COLORADO SPRINGS — Packed to the rafters with carnivorous plants of all shapes and sizes, one greenhouse local to Colorado Springs stands as a testament to both a passion gone wild as well as a concerted effort to preserve rare plants for the future.
For Jeremiah Harris, a Colorado Springs local, the journey to collect, preserve, and propagate as many carnivorous plants as humanly possible started way back when he was a kid.
"When I was like four or five years old," commented Jeremiah, "I was fascinated with reptiles, insects, and carnivorous plants."
Following one truly exceptional day in his early years, Jeremiah's parents gifted him with a single Venus flytrap, which kicked his passion into high gear.
"So now, of [just] Venus flytraps, I have over 250 varieties."
Between that point and now, there have been years and years of cultivating all types of carnivorous plants, hosting home and garden shows across the Front Range, and traveling the world to interact with other carnivorous plant enthusiasts and trade plant know-how as well as pollen.
"[I] just kind of fell in love with them, [I] have a passion for them, and get to travel the world to go hunting for new ones."
Currently, and for the past dozen or so years, Jeremiah operates a private greenhouse where he has cultivated around 2,000 different varieties of carnivorous plants.
"In this greenhouse, I would say that it's 95 percent my collection."
The plants range from an array of pitcher plants, to more than 200 varieties of Venus flytraps, to butterworts and more. Among this impressive array, you can also find two Guinness World Record holding plants, both the largest Venus flytrap and a pitcher plant that holds the record for most expensive carnivorous plant (in this case a cutting of a plant) ever sold.
Far more than just a hobby or even a passion, this Springs local feels that it is his job to help preserve those plants which are both rare in the wild as well as in private collections
"So I feel that it's my responsibility to collect them and then I'll share them with other nurseries, botanic gardens, and other growers around the US to, at least, make sure that there are a few in collections in cultivation, just in case something were to happen to some of these in the wild."
At the end of the day, Jeremiah admits that he's as captivated now by his cultivated greenery as he was all those years ago.
"You immediately open the door, you feel the steam hit your face, it's 80 degrees and humid in here so you [take] that instant trip to a tropical rain forest, a tropical paradise; and even after 12 years of having this greenhouse, I open that door, I smell the honey-sweet nectar that these plants produce to attract their prey and it has captured me as well."
According to Jeremiah, the greenhouse he currently operates serves primarily as his own personal collection, but he does end up selling his extra plants on an as needed basis.
Looking towards the next few years, the goal is to expand operations and, "have more of a nursery here in the Springs, maybe a 10,000 to 11,000 square-foot nursery where I can really start propagating and selling more of these plants to the general public."
To learn more about Jeremiah and his passion for carnivorous plants, CLICK HERE.