Tag Archives: Perot Museum

The Aftermath: Social Science “Science Fiction” at the Perot

Texas Triffid Ranch display at the Perot Museum

It’s been four months since the last Social Science presentation at the Perot Museum of Nature & Science, and things ran swimmingly for April 26’s “Science Fiction” event. Temperate carnivores such as Venus flytraps and North American pitcher plants were emerging and blooming, outside temperatures weren’t a threat to the tropical carnivores, and the trip down Central Expressway to downtown Dallas was painfully slow but not impossible. Combine that with large and enthusiastic crowds, and everything was perfect.

Carnivorous plant selection at the Perot Museum

Dallas weather always offers a challenge with raising and displaying carnivorous plants, and this time the challenge was when the last of the big cold snaps came through. Since Sarracenia pitcher plants bloom first and then produce traps, since many prey insects are also their pollinators, it’s always a gamble: spring temperatures are too warm, and flowers are spent by the middle of April. One good cold front dropping things to freezing in March, and the plants won’t have fully grown traps by May. This time, everything worked perfectly, with several species and hybrids with blooms and early traps, allowing everyone to see both at once.

Sarracenia pitcher plant blooms at the Perot Museum

Another change from previous Perot presentations was access to both a video camera and a big flatscreen monitor, which allowed hourly Venus flytrap feedings for large crowds. Every hour, I gathered a volunteer to drop a canned cricket leg into a trap, with everyone watching a closeup of the mechanism and the closing action without being crowded around a single plant. This worked so well that investing in a similar arrangement for other Triffid Ranch events and shows might be an option in the future.

Triffid Ranch banner at the Perot Museum

As for next time? That honestly depends upon the event and the opportunity, but I’m glad to have had this chance. I’d like to thank both the staff and the volunteers at the Perot for their assistance, as well as everyone who attended. Next time should run even more smoothly than ever.

The Aftermath: Perot Museum Social Science “Wild World”

perot02012019_3It’s been three years since the last time the Triffid Ranch was invited to show plants out at the Perot Museum of Nature & Science in downtown Dallas, and making a late evening of the Social Science 21+ museum event was a perfect way to finish off January. Just me, the provosts and staff, and a few thousand interested bystanders…the theme of this month’s Social Science event was “Wild World”, and carnivorous plants were just part of the fun.

perot02012019_2The relative lack of photos from “Wild World” had less to do with photographic aptitude and more to do with the sheer size of the crowd. When the official “everyone is worn out and going home, so you can break down” time was 10:00 and patrons were still asking enthusiastic questions at just short of midnight, it says a lot about the energy at the sold-out event. As it was, getting photos was a bit problematic, especially when people were crowded so thickly around the Triffid Ranch table that we occasionally blocked off access to the elevators. Every guest presenter at an event like this wants to make an impression upon its audience, and with five to ten people listening in on every answered question, the carnivores apparently made quite the impression. The crowd rushed in right at opening, and the only chance to get photos of the table itself was when everyone had cleared out for the night.


Anyway, thanks to the multitudes of energetic and wildly curious attendees, this was a great way to start the 2019 Triffid Ranch show season, and I wish to thank everyone who made it. For those who couldn’t, get your tickets for the April 26 Social Science, “Science Fiction,” before they sell out, too.

No Sleep Til Perot

Perot Museum's glowing frogs

For those attending tonight’s Social Science night at the Perot Museum, see you there. For everyone who can’t, that’s why the gallery is hosting a Groundhog Day open house on February 2. Either way, it’s time to hit the road.

The Aftermath: Halloween 2018 Open House at the Texas Triffid Ranch

The fourth Triffid Ranch Halloween event was, well, unexpected. For those keeping track, every previous open house this year has gone up against weather disasters: rain, hail, tornado sirens, and even a thick fog when torrential rains encountered a hot-enough-to-cook-flesh parking lot. The October 2018 open house? Clear skies, cool temperatures, enthusiastic crowds…everything we could have asked for. Many thanks to everyone who came out, because you’re the reason we do this.

As for the next open house, that’s going to have to wait until December because of a troika of shows in November and the necessary recuperation between them. The Nightmare Weekends Before Christmas will have to be truncated because of several shows in which Tawanda! Jewelry will be involved, but we’re still on for December 15 and 22, as well as being open by appointment for the rest of this month and the next.

And to add to the fun, while an open house probably isn’t in the cards, one in early February definitely is, probably the weekend after a plant show and lecture at the Perot Museum for its Social Science “Wild World” 21+ event on January 25. As always, details will follow.

Past Events and Future Press

imageWell. Two weeks away, and life keeps getting interesting. As can be told from the photo above, the presentation on biofluorescence at the Perot Museum was, well, interesting. The whole venue was well-lit with UV LEDs, which made me feel like I was stuck inside an Eighties-era tanning bed, and the big issue was less with showing the fluorescence and more with blocking out the amount of visible light emitted by the LEDs that washed out said fluorescence. This led to quite a bit of planning for the next such demonstration, including learning that classic E-Z Up tents now come in black, but the event was a learning experience all the way around. Among other things, I could stay underneath both shortwave and longwave UV lights without recreating key scenes from the film Near Dark. Sadly, one of the Heliamphora pitcher plants in the display didn’t have that advantage, but it’s already making a strong recovery. I’ll just name it “Homer”.

In any case, continued blog silence means that things at the gallery keep getting lively, and that includes new signage. The last big ARTwalk event demonstrated that even with the existing signage in the mall showing where the Triffid Ranch gallery is located, people had issues with finding it, so it’s a matter of making signage that can’t be overlooked. This beast started out as a Styrofoam insert for a sound baffle in a movie recording studio, so let’s see what it looks like after about two hours of texturing with a heat gun, repainting to pass for basalt, and lots of detailing, eh?

And then there’s the weekend. Sunday marks a return to the studios of the Fangirls of Dallas, to talk about plants, the space, and just about anything else that comes to mind. Between now and then, though, I have a LOT of painting to do. Updates to follow.


Upcoming Events – January 2016

lecture_12062015_1Okay, so the holidays are over, and the social calendar is pretty much shot until Groundhog’s Day. (Around here, watching Sid Vicious rise from his grave, look down at his shadow, and realize that he has to wait six more weeks until spring is an essential step toward knowing that winter is finally over.) You’re so burned out from holiday shopping that the thought of going near any crowded retail venue gives you hives, you’ve already seen every movie released into the January Sargasso, and even responded to trailers for the new Warcraft movie with enthusiastic bellows of “LEROOOOOOOY JENKINS!” It’s too cold to go swimming and too warm to go skiing, all of the interesting outdoor activities face horrendous weather at any time, and most indoor events require getting off the sofa, peeling the cats off your feet, and dealing with the same rainstorms, fires, floods, tornadoes, Christmas tree bonfires, and occasional Pearl Jam cover bands that keep you away from outdoor activities. When you’ve seen everything even remotely interesting on NetFlix and you’d sooner read a copy of D magazine than turn on terrestrial radio, what to do?

WELL, you have options, even if you didn’t know it. Make time in the calendar now to be in downtown Dallas on January 22. That evening, from 7 to 11 p.m., the Perot Museum of Nature & Science hosts its regular 21-and-up Social Science late-night event, and this month’s subject is “Glow”. It’s a tie-in to the Creatures of Light exhibition, with the advantage of a cash bar, and it’s already full of activities. The one addition will be a demonstration of fluorescence in carnivorous plants with the help of a trusty shortwave UV lamp, as well as presentations of what fluorescent blooms are available. (Considering that my aloes think that spring is already here, this may or may not include blooms that fluoresce so strongly that the glow hurts your eyes.) Tickets are going fast, so get in while you have the chance.

Incidentally, for those who can’t make it to Social Science, a smaller version of the same presentation will be available at the next Midtown ARTwalk on January 16, so come by for a preview. Either way, it beats staying home to watch Seinfeld reruns, eh?

Future events and current developments

Well. September already, and everything is starting to gel. Lots of new developments with the Triffid Ranch, and all of them good. Now if I could invent the 47-hour day or remove the need for sleep, things will be spiffy.

Firstly, some may have noticed the new logo, courtesy of Gallantry Web Design. This whole summer has been nothing but change, and the logo sums it all up. The next plan is to update the rest of this site: things have been quiet here for far too long.

Now to developments. The first of these involves the new Perot Museum of Nature & Science in downtown Dallas, and its First Thursday Late Night events on the first Thursday of every month. This month, the subject is “Botanicals,” which entails a lecture by yours truly in the lower auditorium. Any excuse to get out to the Perot after normal hours is a good one, and you can either come to listen to me yammering away, or come out for the screening of the equally grim and gritty Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Either way, admission to the special events is free with a regular museum admission, so use this as a opportunity to see the rest of the museum without worrying about fighting the traffic while heading home.

Otherwise, the real news is that, after two months, the space at Midtown (formerly Valley View Mall) is nearly ready, with an official opening on September 19 to coincide with September’s ArtWalk. After that, the new space is open every third Saturday, from 6 until 10, and otherwise open by appointment. More details will follow closer to the opening, but one of the big upshots is that this allows the opportunity to produce enclosures and containers too big and bulky to bring out to individual weekend shows, as well as carrying carnivores too esoteric or too specialized for beginning enthusiasts.

This isn’t to say that the shows are stopping, though. Plans for a return to regular show tours fell apart due to several potential shows collapsing, but the following three are absolutes:

  • Funky Finds Holiday Shopping Experience in Fort Worth: It’s been a very long time since the Triffid Ranch last traveled to Fort Worth, and it’s about time to return to the Funky Finds show the weekend of November 7. Expect a lot of new species, a lot of new enclosures, and a general experience unlike anything else you’ve ever seen at a handmade craft show. It’s good to be back.
  • All-Con in Dallas: After skipping out on the 2015 show due to scheduling issues, there’s nothing quite like coming out of winter blues in March 2016 with four days of carnivores at All-Con, now at a much superior and more central location. This show starts right about the time temperate carnivores start emerging from winter dormancy, so it’s just as much about the new blooms as it is about the rest of the plants. In addition, with the new workspace, expect to see a lot of things that simply haven’t been possible to bring out in previous years. John Belushi was right: March 2016 will come in like a lion, and go out like a salt marsh harvest mouse.
  • Texas Frightmare Weekend in Irving: Once again, this is the big one. Texas Frightmare Weekend is the show to which all others in the Dallas area should be judged, and all of the surprises from previous years will be eclipsed by the arrangements and enclosures planned for the May show. Get your tickets now, as they sell out incredibly fast these days, and keep an eye open for special Triffid Ranch promotions only seen at Frightmare.

And as one final extra, the plan is extremely tentative, but 2016 may be the year that the Triffid Ranch escapes Texas, at least for one weekend. The idea is to haul everything the weekend of August 17 to Kansas City, Missouri for MidAmeriCon II, the 74th annual WorldCon. Again, that’s the idea: while Kansas City is about an eight-hour drive from Dallas, we also have the logistics of interstate plant certifications and dealing with KC’s not inconsiderable summer heat. If it works out, though, look for the distinctive logo above in KC, and with luck, this may be the first of many traveling shows outside of Texas. We hope.

Upcoming Endeavours and Future Press

And what a difference a week makes. A week ago Monday, and the Dallas area was just starting to move toward relatively balmy temperatures: I mowed the lawn for the second time this year last Friday, and for those familiar with normal North Texas temperatures and their effect on local herbage, that’s saying quite a bit. Right now, the greenhouse is full of Buddha’s Hand citron and terrestrial bladderwort blooms, and our combination of decent rainfall and high humidity contributed to the sort of explosion in wildflower blooms that we haven’t seen since 2008. Projects keep piling up, seedlings keep exploding (including the new batch of ginkgo seedlings), and all I need to do now is get an immunization to sleep. That’s the only way to get the time to do everything that needs to be done.

Which leads us to the upcoming Triffid Ranch schedule. Not since 2011 has the dance card been quite this full, and thanks to efforts to expand into bladderwort, triggerplant, and Nepenthes pitcher plant species and cultivars previously never offered, it’s only going to get more interesting. (As always, for intrigued or slightly horrified news venues or individuals, here’s the contact 

First things first, last week’s feeding of Sid the Nepenthes bicalcarata at Roll2Play was as much of a success as you’d expect. Even with a full-bore Cthulhu Wars tournament going on, Sid became quite the debutante, especially when everyone involved learned that they wouldn’t need to reach into the pitchers to feed them. The next feeding is on May 7, and additional carnivores will be available for sale, so come out with an appetite.

Next, the dress rehearsal for this year’s shows starts at the Perot Museum of Natural History, with the Discovery Days: Earth event this Saturday, April 11. While last month’s late snowstorm stunted the Sarracenia pitcher plants a bit, this gives a great opportunity to see Sarracenia blooms this late in the season, and that’s more than made up for with the collection of Nepenthes, bladderworts, triggerplants, sundews, and Brocchinia bromeliads being brought out as well. The Museum opens to the general public at 10 in the morning, but activities start for Perot members at 8:30, and everything winds up around 4:00 in the afternoon. For the record, no plants will be available for sale at this event, but that might be negotiated at future gatherings, especially if the good folks at the Perot want another showing for its Social Science evening events. Just keep watching this space.

Next, I just finished a wonderful interview with Kate Copsey of The Master Gardener Hour on America’s Web Radio, and the final interview should play on April 18. Most of the subject matter won’t be a surprise to anyone listening to any of my tirades at previous shows, but it was still a lot of fun, and I’d forgotten how much fun radio interviews could be. Again, anyone seeking an interview should get in space now, because things are about to go a little mad.

Finally, part of the reason why things are going mad? Texas Frightmare Weekend. The vendor layout is up, and this year’s Triffid Ranch booth is in the Made In Texas Room, tables 135 to 137. Between a gigantic selection of plants this year and the new assistant Nikki, this will be unlike anything that any of you have seen at a Frightmare to date. The only way I’m going to top this is by raising real triffids.

(And while you’re at it, get the official Tenth Anniversary pint glass, courtesy of Drink With The Living Dead. Among many other great stories, DWTLD artist Robert Whitus was my roommate for a time back in the 1980s, and I can say with authority that I’ve never been so proud to tell people this. Give Robert lots of business, and buy one of those pint glasses while they last: among other things, this gives you $5 pints of beer at Frightmare all weekend long.)

Finally, for the rest of spring, summer, and fall, it’s time to try something different as far as Triffid Ranch shows are concerned. Available free time for three-day shows faded away to nearly nothing over the last year, so a move from indoor events to local farmer’s markets is a serious option. The Dallas Farmers Market is undergoing a drastic renovation of both venue and purpose, and it’s definitely time to get out there for the first time, as well as other farmers markets throughout the Dallas area. As always, give a yell if you have any suggestions, and look for details here as things work out. Until then, see you at the Perot.

What I Did On My Winter Vacation


And out of the depths of winter comes the promise of spring. After months of cold and chill, Earth progresses in its orbit around the sun, with daffodils and quince blooming in anticipation. Two weeks short of the official vernal equinox, life and weather celebrate the change…with six inches of snow. Welcome to Dallas.

While it might be reasonable to assume that the Triffid Ranch shut down entirely over the last four months, I compare it more to hibernation. The plants were sleeping, the garden dormant, and available shows and events dropping to next to nothing, so the last four months involved a very extensive and thorough cleaning and reorganizing. When your best friend refers to the purges of unneeded books, magazines, fabric, and other items from the house as “Stalinesque”, and when you consider that this is a man who stretches the term “minimalist” until it screams, you get an idea of the effort involved. All of December, all of January, almost all of February: the house is better organized than any time since we moved into it five years ago. Some of the particulars:

  • Okay, so having Colorado as a relative neighboring state leads to lots of Beavis and Butt-Head chuckling about “grow houses” these days, but technology allowed a big expansion. Namely, the whole need for a separate office for computer work died off with CRT monitors and landline phones, so the Czarina and I made a command decision: why waste two perfectly good rooms on our separate offices when we were doing all of our correspondence and show organizing on laptops anyway. The whole of an 11-day holiday vacation went into stripping out both rooms, converting one into work area and dry goods storage, and the other into an interior propagation area for tropical carnivores, orchids, ferns, and other flora that couldn’t handle the temperatures in the greenhouse. Technology also assisted with the propagation racks: LED shop lights may cost a little more than standard fluorescent fixtures, but they work beautifully for sundews, bladderworts, and the one Tahitian vanilla orchid that survived last summer. We’re not quite ready for a full-time retail venue, but it’s getting a lot closer, and the increased production means being able to do more shows in 2015. Best of all, the LEDs mean more light and less heat for less power, and the plan is to move to high-output LED fixtures before the end of the year for more light-hungry plant species.
  • While it’s been quiet out here otherwise in preparation for Texas Frightmare Weekend in May, it’s not that quiet. The Triffid Ranch leaves its hiatus for an appearance at the Discovery Days Earth event at the Perot Museum in downtown Dallas this coming April 11. Considering that we have a bit of a track record for late snow and sleetfall in March over the last half-decade, any last-minute freezes should help keep emerging temperate carnivores chilled so they start blooming in April. If things work well, this means showing off both Sarracenia pitcher plant and triggerplant blooms in time for the event. Details will follow.
  • Speaking of Texas Frightmare Weekend, the year-long hiatus means lots of preparation for the tenth annual Frightmare show, and not just with plants. This year’s Frightmare spread includes new displays, new items, and a lot of larger plant arrangements that were just too big to justify bringing out to previous events. All told, the plans required getting an additional table to hold everything, and we have live video from the house upon getting the news that a second table was available:
  • And after that? If we don’t get completely snowbound, the fun continues. Due to both Day Job schedule conflicts and various issues outside of the scope of this posting, three-day convention events aren’t going to be practical for most of 2015, but that means lots of one-day shows and lectures. Keep an eye open for details on these as well.
  • Some of the conflict on show schedules involves other factors, including several big secret projects over the next nine months. In addition, influenced by Reptiles magazine republishing my 2011 article on carnivores in reptile enclosures, expect not quite a book, but something almost as good, by the end of the year. Either way, I’ll be stuck to the couch, frantically writing away, when I’m not tinkering in the greenhouse.

Oh, and about the beautiful photo from the top of the post? One of the few good things that came from 2013’s Icepocalypse was a deeper understanding of citrus trees, especially my beloved Buddha’s Hand citron. After a decade of attempts to stave off bloom and fruit drop, December 2014 gave up three full-sized and completely ripe Cthulhufruit, and the greenhouse is currently full of blooms for this year’s crop. The trick, which hasn’t shown up in any citrus guide I’ve encountered in the last ten years, is that Buddha’s Hands require much more humidity than most citrus trees. Mexican limes and Meyer lemons thrive in Dallas levels of low humidity in spring and summer, but Cthulhufruit requires humidity that only rarely goes below 60 percent. Once I understood that, well, that promise of homemade Cthulhufruit bars becomes more plausible every winter, and maybe even in time for Cephalopodmas. And so it goes.

Texas Discovery Gardens – 1

Texas Discovery Gardens

As you may have heard from the newsfeeds, Texas had it a bit rough last weekend. Saturday was a wonderful, sunny, and warm day, with no real warning as to what was coming our way. Sunday started out okay, and promptly took a dive into subfreezing temperatures. By about 3 that afternoon, we had sleet, snow, and ice all over everything. This wouldn’t have been so much of an issue if the Czarina weren’t one of the vendors at the North Texas Irish Festival in Dallas’s Fair Park. By 11:30, vendors facing a drive through the storm were evacuating, the Festival organizers were deliberating alternate plans, attendees were arguing about whether or not they should stick around, and anybody else with any sense stayed at home.

Well, not everyone. Even a terrible day at Fair Park is worth a look around, and with the Czarina already situated with more help than the Sunday crowds justified, she shooed me off to go wander. Since both the Texas Discovery Gardens and the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park were still open, winter storm or not, Sunday was as good a day to wander around as any.

Texas Discovery Gardens

As with the much-missed Dallas Museum of Natural History and the Science Place, now merged and moved across town into the Perot Museum, the Texas Discovery Gardens and the Children’s Aquarium buildings are holdovers from the 1932 World’s Fair and the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition. Considering Fair Park’s status as the sole surviving Art Deco World’s Fair site, both kept the Art Deco theme, even after their extensive renovations during the last decade. This includes the beautiful bas reliefs around the TDG’s main entrance.

Texas Discovery Gardens

Texas Discovery Gardens

As for the inside? Well, you’ll have to keep checking back over the next few days, won’t you?

Earth Day at the Perot: The Aftermath


A full decade after heading out on this odd path, I can finally say that I’ve hit the big time: a Triffid Ranch presentation at the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science last weekend. The Czarina was in Galveston on her own business, so it was just me, the plants, and about 50,000 utterly fascinated kids and adults asking questions. I don’t think I’m exaggerating as to the number, either. I now understand how adults felt when I was a kid, asking questions that they had to scramble to answer, because I think I met most of the Ph.D candidates of the high school class of 2020. Their parents weren’t slacking off, either: when one gentleman came through and related how he’d seen Sarracenia pitcher plants for years while stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, but didn’t know what they were until then, a crowd gathered just to listen to him. Heck, people turned away from the Malawisaurus skeleton in the main lobby to listen to him.

Triffid Ranch display at the Perot

Since this was a lecture event, and not a sale, variety was much more important than volume. This meant displays of (from the left) sticky traps (sundews, butterworts, triggerplants), active traps (Venus flytraps, bladderworts), and passive pitfall traps (Sarracenia and Nepenthes pitcher plants, and a lone Brocchinia bromeliad), while explaining how each and every one worked. Next time, I’m including guides on how these operate, but this worked well enough that even the volunteers there on both days came over to find out more.

Assorted Sarracenia

Assorted Sarracenia

Maybe it’s the new greenhouse, or maybe it’s just the fluctuating weather (we’ve had temperatures dropping well below 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) at least one night per week for the last month, which almost never happens in April in Texas), but the Sarracenia pitcher plants just exploded this year. Huge pitchers, equally gigantic blooms, and lots of color. Either way, I’m not complaining.

Sarracenia purpurea

Sarracenia purpurea, or purple pitcher plant: the provincial flower of Newfoundland and Labrador. I admit that I find it hard not to sing “O Canada” every time I look over one of these, and this one was just the right size for visitors to look inside the pitchers at the insect part debris already caught inside.

Brocchinia reductans

And then there was the real surprise for new attendees: an example of the carnivorous bromeliad Brocchinia reductans of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana, courtesy of Jacob and Jeff at Sarracenia Northwest. This was an especial surprise for one young woman attending on Sunday: she was a fashion designer from Venezuela here in Dallas visiting family, and she was amazed that such a plant existed, much less existed as close to her home. One of these days, I need to plan a botanical trip to South America, right after I finish trips to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Antarctica, Newfoundland…

As for the Perot, this simultaneously left me exhausted and hoping for more, so we’ll see if I’m invited back in the future. I’ve already volunteered to lecture at one of the Social Science events for adults, but any excuse to come out there is a good one. After all, the Czarina and I have history there, even if it’s only been open for six months.

Last call: Perot Museum Earth Day Activities

As mentioned repeatedly, show season is in force at the Triffid Ranch, so things may go quiet in the interim. I’m very glad that the Czarina usually attends most of these with me, because otherwise she’d be perfectly justified to assume that she wasn’t really married. Instead, she just had a troll living on the back porch that throws mud and crockery about while mumbling under his breath. She does, but occasionally I come inside to get water and pay bills before going once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

And so it goes with the Earth Day activities at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in downtown Dallas. Expect lots of giant Sarracenia, other carnivores, and the usual expected stimulation of your sense of wonder. Just buy your tickets now before you head out, because if previous trips to the Perot are any indication, they may be sold out before you get here.

Things To Do In Dallas When You’re Dead

Oh, I had plans for April. Honest. This weekend belonged to setup and covering of a new greenhouse, courtesy of my friend Brindle, specifically to protect the Sarracenia and Nepenthes from the worst of the drying summer wind. I actually had most of that set up last weekend: while everyone else was soaking up the exemplary weather, I was scrambling to tape down greenhouse film on the sides of this monster, only stopping after I’d passed “we’re out of natural light” time and flirted with “If you don’t knock it off with the racket, the neighbors are going to call the cops”. At that point, I looked at the work, figured “Oh, tomorrow is going to be a good day, so I’ll just finish the work in the morning.

Oh, I hadn’t considered the horrendous thunderstorm that barreled through the Dallas area on Sunday morning. Best laid plans and all that. On the bright side, though, we’ve had enough rain in the area over the last week that the Sarracenia are as big as I’ve ever grown them, and the greenhouse can wait until next weekend.

After that, though, the month gets busy. It’s not just show season. It’s now lecture season, and the next few weeks are full of them.

Firstly, longtime readers and customers know about my fondness for the new Perot Museum of Nature & Science located in downtown Dallas. Word apparently leaked back to the folks at the Perot, because I just received an invitation to show plants at its Earth Day festivities on April 20 and 21. Remember how I mentioned those giant Sarracenia? If the weather holds and they aren’t pummeled with hail (and those who remember the tornadoes that hit the area a year ago today shouldn’t be surprised by this news), those pitcher plants will be some of the highlights of my presentations. That’s in addition to the other usual suspects. Right now, the crew at the Perot expects anywhere from 2000 to 5000 people at the Museum on each day, and I speak from experience when I warn about everything being sold out days or even weeks in advance, so buy your tickets NOW.

Numero two-o, after the Perot show, things get even more interesting. Two weekends after the Earth Day show, the Triffid Ranch returns to Texas Frightmare Weekend, located once again at DFW Airport, for its fifth appearance at Frightmare. If weather holds and everything else works out, this should be the biggest Triffid Ranch show yet. Carnivores, succulents, lots and lots of Bhut Jolokia peppers (courtesy of the varieties raised by Dilly’s Chiles of Oregon, which include red, yellow, orange, and chocolate). This will also be the first Triffid Ranch show with an assistant: Marie, an old friend who wants a good excuse to come out and say hello, so please say hello back.

Numero three-o, specific details will follow, but the folks at Hold Fast Tattoo in Dallas have been regular customers, supporters, and friends for years. Recently, staff piercer Kira was hospitalized with seizures, and the Hold Fast crew is organizing a fundraiser to help pay her medical bills. In my case, I’m donating an exclusive carnivorous plant enclosure to the fundraiser’s art auction, and probably a lot of other items besides. Considering how Kira is one of the most interesting people I know in a world chock full of interesting people (she even adopted Stella, the World’s Meanest Box Turtle, from me a while back), it’s the absolute least that I can do.

Interlude: Perot Museum of Natural History – 7


Mammoth skeleton

Hall of Ancient Life overview

Castoroides skeleton

Brittle star slab

Interlude: Perot Museum of Natural History – 6

Quetzacoatlus profille

Quetzacoatlus from below

Interlude: Perot Museum of Natural History – 5

Mosasaur skeleton

Mosasaur skull

Dallassaurus skull

Dallassaurus skeleton

Interlude: Perot Museum of Natural History – 4



Tenontosaurus skull

Troodon skeleton

Troodon skull

Tyrannosaurus and Alamosaurus

Tyrannosaurus closeup

Titanothere skull

Interlude: Perot Museum of Natural History – 3

Hesperornis skull

Hersperornis skeleton


Interlude: Perot Museum of Natural History – 2

Astronomy Hall

Astroonomy Hall

Astronomy Hall

Interlude: Perot Museum of Natural History – 1

Front oof the Perot Museum

Perot Museum, side view

Perot Museum's glowing frogs

Perot Museum frog detail

Perot frog line