Earlier this week, I received an invite from a local Hoya enthusiast to travel just north of here to St. Petersburg, Florida to attend a Rare Plant Network meeting. I accepted since I knew of Ric for many years but our paths never crossed even though we lived in nearby communities for many years. I also heard that he was offering some cuttings for sale and of course I could not resist.
The lights were dimmed and the meticulously planned slide show began. With much detail but not too much, Ric introduced this Genus to a room full of receptive plant enthusiasts. It still amazes me how very few people know about hoyas. About one in 20 will mention seeing the Hoya carnosa growing somewhere or maybe the Hoya compacta (Hindu Rope) plant. But that is about the extent of recollection of these wonderfully diverse and rewarding plants. The show began with foliage and then finished with the spectacular blooms from Ric’s collection. He was very knowledgeable and very patient when it came to explaining the differences and demands of each species. Much more than I usually am when trying to introduce…I seem to go with my condensed version, leaving out many points and highlights. Some of us are ‘teachers’ and others not so much.
There was some conversation as he went along but not much. This was not due to boredom but because he covered so many points and questions along the way. As he concluded the group quickly moved the the table set up in the front of the room which displayed the cuttings and a few potted plants. Touching the leaves was what everyone wanted to do as they could have cared less about the ID label given. I was asked most, “What color is this bloom? Which end of this vine do I plant?” Since this was not my moment and Ric was the Guest Speaker I at first hesitated to get involved but after seeing he did not mind I assisted with some of the eager collectors.
Of course I could not resist buying a few cuttings that I did not currently grow. It was not hard to find “New to Me!!!” species but I kept it to a modest 6 new cuttings. Overall it was a very inspiring evening and I was honored to finally meet Ric Morier who grows many beautiful hoyas outside year-round here in Florida.
P.S Ric, Have fun on your visit to Thailand!!!! I am sure you will represent our part of the world well.