The energy in the room grew as awe grabbed everyone's attention and forced them to watch. Shock appeared on their faces as people turned to see the high bidders 'go at it' in the back of the room...

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- The 3 gallon specimen of Milky Way, Codiaeum variegatum cv. 'Milky Way', was the plant of the evening for sure. It was donated by Pinecrest Gardens and held the longest and highest bidding of the night. You can see the expression of 'wow' on Ron Kiefert's eyes at the bottom edge of the photo...

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- "Sold!" [clapping and loud applause] The bidding was finally over and Lamar won the Milky Way, just the second plant of the evening, for $250.00. It is going to a great home and will likely give rise to offspring in the future.

DSC_0659.jpg

Ryan

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George Sparkman

Thanks Ryan for posting all those pictures.

Looks like it was a great event and I am very happy to see Ellis (EllisB) in several of the pictures so soon after his surgery.

Thanks again.

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Palmarum

...Looks like it was a great event and I am very happy to see Ellis (EllisB) in several of the pictures so soon after his surgery...

Yes, it was a welcome surprise to see Ellis at the meeting. I figured seeing him at the Ramble would be lucky enough, but there he was up and about at the auction. He was moving around, talking with people like always and looking at plants like nothing happened. Classic Ellis Brown.

Ryan

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Palmarum

- People were still getting over the extreme bidding that had just occurred as the auction continued unabated. The plants came fast and often. It was at times hard to keep track of it all, but in the end it was a good thing for a good cause. There were a lot of plants to go through in only a few hours.

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- The Psilotum complanatum was up for bid at one point and the auction was preempted with Reggie's description of its discovery and how he brought it to cultivation. Stories and descriptions like his and others are important to sell the plants to the public, as it furthers the background and history of the plants.

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- The White Bat Plant, Tacca integrifolia, was up next followed by "ooh's" from the crowd. It got to the point where Reggie had attendees 'ooh'ing' in unison and doing so on command. I think the level of wine consumption helped.

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- After the bidding of each plant is complete, an efficient process is started to log and label the plant for purchase later. The plant receives a note with the winning bidder's number and is carried off to the holding room in back, where it is grouped with other plants won by the bidder. The amount of the winning bid is then written down on a chart containing a section for each bidder. This keeps an ongoing total and allows an attendee to pay for their plants only once, instead of doing it plant to plant. This system works well to keep the auction moving quickly and smoothly. It also keeps plants out of the already crowded seating area, aisles and around people and chairs.

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Ryan

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Cindy Adair

Great thread. It's good for my trying to save for the Biennial plan that I was not in attendance!

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Palmarum

- Next up, a 3 gal. White Torch Ginger, Etlingera elatior. It was donated by Jeff Searle who was on my left describing the plant and how it grows to the audience.

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- Jeff went on to mention how the flower originated from a landscaped specimen in his yard, and not from the pot. He had removed the bloom just before we left for the auction and mounted it in the pot next to the plant, for show purposes. Tom and others were confused about this, for some reason, they wanted the flower to have originated in the pot. They seemed disappointed that it did not come from the small containerized plant. Oh well, not everyone must be into gingers.

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- With everything straightened out about the ginger and how it grows, it went on to sell with a $44.00 bid.

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- Plants were taken from all tables, trying to keep the selection mixed as the night continued along with the auction. This colorful, evergreen Caladium was up next.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- The Plant Holding area in the back room filled up fast. I still don't know how they squeezed all those plants into this one area, but they pulled it off.

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- Tom was auctioning off another plant being moved around the room, as Reggie gets ready to do the next plant, another Croton.

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- Some auctions went quick and fast, with some plants going for as little as a few dollars. If a plant had just one bidder and there was no reserve, they could get a real bargain. Certain auctions of course, went the other route. Plants and more plants came up and were bought in short order. I made notes for myself about what plants I should look for again in the future. Next item up for bid was yet, another Croton, this time it was 'Rembrandt'...

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- ... A colorful cultivar with a nice leaf shape, it brought in a lot of bidding from all over the room. After a minute or two, it came down to two bidders... #41 and #30. These two numbered paddles were seen a lot throughout the evening. Eventually the 'Rembrandt' sold for $160.00, to whom I do not remember as I was already looking at the next plant in the auction.

DSC_0677.jpg

Ryan

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Palmarum

- Certain plants came with visual aids, some of which were a black and white copy. This did not to justice to a plant your trying to promote with colorful flowers. It became a running gag when people asked "What color..." something was the auctioneers replied with "they're black and white." One such photo belonged to a very rare specimen in the auction, a species of giant tree fern, Angiopteris smithii. It is in that green 3 gal. pot and mostly obscured. It was quite small in the pot, but that did not seem to matter. As soon as the name was announced a bid of "$150.00!" was shouted across the room, followed by an awed hush, then dead silence, then a count "1..2..3... sold!".

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- A brightly hued and completely edible species of Oxalis.

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- Rare and unusual tropical flowering trees were part of the selection. Donors made sure some notable species were on display including this Brownea grandiceps. The plant was in the middle of a new leaf flush, as you can see the off-colored, reddish-brown cluster of leaves hanging down on the lower middle section.

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- "Oooh...." The crowd responded to another one of Reggie's requests for sound effects as he showed off the colorful backing on the next plant for bid.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- A welcome surprise to the auction, a 'species' Begonia. I could not hear the name during the description but this is a species of Begonia, as opposed to the numerous hybrids and cultivars that one usually encounters in the plant world. In the left of the frame, Craig Morrell - Director of Pinecrest Gardens, went on to describe the plant to the audience.

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- It was roughly the halfway point in the auction, as the tables began to thin out a bit. The woman in the yellow shirt ducked thinking she was in the way.

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- I was introduced to new genera as well as new plant families throughout the night.

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- Some plants were big, some were real small. I am not sure if delivery was offered by the society, I am pretty sure bidders were responsible for getting their new plants home themselves. This is a 7 gal. 'Aunti Lou' Cordyline.

DSC_0686.jpg

Ryan

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Palmarum

- A rather spiny species of Neoregelia made its way into the auction. This bromeliad had the unique behavior of clumping at large distances. A new pup would emerge at the end of a long section of stem a good distance from the mother plant.

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- The audience began to thin out about an hour and a half into the auction. Some were up and about, others had paid for their plants and left, some were just getting more food and drink.

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- Tom handles the auction of a Justicia nodosa, a small flowering shrub also known as 'Pretty-in-Pink'. Those in attendance who wanted flowering plants threw up their paper plates in a hurry. It sold with a $50.00 high bid.

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- Aroid fans had their hands full during the auction. An unusual plant or two would come up for bid now and then, including this Anthurium guildingii.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- "Hold her, hold her up!" This Croton got the preferred treatment as it was held up high for all to see during its auction.

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- The Encephalartos hildebrandtii was up next and provided a modicum of attention and bidding. A little extra attention was given since the gender of the plant was known (female). An important and often unknown detail with small cycads. It was most likely an established pup removed from a larger, mature plant.

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- The paper plates went up and down with some bidders holding out until the amount got higher. It sold for a mere $40.00, a good deal for a sexed plant.

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- Speaking of sexed plants, the Encephalartos was followed by a small Hoya pubicalyx which Reggie mispronounced as 'Hoya pubic licks'. Well with the type of fun loving people in attendance and the amount of wine and beer consumed you can imagine the response. It was auctioned off with everyone laughing, then someone in the audience asked jokingly "What color are the hairs on the Hoya?" then someone answered with "Black and white..." followed by even louder laughter and then someone else belted out "No, they're grey!" Then people started dying. To try and regain control of the auction, Reggie (then trying to hold his composure) quickly grabbed the closest plant to him, the variegated Lady Palm, Rhapis excelsa, and tried hiding behind it while starting the next round of bidding.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- The uproar in laughter was kept mostly to the front few rows of the audience. It seemed to be more subdued as people began to bid on the variegated Lady Palm, R. excelsa. The giggles were still contagious though. It went on to sell for $140.00.

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- Every time I looked to the back, the regulars were talking and snickering about something, if they weren't bidding.

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- Crotons were definitely a hit during the auction. They might have been the single largest group of plants to bring in the most money. Ferns and fern allies might have been in first place or a close second.

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- It was later in the evening and the pace began to pick up as there were fewer bidders and still a lot of plants to go through. I have to seriously work on Ferns if I am going to photograph them in the future. I can't even get them to genus in most cases.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- The outer tables began to empty as plants were brought up front and placed behind the auctioneers. Multiples of the same plant were auctioned off together with a group style of bidding that worked well. I had to choose my shooting position carefully to make sure I was out of the way, but I still had to dodge a moving plant or two. Coming right at me this time was a hybrid Staghorn Fern, Platycerum sp. 'hybrid'. It went on to sell for $22.00.

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- Jeff was far to the left at the back of the room describing the growth habit and mature dimensions of the Gaussia princeps he donated to the auction. Not a palm crowd for sure, but it still raised $15.00 for the society.

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- Aroids were another popular group of the evening, raising a large portion of the auction proceeds.

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- The holding room changes every time I go back to see it. They had to move things around to make room as one group grows larger, etc. They recently did some heavy remodeling work on this and other nearby buildings. I am glad the garden allowed them to have the auction inside. It could have been pushed outside and held under a tent instead.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

- Almost two full hours into the night after the preview started, the auction was still going strong. Humor was around every corner and could have been included in any plant description. This is part of the greatness found in most plant societies. Reggie held up an empty mounting plaque and introduced it as the next plant in the auction, Platycerum invisibilis - the invisible Staghorn Fern.

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- He went on to describe that even though it was hard to see the plant, care needs and growing requirements for this staghorn fern are rather transparent.

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- Joking aside, the plaque was described as one of the best made locally for the use of mounting epiphytes, especially ferns and was auctioned off. The last photo I took during the night shows the thinning audience shortly before the time Jeff and I left the building. Those of us with a long ride ahead were leaving around this time. Some were staying until their desired plant came up for auction, regardless of how late it was getting. I am not sure how long it took to auction off all the plants or when the cut-off point was for the silent book auction. I wish I had a chance at some of the books. If I had bids on them, I would had to have stayed later.

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Those of us who left the building around this time, migrated outside to the dimly lit parking lot where conversations continued around tail gates and gravel parking spaces. This went on for a little while before we all left for home. Talk was focused on the auction and upcoming November events like the Fairchild Ramble, the big croton meeting out west, the visit of the French palm society and other plant related events being planned further ahead. This is one of the times during the year where there is a lot happening at once; in the South Florida plant world.

Ryan

--<

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Gonzer

It was early in the auction preview as attendees started to look through the plants, find their seats, grab some great food and pick up their official bidding paddles. Society regular and Forum member Ron Kiefert (Moose) received his paddle, but felt bad as the staff assigned him with just a negative sign...

DSC_0623.jpg

Somehow that does not look like someone who resurrects 10 year old threads.

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Moose

It was early in the auction preview as attendees started to look through the plants, find their seats, grab some great food and pick up their official bidding paddles. Society regular and Forum member Ron Kiefert (Moose) received his paddle, but felt bad as the staff assigned him with just a negative sign...

DSC_0623.jpg

Somehow that does not look like someone who resurrects 10 year old threads.

:bemused:

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Gonzer

Just bustin' yer chops Moosy, cool shirt BTW.

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Jeff Searle

The moose is a legend in his own mind in these neck of the woods.Lol

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      Auction Preview: 7:00
      It is that time of the year again, the highly anticipated auction of the Tropical Fern & Exotic Plant Society is scheduled for next Monday evening, the 22nd. The auction has become one of the best events for bidding on rare and unusual plants. Ferns are a key focus of the evening, but literally any plant may show up for auction. I have often seen plants for auction representing species and plant families that I have never seen before. Palm species always seem to find their way into the auction by way of many sources. Follow the link above for more information on the auction and the society. It is always a fun night for the plant fanatics in S. Florida.

      I have attended many of the auction meetings and the array of plant material never ceases to amaze myself and other attendees. Of what material may be for auction, I do not know. I have heard that certain rare Crotons may be among the selection. If I do receive info that should be posted (certain plants and the like) then I will post it here. I haven't always been able to post photos from the event, but follow the links below to previous topics where I have. There should be many familiar faces from the Forum and some incredible plants...
      TFEPS Annual Auction - 2015
      Link: http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/47491-tropical-fern-exotic-plant-society-annual-auction-2015/&do=findComment&comment=728565
      TFEPS Annual Auction - 2013
      Link: http://www.palmtalk.org/forum/index.php?/topic/39283-tropical-fern-exotic-plant-society-annual-fall-auction/&do=findComment&comment=608735
       
      Ryan
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