Welcome to another year of growing carnivorous plants in the urban landscape. Here's what's happening...
Perpetual Status Report - Cut to the chase. See what's going on...
02/25/2001 - The anticipation is killing me!
03/17/2001 - Began removing mulch today
03/26/2001 - New blooms emerging!
04/20/2001 - This year's crop is way behind...
04/26/2001 - It Lives! S. minor is alive!
05/21/2001 - This is a whole lot of fun.
05/24/2001 - OK, here's the side-by-side summary.
05/30/2001 - We're having fun now!
05/31/2001 - Photo album updates!
08/03/2001 - Just because...
09/29/2001 - Weeds, I tell you, they're all weeds...
02/25/2001 - The anticipation is killing me! Here we are, now into the last week of February, and I'm just dying to rake off the four to six inches of pine needles I spread over the entire bog for the winter. I've 'peeked' a couple of times and things appear well under control. D. filiformis is already uncurling little green shoots, but is still well covered by mulch. Venus Flytraps appear to be OK as well. This winter was very dry and much colder than last winter. Still much milder than the worst we can expect, we did experience lows near 20 many nights but never once failed to warm into at least the mid thirties. We received no snow or freezing rain whatsoever. Now, it's not entirely unheard of to receive one last winter's blast in the first week or two of March, but, all in all, I think we're home free.
According to last year's records, I should begin seeing blooms emerging in the next week or so. I'll need to be very careful removing the mulch. I'll need to start the pump in a few weeks as well. The big pump in the pond burnt out over the winter. I'll need to make sure I get the algae cleaned out of the bog pump before I fire it up. I had to replace the pump timer because the christmas lights on the house burnt it up. So, here we go...!
03/17/2001 - Began removing mulch today. Venus Flytraps have started sprouting - four to six traps per plant so far! S. oreophila sent up numerous phyllodia while mulched. All of the S. flava have flower buds on them. D. binata and filliformis seem to be doing just fine. I haven't found the pings yet. I'll be pleasantly surprised if they survived. I'll finish unearthing the rest probably tomorrow.
03/26/2001 - New blooms emerging! So far two of the three plants that bloomed last year have already sent up blooms. There is no activity showing on S. purpurea venosa. Last year at this time it had a bloom and one small pitcher showing. There may be some lag this year due to the plants being out of doors rather than in a green house for the winter. New bloomers this year include S. oreophila, S. flava 'Red Throat' and S. rubra wherryii. There may be more over the next few weeks.
Oh! Other goood news includes the butterworts (Pinguicula grandiflora) that didn't do much last year, are sending up bright green new leaves. It's quite exciting. VFTs appear to be doing well -- lots of new traps. Plants on the wet side of the bog are not doing as well as those on the dry side. I may have lost two or three big ones. If they survive, I'll move them. In other words, they need to come up so I can find them to move them.
Drosera all seem to be doing fine. D. filliformis filliformis may have gotten nipped by the frost a bit, but the rest seem to be doing quite fine. One D. binata 'T-form' hasn't showed signs of life yet. Some D. rotundifolia have already put out full sticky leaves. Kind of odd since there won't be bugs out for several more weeks.
I'm more than a little concerned about the volume of slugs and earthworms that may have drowned in the reservoir over the winter. The water smells BAD. Well, not so strong that you can smell it around the yard, but if you stick your nose down near the water you get a distinct whiff of a sulphorous odor. I've thought about siphoning off a bunch of the water, but we've had such a dry winter I'm afraid I'd end up needing to invest in 40 gallons of distilled water to refill the hole.
04/20/2001 - This year's crop is way behind last year. We continue to have chilly nights with lows in the low 30's and occasional frost. Daytime temperatures seldom rise above the mid 50's. Even so, 6 of the Sarracenia are exhibiting bloom buds, compared with three last year. Numbers of pitchers are up as well, though in most cases only a fraction of the size they were last year. We are rapidly approaching the last possible day of frost here (04/30), so I'm hopeful things will turn around soon.
I'm reporting on several new plants this year. I purchased the S. oreophila in mid June last year. So far, it appears to be the most robust plant in the garden. I didn't report on the pings last year because they went dormant almost immediately after I planted them in April, and I figured they wouldn't make it. They have just exploded this spring and their little purple blooms are spectacular! I picked up S. alata x minor at a local nursery. I felt sorry for it, all dried up, crying for sunshine in the shaded greenhouse. So, I bright it home and it immediately put up one new pitcher. I probably would have resisted the temptation (see introduction to my carnivorous garden) except the pitchers so much resembled a plain S. minor. My S. minor appears to be none too healthy, so this plant is an acceptable substitute.
Next project is to clean out the water lines and start the pump. Lots of algae has accumulated in the plastic lines. I'll probably inject them with bleach, let them soak for a few minutes, and capture the first few ounces of water that circulates. I'm thinking about chlorinating the reservoir on a regular basis to keep the algae under control. Advice from experts seems to confirm that the plants will probably receive less impact from the chlorine than decomposing algae.
04/26/2001 - It Lives! S. minor is alive! Last season's initial appearance didn't occur until the 18th of June. Here we are, a month and a half ahead of schedule, while everything else is much slower than last year. This further confirms my suspicion that these plants are rather sensitive to transplantation, and require a recovery period prior to resuming full production. I wonder if this is related to bare root vs. potted planting. My plants were all shipped bagged, cleaned of all dirt. They were re-planted within 48-72 hours of being removed from their nursery origins. The S. oreophila I purchased potted last summer seems to be responding with vigor this spring, including a large bloom bud.
05/21/2001 - This is a whole lot of fun. 85 degrees today, and the plants are just loving it. All the blooms are gone off the pings. Looks like I may get some seed. They are spreading like mad. I'll break up the clump as soon as they go dormant again. I'll bet I get 20 or more plants. I went to the store and picked up a 4x magnifier so I could see what else is growing. I have discovered a virtual carpet of tiny, unbelievably small sundew seedlings. At their current size it's impossible for me to tell what species are represented. They all look like miniature D. rotundifolia with only two leaves. The total span of the first seedling I discovered was about 3/32 of an inch. Now, I'd guess there are a hundred plants coming up. The largest are now as much as 1/8" inch across. Since all three of my sundew species bloomed simultaneously last summer, there's no telling what might appear. Imagine a 6 inch filliformis leaf with a half-inch round pad at the end. Or a binata with 10 inch "T"'s!
S. flava 'Copperlid' is in full bloom now. The bloom head is almost as big as a baseball, with 3.5 inch petals hanging down. It is most impressive. S. flava 'typical' is blooming nicely, but the stalk is significantly shorter. I will do another measurement later this week and make some comparisons with last year's data. I'm curious to see if we've caught up yet. The Venus Flytraps are finally getting in gear. They haven't appreciated the cool nights. We were still having low temperatures in the mid 30's as recently as last week. I can't remember a spring so cool. Today has certainly made up for it, and it's not cooling off this evening, either. The air is quite dry and breezy, though. I'm predicting a hot, dry summer.
05/24/2001 - OK, here's the side-by-side summary.
05/30/2001 - We're having fun now! S. flava and S. oreophila are leading the show, with Judith Hindle and S. leucophyla coming right along. S. purpurea venosa is probably done for. The S. flava "Copperlid" is quite striking. S. oreophila eagerly takes on prey that is maybe a bit much. I found two pitchers laying flat on the ground, chewed open from the inside. I believe carpenter ants may be the culprits. OK, so I admit I fed one of the pitchers an ant the evening before. It must have made the ant so angry that it went after another pitcher, so it's probably all my fault. The picture on the right displays the damage...
The blooms range from interesting to almost pretty. The S. flava "Copperlid" bloom was bigger than a baseball. It's just about done now. The S. purpurea venosa "Burkei" is potentially the 'prettiest' bloom, but is a little distorted this year. S. rubra wherryii has interestingly shaped petals. They're a little more interesting than the drooping strips hanging out of the S. flava. The S. oreophila petals are much shorter and stick out almost horizontally.
I'm pleased, for the most part. Almost everything is on a par with last year at this time, and in several cases, already ahead of the end of last season. I think my second pump timer has burnt out, so I'm going to be looking for something a little more substantial. I'm planning on replacing the Darlingtonia very soon, but I haven't decided what yet. Maybe a collection of showy hybrids...
08/03/2001 - Just because the updates are coming in farther apart than last year doesn't mean we're having any less fun! A side-by-side comparison with last year's data reveals almost everything doing better, and in some cases spectacularly better. I've been watering the bog entirely with tap water this year. So far, there seems to be no symptoms that I can identify. The S. alata that is so terribly distorted could be having aphid problems, but I'm not sure. I'll probably do one more update and a few more photos before I wind things up for this year...
09/29/2001 - Weeds, I tell you, they're all weeds. I never imagined the day when I'd run over five or six sundew plants with the wheel of my lawnmower and just say "Oh, well...". That day is here. D. filliformis filliformis is a carnivorous menace of unparalleled proportions. OK, so it's my fault for spreading the seeds over my entire bog area. I will never do that again, I promise. I am now the 'proud' cultivator of more than a hundred 'little' six inch tall seedlings. Is anyone aware of health issues associated with coating one's hands with sundew slime? Yesterday I needed to weed my bog. It seems to grow birch tree seedlings, thistles and grass. In the process I completely covered both hands with sun-dew. It was kind of disgusting, but it seemed to dry rapidly. Then I washed my hands under a hose before entering the house. That stuff would not wash off. It seemed to succumb easily to soap, however.
Otherwise, I'm very pleased with my bog this season. We could see our first frost any time between now and mid November. Almost without exception, plants that survived the start of this season are significantly more robust than they were last year. I may begin to experience crowding by next season. Already the leaning pitchers are tangling with other plants and making it difficult to make these periodic assessments. The S. alata aphid problems have eased since the removal of the seriously infested lupines. Next year I'm spreading Ping seeds rather than Drosera. I don't mind D. rotundifolia as much. They're cute little low growing plants. How did I get back on that subject? Geeez, those things are pervasive. Anyway, I'm pleased! What can I say...
1. Sarracenia purpurea venosa 'Burkei' 02/25/2001 Last year's pitchers still mostly intact and in good health.
04/20/2001 I trimmed off last years pitchers a week ago. New pitchers are emerging from 7 growth buds. 2 flower buds are now showing, with possibility of at least 2 more.
05/04/2001 4" bloom, 2" pitchers
05/30/2001 10 pitchers, 5", open bloom is 12". 2nd bud stopped growing at 2" and is no longer developing.
08/03/2001 Plant is now 14" in diameter and 6.5" tall
09/29/2001 There are about 40 pitchers jammed together in one carnivorous gaping maw... Twice as big as last year.
2. Sarracenia flava typical - Florida Gulf Coast area 02/25/2001 tops of pitchers frozen. Some living tissue still present.
03/17/2001 Bud, 1 inch high
04/20/2001 Bloom stalk 1.5 inches, 6 pitchers, largest at 2.5"
05/04/2001 8" inch pitchers, bloom died (small insect hole in side)
05/30/2001 5 pitchers, 19"
08/03/2001 13 pitchers + phyllodia, 19.5 inches tall
09/29/2001 18 pitchers, 19.5 inches tall - doing fine... Almost twice as tall as last year, more pitchers as well.
3. Sarracenia flava 'Red Throat' 02/25/2001 tops of pitchers frozen...
03/17/2001 Bud, 1 inch high
04/20/2001 Bloom stalk 5", 5 pitchers up 2 inches
05/04/2001 Bloom 7", pitchers 6.5"
05/30.2001 bloom open at 10", 5 pitchers 15.5"
08/03/2001 7 pitchers + phyllodia, 16" tall
09/29/2001 15 pitchers, 15.5" tall - More pitchers than last year
4. Sarracenia alata typical 'Angelina County, Tx' 02/25/2001 tops of pitchers frozen...
03/26/2001 one inch pitchers
04/20/2001 4 pitchers, 3 inches.
05/04/2001 3.5" Bloom, 7" pitcher
05/30/2001 7 pitchers, 15 inches, bloom bud is now 15" also, still growing
08/03/2001 10 pitchers, all severly distorted, up to 24" tall. Either plagued with aphids or receiving too much nitrogen
09/29/2001 10 pitchers, 22" tall - off to a rough start but doing better than last year now.
5. Sarracenia alata nigrapurpurea 02/25/2001 tops of pitchers frozen...
04/20/2001 bloom stalk, .5 inch
05/04/2001 4.5 inch bloom, 1.5" pitcher
05/30/2001 1 pitcher, 13". Bloom bud is 14" and still growing
08/03/2001 5 pitchers, 20.5" tall
09/29/2001 6 pitchers, 20" tall. More pitchers than last. About as tall...
6. Sarracenia leucophylla 'Alabama' 02/25/2001 tops of pitchers lightly frostbitten
03/26/2001 tiny new growth appearing
04/20/2001 several pitchers, largest 2.5 inches
05/04/2001 5" phylodia
05/30/2001 7 pitchers, 19"
08/03/2001 9 pitchers + phyllodia, 25.5" tall
09/29/2001 15 pitchers, 28" tall. Bigger, more robust than last year
7. Sarracenia flava 'Copperlid' 02/25/2001 tops of pitchers frozen...
03/17/2001 Bud, 1 inch high
04/20/2001 bloom 7 inches, 4 inch pitcher
05/04/2001 14" bloom, 10" pitcher
05/30/2001 open bloom is 20", petals deteriorating. 4 pitchers topping out at 23"!
08/03/2001 7 pitchers + phyllodia, 24" tall
09/29/2001 7 pitchers, 24" tall - Much more robust than last year
8. Dionaea muscipula 02/25/2001 dormant
03/17/2001 4 - 6 new traps.
04/20/2001 6 plants, five or six traps per
05/04/2001 doing fine...
05/30/2001 1.25" traps, eating heartily.
08/03/2001 seem to be highly sensitive to moisture. Only two plants thrive, but they are doing marvelously with 10-13 active 1 inch traps per plant.
09/29/2001 continuing to thrive - masses of traps with legs sticking out in every direction. Much more healthy than last year.
9. Sarracenia minor 02/25/2001 dead or dormant
04/25/2001 it lives! 3 pitchers, .5 inch.
05/04/2001 2, 3/8" pitchers
05/30/2001 12 pitchers, largest is 3". They just look like broad blades of grass
08/03/2001 9 pitchers remain, 4.24 inches tall, max.
09/29/2001 Sent up another five or six small pitchers. This one continues to struggle
10. Sarracenia psittacina 02/25/2001 appears to be quite healthy under mulch
04/20/2001 still appears healthy, no new growth yet...
05/04/2001 1.5" pitcher
08/03/2001 largest pitchers are 4.5 inches, with dozens of smaller ones.
09/29/2001 30-40 small pitchers. 5 or 6 are as much as 5 inches long.
11. S. purpurea venosa 'Carolina' 02/25/2001 mostly dormant
05/04/2001 a single 3/4" pitcher
05/30/2001 no change. I think this one is gone...
12. Drosera rotundifolia 02/25/2001 dormant
04/20/2001 hmmm... Last year's biggest performer looks a bit weak this year. Several others doing well...
05/30/2001 several plants, all healthy...
08/03/2001 seedlings coming up all over the place. Last year's plants did not do as well, but I'm hoping the seedlings will establish themselves in a more compatible environment.
13. Dionaea miscipula - Akai Ryu, Red Dragon 02/25/2001 dormant
03/17/2001 6 new baby traps
05/04/2001 plant on wet side of the bog died...
05/30/2001 doing OK, though not as wall as the green ones. Surprisingly lacking in red color. Kind of a muddy green color.
08/03/2001 There are probably 15 very small and densely packed traps. Probably too dry. The other plant rotted, I believe.
09/29/2001 doing a little better. Traps are still densely packed but a little larger. Color is still not very red.
14. Drosera filiformis filiformis 02/25/2001 about a half inch tall already, covered with mulch.
03/17/2001 some leaves as much as an inch long already
04/20/2001 plant clump 3 inches across, leaves 2 inches high now
05/04/2001 up 4 inches now...
05/30/2001 8.5 inches tall with many more leaves still uncoiling.
08/03/2001 Main plant is doing well. Seedlings are coming up like a lawn over a very large area of the bog.
09/29/2001 weeds, I tell you, they're all weeds...
15. Drosera binata - 'T' form 02/25/2001 3/8 of an inch of white new growth under mulch.
04/20/2001 1 of last year's clumps disappeared. Three others doing well
05/04/2001 5.5" tall plants. Lots of dividing possible for next season
05/30/2001 Largest plant is now 7" tall. Tallest bloom stalk is 8" tall.
08/03/2001 Plant itself is now 9" tall. Bloom stalk with dozens of white blossoms now stands at 20"!
09/29/2001 doing well... seem to be slowing down as a result of clipping the bloom stalk.
16. Sarracenia rubra wherryii 02/25/2001 dormant
03/26/2001 bloom bud just emerging. Several tiny pitchers
04/20/2001 bloom now 1.5 inches tall. 3 or 4 half inche pitchers.
05/04/2001 4.5" bloom, 2" pitcher
05/30/2001 two blooms, tallest one is open at 8". There are a total of 9 pitchers, up to 7 inches tall.
08/03/2001 15 pitchers + phyllodia, 9" tall.
09/29/2001 20 pitchers, 10" tall - These plants went almost unnoticed last season. Now they're rather attractive.
17. Sarracenia rubra rubra 02/25/2001 dormant
03/25/2001 3/4 inch new pitchers.
04/20/2001 4 half inch pitchers
05/04/2001 2" pitcher
05/30/2001 9 pitchers, 6.75"
08/03/2001 7 pitchers + phyllodia, 12.5" tall.
09/29/2001 10 pitchers, 14" tall - very nice, attractive plant compared to last year
18. Darlingtonia californica 02/25/2001 still showing signs of life, though no live pitchers
05/04/2001 officially dead.
19. Sarracenia oreophila 02/25/2001 dormant
02/26/2001 large bloom bud emerging
04/20/2001 10, 3 inch pitchers, bloom stalk now 3.5 inches
05/04/2001 Amazingly vigorous plant - 6" bloom with 13 pitchers up to 9" tall!
05/30/2001 The bloom opened at 8.5". Tallest of the 13 pitchers is now 16.5 inches tall!
08/03/2001 13 pitchers + numerous phyllodia. Tallest pitcher is 16" tall.
09/29/2001 Most of the pitchers are gone now. They phyllodia twist around each other like a ball of snakes.
20. Sarracenia x Judith Hindle 02/25/2001 a few frostbit pitchers, otherwise in fine shape.
04/20/2001 10-15, 1.5 inch pitchers
05/04/2001 20 3.5" pitchers
05/30/2001 at least 20 pitchers, now opening at 10".
08/03/2001 2 or 3 dozen pitchers, up to 14" tall.
09/29/2001 about the same. Definitely larger than last year. Pitchers seem a little uneven in size - lots of smaller ones with three or four really nice big ones.
21. Pinguicula Grandiflora 04/20/2001 5 plants, 4 blooming, two with 2 open flowers each, one with 2 more buds in addition to open blooms.
05/04/2001 12 plants (near as I can tell) with at least as many flowers.
05/30/2001 all developing seed pods.
08/03/2001 I spread the seeds around, and I believe I've spotted 5 or 6 microscopic seedlings emerging!
09/29/2001 There are now at least 20 confirmed seedlings! This is really cool!
22. Sarracenia alata x minor 04/20/2001 4 pitchers, 1.5 inches
05/04/2001 7 4" pitchers.
05/30/2001 8 pitchers, opening at 10.5"
08/03/2001 this one just took off! 13 pitchers, 16.5" tall!
09/29/2001 an attractive plant. Still putting out pitchers, though they don't last long.
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