On my way home the other day I noticed this cluster of snapdragons. They’ve always been one of my favorite flowers because of the way you can squeeze the sides and make them open like little mouths. When I was four years old and staying in the hospital my grandfather, who had a huge bed of flowers next to his house, brought me a bouquet of multi-colored snapdragons. I woul d say this was the source of my fascination with carnivorous plants and my love of the film Little Shop Of Horrors, but, come on, carnivorous plants are just cool, and a plant that screams “Feed me!” is just hilarious. It’s even better when it sings. (Check out this amazing collection of carnivorous plant photos.)
My grandfather didn’t just have a green thumb. He had two green thumbs attached to green hands and I’m pretty sure his arms were green at least up to the elbows. He built a greenhouse where he grew several types of orchids, and once grew a pineapple from the top of a whole pineapple he’d brought back with him from Hawaii.
I think I inherited some of his ability. A few years ago I built up a pretty good collection of carnivorous plants even though most—including venus flytraps, pitcher plants, and sundews—like lots of humidity and lots of sun, two things our house is short on. Coaxed with fluorescent lights and trays of distilled water—don’t give your carnivorous plants regular tap water, kids!—several varieties took up a whole window. Sadly the whole collection was wiped out by a double hit of aphids and whitefly and I just haven’t had the heart to rebuild it.
Maybe I should plant some snapdragons. In the meantime…feed the plants.