Do you like zebras? I do. Like many people, since childhood I’ve harbored the desire to have one for my very own. Oh, its deep down within me, tucked behind sensibility and a seriously lacking understanding of just what a zebra needs to thrive and be happy, but its there. Along comes a guy or a group of guys with a whopping stock of baby zebras…all within my price range. I figure I can fit a couple in my yard, so I go for it.
When the zebras arrive, they tumble out of the box looking a lot smaller than advertised, barely weaned and sporting an itchy rash. I’ve built a pen for them, so I stick them in and wait for them to attack the hay bales. They don’t. So, I go back to the zebra forum with my problem and they tell me to stick another hay bale in the pen. They’re not having it, PLUS they don’t know how to drink water from a trough. What’s that? So, I go back to the zebra forum and ask about baby zebras and water uptake…and itchy rashes on baby zebras. I’m told to provide a bigger trough for the water and advised to sprinkle baking soda on those rashes. I do so. Within a short time, my baby zebras are lying on their sides, tongues hanging out, ribs showing, rashes bloody, and I’m frantic. I find myself reading up on everything zebra. I’m perusing zebra groups looking for answers. On one of the groups, I happen upon an old zebra handler from way back. With my zebras dying in the pen, I pepper the guy with questions and find out some interesting facts.
1. My zebras were never weaned. They left their mothers far too early. They don’t know how to drink liquid from a trough. They need zebra milk SOON, and they need it delivered in tiny increments from a bottle.
2. There’s a disease among zebras that’s 100% fatal. It starts out as an itchy rash and progresses unto death. There’s no cure.
3. Baby zebras must pass government inspection before they enter my country, because that itchy rash has the ability to infect every zebra (and maybe anything remotely equine) it encounters. So, not only do I have incurably ill zebras without the ability to feed themselves, I have animals that can possibly take down my horses.
Now, I have the unpleasant task of deciding how to ease the deaths of a couple of innocent zebras.
Brumansias are very much like baby zebras. They have specific needs that must be met if you want them to thrive. You have to do your homework BEFORE you buy, then proceed carefully.
For the next week or so, I’m going to post information about brugmansia ownership and care here. Its what I know about them after 12 years of buying, breeding, propagating, succeeding and failing. Its information gleaned from experience and discussion with other growers and hybridizers. I hope its going to be helpful to those of you hoping to start brugmansia collections, and I further hope it will help assist you in becoming a better educated brugmansia buyer. Brugmansias aren’t marigolds, they need YOU being an active participant in their health and well being on a DAILY basis. I’ll provide great links to information along the way.
So, slow down a bit and take the time to learn. It will pay off in the end and assist you in obtaining and maintaining a happy relationship with this very special plant. If you wish, share this post with your brug buddies. Let’s learn together.