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gonewild

Grower
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Puerto Maldonado, Peru
Hello Slipperytalk people,

I've been lured out of my lurker cloaking so I best introduce myself. My name is Lance.
:eek:
Bye.
Oops I forgot you can see me now. I better confess.

First let me say I'm not an orchid addict. Addiction can be treated.

My wife Belinda and I are now back living on the central California coast. We returned here last fall after living in the southeastern corner of the Peruvian Amazon for about 6 years. While there we accumulated a nice little collection of over 400 species of orchids.

I first became interested in orchids at the age of about 10 years old (or less, can't remember that far back). My brother and I bought our mother a cymbidium plant for Mother's Day. That thing set us back $29! It really fascinated me and I became mesmerized by the thought of wild exotic orchids. I think the thing back then was a mystery about some black orchid? Anyway exotic flowers fit right into my dreams of going to the jungle to collect tropical fish which my bedroom was full of. Somehow I talked my Dad out of some old salvaged glass windows and soon I had my own glasshouse complete with an old gas heater. My parents were really cool and took me often to visit an orchid nursery in the nearby town of Los Osos. You probably read about the grower in The Orchid Thief. My dad was so cool he figured if orchids were that important to me he would start up a family orchid business for me to run!

Boy was it a thrill to go down to Santa Barbara and buy 2000 4" pot cymbidium meristems. They were called meristems in those days, Nobody used the term tissue culture. It was a new process and the flower quality would be superb for making a fortune on flowers for corsages. Who could ever guess hippies would come along and the corsage market would vaporize! No problem we would grow those really cool white moth orchids since everyone got married and had weddings and bought moth orchids for the bouquets. (took me awhile to learn how to say phalaenopsis). Oops, those hippies did it again, shacking up was invented!. No problem, I would just become a hippie and sell cool little weird orchid plants I could buy from overseas by the sack full. One of the neatest was the old Chinaman orchid. I really don't know why they called Phrag caudatum a Chinaman, but then any orchid in the slipper group was a CYP. Times have changed in case you missed all the signs.

We kept our family business in operation until the late 80's early 90's. A sewer system was built down our street and the property was sold to a developer. That put a stop to my first orchid life, a sad thing but except for the fact Belinda and I got to spend the next decade pursuing a life of professional wildlife photography while traveling all over western North America. Actually we often had an orchid plant in our little travel trailer but they had a tendency to freeze in the fall coming back south from Alaska.

After life on the road for about 10 years we decided to try something new and go down to the jungle. Somehow we wound up in Puerto Maldonado Peru. Our first visit to the jungle lasted 5 months and was spent almost entirely on expedition into various river systems. The jungle is a hard place to live but it is even harder to leave it once you have connected with it. An Ese' eja shaman convinced us we should return and live with him so we could learn about (and film) his knowledge of magical plants, "Plantas Medicinales". We did move down there and did just that. Didn't take long to start hollowing out coconuts and potting up orchids! That began our second orchid collection not to mention a very ambitious commercial tropical fish collecting and export company. Little boys dreams do come true!

Well, that second orchid collection is now in the hands of a peruvian friend since we had to return to the states so I could recover from a near death bacterial infection in my leg, but that's another story.

Once I was well enough to sit up and didn't have to lay flat in bed with my leg higher than my nose (having Belinda be nursemaid 24/7) I finally had time to read "Orchid Fever"; a DreamNet client had brought the book down to the jungle for me to read as he knew I liked orchids. Sitting, reading in my chair, I kept getting these smells, odors, aromas, in my head. It was the smell of a humid earthy greenhouse full of breathing orchids, and it was so strong. Plants really do talk, our shaman friend even taught us how to hear them. He also told me orchids were perhaps the most intelligent plants of all, they were even smarter than he himself! But that's another story.

So now we have orchid collection #3 on nice little racks right beside that chair. Well actually that chair had to be moved because the racks turned out not to be so little and there is two now, not one. (Belinda is a modern woman and demands equal space)

Back when I was a kid I always thought slipper orchids were for old people. Maybe that was because only old people could afford them back in the 60's! A good plant cost about the same as a new car. (not a great car). I was fortunate to have back then a nice flask from Norris Powell that I grew to flowering, but they were hard to grow. So I figured when I got old, I would grow ladyslippers. Now our condo is full of baby Phrags and Paphs, all from flasks purchased over the summer. I guess I'm a bonified "old people" now.

After coming back from Peru and enjoying free internet surfing at speeds faster than jungle drums, I began searching the net for info on phrags. Having been in Peru when Kovachii was busted and only getting tidbits of info about the affair from the USA, I admit, I was quite curious. While searching for info sites I found you guys. So I lurked, studing your every movement, and now it is time you are assimilated. I always wanted to be assimilated, every time 7 of 9 gave that warning. And you thought you tricked me out of lurking. HA!

You are welcome to visit our maze of webpages and find out more about me at GoneWild.net. If you are a good explorer you'll find a garden of orchid images with some of our collection along one of the cyber paths. If you get weak in the knees you should stop in the shop and buy some herbal tea we picked in the jungle. If you need a guide I'm your man! :wink:

Oh, by the way, Belinda and I have been Gone Wild long before the girls dared to be it.
Oh, bye the other way, I have a BAD sense of humor, that is the California kind of Bad, which is really very good, maybe even sick.

This is a picture of me (Lance)

Belinda and Sha'jame our shaman friend..
 
Last edited by a moderator:
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gore42

Guest
Hi Lance, nice to meet you :) What a story! and a nice heliconia to go with it.

- Matthew Gore
 
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PHRAG

Guest
WOW! Waiting for you to post was worth it.

First question of many, do you have copies of Grisan on DVD? I don't have a VHS player and I want to see it.

And this next question is probably a dumb one. Have you seen/photographed besseae in-situ? What about kovachii?

I used to want to be a real photographer, but I have given up that dream. I was a wedding photographer for a while. Do you still shoot?

How long have you been married? And will your wife talk mine into liking orchids? Maybe if another woman explains to her how cool they are, she will believe it. I make her go to sleep when I talk to her about them.

What are you growing on your shelves? You said you bought flasks, but are they species, hybrids or...?
 
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PHRAG

Guest
Forgot one. With your talk of cloaking and 7of9, I think you must be a trekkie. Which is your favorite series? I am a huge sci-fi fan, but my tastes are all over the place: classics, modern day and a couple of tv shows.
 
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Grandma M

Guest
I browsed through you site..also placed an order. Loved your site.
What an interesting life you have lived.

Grandma M
 

NYEric

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HI. Did you live in a city or what? I'm interested in retiring to South America, Panama, Nicaragua, or Ecuador, et al. How difficult is it to buy a place down there and emmigrate. Info on your experience please. E.
 

SlipperFan

Addicted
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Welcome Lance. You are a pretty good writer, also. Someday you should tell us you "that's another story(s)."
 

Heather

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Drorchid

Guest
Welcome Lance!

Great Story!! Your knowledge of orchids and the time you were in Peru and in the Jungle will be a great addition to this forum.

I hope you can post some more pictures of your days when you lived in Peru. I am curious to see any orchid pictures that you took.

Robert
 
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Drorchid

Guest
I just checked out your website. Those are some amazing pictures!

I love the hummingbird pictures!

Robert
 
M

Mark

Guest
The Scutigera thread tally has just gone up by one more!

(Saw one in the garage two days ago. They'll forever remind me of this forum now.)
 
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PHRAG

Guest
It was always our dream to have our forum associated with horrible looking insects. I need to find out if there is a National Insect Day or something, so I can change the banner to a cockroach and see how many people freak out and smack their screen when they come to the forum.
 

Marco

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Hey Lance. Glad to finally have you aboard! :poke: (Well posting at least)

I have still yet to sift through your vault of pictures. I'm going to do it on study breaks tonight :)
 
M

Mahon

Guest
Very interesting story, and a HUGE Heliconia! Could the orchid mystery you were reffering to be Nero Wolfe's 'Black Orchids'?

Nice website! =)

-Pat
 

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