THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME By Michael Reif

The Shape of Things to Come

Please Note that Michael wrote this in December and it is being published late.


Well, it looks like winter is already here and (at least where I live) we barely had anything you’d call “Autumn.” It was just hot until the last week of October, after which it was just a bit less hot or what is sometimes referred to as “Indian Summer.” The term was first recorded in Letters From an American Farmer, a 1778 work by Michel-Guillaume-Jean de Crèvecoeur, a French-American soldier who later became a farmer: “…a severe frost succeeds which prepares it to receive the voluminous coat of snow which is soon to follow; though it is often preceded by a short interval of smoke and mildness, called the Indian Summer."

This climatic event is known throughout the world and is technically referred to as a weather singularity — that is, a climatic event that recurs around the same time of year, though the frequency, depth and longevity of the weather pattern is dependent on geography. It is most frequently associated with the eastern and central states of the U.S., which have a suitable climate to generate such a pattern: a wide variation of temperature and wind strength from summer to winter.

In any case, most of my CP continued producing pitchers, traps or sticky leaves well into November until almost overnight the temperatures dropped significantly and my family had to switch from air conditioning to heating. With global climate change a reality, this may become the new normal. That would be a shame since Autumn was always my favorite season. Even when I lived in north Florida, we’d have a lot of trees that would change color as the days grew shorter and the air grew chilly, particularly in the evenings. As a kid, this was the best weather for trick or treating!

Hopefully everyone will take climate change seriously and we can tackle the problem in a timely manner. This is a serious matter and every day we delay dealing with brings us closer to some pretty serious consequences.

But not all change is bad. I mentioned in my last column (which was quite a while ago due to circumstances beyond my control) that there was big news coming. I don’t have all the details yet (though it shouldn’t be much longer before I can share the specifics), but I can tell you that Carnivore Culture is in the process of moving to a huge new facility in the California Bay Area. And with more space comes the opportunity to increase the number of plants that will be in stock. Naturally, there will continue to be the best Pinguicula species and hybrids, but in addition, there will be species and hybrids of the finest North American pitcher plants (Sarracenia) as well as some of the most popular Nepenthes species (and, I’m assuming, some of the best hybrids, as well)! There will be both highland and lowland species, so no matter what your natural or artificial growing conditions, there will be plants perfect for you! If all goes according to plan, there may well be new Utricularia and Drosera species, as well.

An awful lot of effort went into this by owner Matt Byers. I know a little about the many roadblocks that he had to clear, but I’m happy to report that a lot of new stock has already arrived and is getting acclimated, meaning there should be an announcement on the company’s web site regarding availability fairly soon.

I really wish I could tell you more, but clearly this is a game changer for growers frustrated with the difficulty of obtaining a wide array of carnivorous plants. And it won’t stop here. Matt is committed to becoming the biggest CP dealer in the U.S. and if there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that he takes this goal seriously. So I suggest you keep checking the Carnivore Culture web site often. Whether you are just a hobbyist that wants the nicest selection of CP species or a person obsessed with growing as many carnivorous plants as they can get their hands on, Carnivore Culture will soon be the country’s one-stop commercial CP nursery!

I’ll see you back here soon with more information and (if I’m lucky) some photos of the new facility!