Barsch Tropicals is owned and operated by Chantakarn and Jimmy Barsch. Jimmy developed an interest in gardening as a boy working with his father in their vegetable garden. His interest in plants was broadened in junior high and high school through his friendship with Sean Hogan. The two of them took numerous classes in horticulture together. After high school Sean continued his pursuit in the horticulture field as a landscape designer, curator at the Berkley botanical garden and is now the owner operator of Cistus Nursery in Portland Oregon. Jimmy pursued an education in economics and business and after receiving his MBA moved to Hawaii to pursue a career in mortgage banking. Jimmy’s horticultural activities experienced a 15 year dormancy, but spring came at last in 1997, when he returned to Sacramento with his newlywed Thai wife Chantakarn. At the time of their marriage, neither of them new that the other had a set of undisclosed skills and passion that would combine so fortuitously. For Jimmy of course it was gardening and for Chanatakarn it was cooking. An extensive vegetable garden was started, fruit trees were planted (over 50 of them). And while the cook was pleased with all the fresh vegetables and fruits, some things were missing she pointed out. The cook also wanted lemon grass, ginger, kaffir lime, pineapple, sugar cane, guava, banana leaves, papayas and fresh chili pepper and basil all year around. So, Jimmy and his dad built a greenhouse and enlarged it not once but twice (who knew that a dwarf papaya would grow 15 feet tall).
On a trip to Thailand they visited the famous Jatujak market which covers over 35 acres. Jimmy came upon an orchid vendor selling Vandas that were growing suspended from fishing line. They had beautiful flowers almost 5 inches across and they were growing without soil, bark, or even a pot. Jimmy starred in disbelief, how could this be? He had spent so much of his time with plants working on perfecting the soil they grew in, but this plant had no need. He thought of the Buddha saying “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change”. He was mesmerized by the Vandas and starred for a long time before he noticed the other plants hanging by strings. These were Tillandsias, they too had no soil, no pots, they didn’t even have roots. A new passion was formed that day, a new greenhouse would be built. It would be filled with orchids and Tillandsias and oh my god what is that? That too would go in it he decided on that day, only later to discover that it was a Nepenthes the king of carnivorous plants.
Over the years the collection kept growing. We joined the Sacramento Bromeliad and Carnivorous plant Society as well as the Sacramento Orchid Society. We brought plants to the annual plant sales, a few at first and then a lot. Our orchid society encouraged us to take a spot as a vendor at their annual show. It worked out better than we expected. Our plants were a hit and we have been invited back every year since, invited as a vendor to other orchid shows and established our relationship with a retailer.
There is a fine line between an out of control hobbyist and struggling nursery man. In 2012 Chantakarn forced Jimmy to cross that line and Barsch Tropicals was created. We purchase young plants from wholesale growers in the US and around the world. We propagate plants from seed, cuttings, and divisions.