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...
05/17/2002 - No, I'm not losing interest...
05/23/2002 - Blooms are opening...
06/17/2002 - I now believe...
09/15/2002 - This season has been...
May, 2003 - The End.
05/17/2002 - No, I'm not losing interest. I'm only reporting summary or unique information. If you've followed the progress of the bog in previous years, then assume things are mostly similar unless reported here.
OK, so the big change from last year was I didn't bother to mulch the plants at all this year. I did allow fallen leaves to accumulate, though, and essentially provide a natural mulch. Even so, it was a significantly less effective covering than the 5 inches of pine needles.
Winter was uneventful. No snow, no ice, nights into the low 20's a few times, but always warming above 40 during the day. I'm pretty sure one of these winters is going to set me back rather dramatically, but my luck is holding so far. This spring was much cooler and drier than last. We had a light frost this past week, which is a bit unusual. The coupling of the cold, dry days and thinner mulch probably explains the somewhat sluggish performance of the garden so far this spring. Actually, I thought things were a little ahead until I reviewed the actual data. There are 10 blooms that will probably open this year.
I whacked off most of the frost damage last week. I wasn't quite as aggressive as last year. I left most of the green stuff. I figured I'd allow the plants a chance to photosynthesize with what greenery they had left after winter frost got done with them.
I am preparing to euthanize a hundred or so Drosera filiformis filiformis plants. They are a noxious weed. On the other hand, I am preparing to spread Pinguicula grandiflora seeds as widely as possible. Five of last years seedlings survived. They are quite cute little plants, so far about the size of a dime.
This year I plan to concentrate on photographs. I've acquired some new equipment that I'm hoping will yield superior results.
05/23/2002 - Blooms are opening. I took one to work. I stuck it into a vase with 3 cute pink roses. Big mistake. It smelled really bad. I finally removed it from my office and placed it in a large open area and continued to get complaints from the more sensitive members of the staff. Oh, well... I guess Sarracenia blossoms will be spared from commercial arrangements, anyway. It generated a minor amount of interest.
06/17/2002 - I now believe that carnivorous plants evolved to eat insects not because of poor soil conditions, but out of self defense. Then, after discovering the nutritional value of the bugs they were eating, they decided to move to areas of poor soil because of less competition for real estate. The tender new growth of S. alata and D. muscipula seem to be particularly susceptible to aphids, slugs, and other plant-eating vermin. I'm struggling with the concept of using an insecticide to protect plants next spring. Somehow, it just seems wrong!
Some of the blooms were less odorous than the first one I took to work. I ended up with a rather attractive boquet of 4 that lasted the better part of a week. While they didn't attract the volume of attention they deserved, a few took notice.
09/15/2002 - This season has been one of watching and enjoying. The bog is showing signs of wear and tear. Hardly a pitcher stands that doesn't have the scars of internal battles. An early August heat wave (105 degrees) cooked the S. oreophila. The pitchers still stand, but they're rather sad looking. This summer I built a PortaBog®. This is entirely my own invention. I hereby donate the concept to the public domain for the promotion of carnivorous plants to the masses.
May, 2003 - The bog is preparing for it's biggest spring bloom show yet. A few weeks ago we sold our house, and the bog goes with it. This project has been fun and rewarding. I learned a lot, but it's time to move on to other endeavors!
Perpetual Status Report Measurements indicate size of largest example.
1. Sarracenia purpurea venosa 'Burkei' 05/17/2002 Survived the winter with only minor frost damage. Three bloom stalks are emerging, 8.5 inches tall. Many small pitchers appearing as well.
06/17/2002 huge new pitchers emerging - 9" long. Bloom is done, 16" tall and quite distorted.
09/15/2002 Unfortunately, this specimine has become a haven for slugs. The pitchers have suffered considerable damage, but even so the plant appears otherwise vigorous and healthy with more than 45 pitchers reaching lengths of 10 inches.
2. Sarracenia flava typical - Florida Gulf Coast area 05/17/2002 A 15 inch tall bloom stalk is ready to open at any moment. Very little other activity.
06/17/2002 18" pitcher not yet ready to open. I picked the bloom to display in my office.
09/15/2002 this plant is healthy enough, with 15 pitchers up to 19 inches tall, but not as robust as others in the bog.
3. Sarracenia flava 'Red Throat' 05/17/2002 4 bloom stalks this year. Largest is 6 inches tall. Pitchers are up 14.5"
06/17/2002 18.5" pitchers open.
09/15/2002 More than 20 pitchers reaching up to 19 inches. Seems healthy enough.
4. Sarracenia alata typical 'Angelina County, Tx' 05/17/2002 4 pitchers up to 12" tall. No bloom this year.
06/17/2002 21" pitchers, quite distorted
09/15/2002 growing within 24 inches of aphid infested lupines has not done this plant any favors. 15 distorted pitchers up to 19 inches tall seem to indicate that the plant has a strong constitution.
5. Sarracenia alata nigrapurpurea 05/17/2002 2 bloom stalks this year, up 6". Pitchers are only up 4" so far.
06/17/2002 3 pitchers, 14.5 inches 17 inch bloom stalk remains (I picked the other one for a boquet)
09/15/2002 This one has finally given a glimpse of what might be to come. Recently, 3 very large pitchers emerged, reaching up 23 inches.
6. Sarracenia leucophylla 'Alabama' 05/17/2002 Probably the most notable excitement this year. A total of 4 blooms up to 16" high. Pitchers lag a little at 6".
06/17/2002 6 thin spring pitchers, 19" tall. Remaining bloom is 25" tall. (I picked the other for a boquet)
09/15/2002 Really slow getting going this season. It's just now beginning to send up the larger pitchers for which this plant is famous. Don't know if it was too wet or dry or just plain slow.
7. Sarracenia flava 'Copperlid' 05/17/2002 3 buds on 19" stalks. 6 pitchers, 23" tall.
06/17/2002 6 pitchers, 27" tall, one remaining 12" bloom.
09/15/2002 The star performer in the bog this year. 28 inch pitchers sprawl in all directions making it difficult to count, but there are at least 10 healthy pitchers.
8. Dionaea muscipula 05/17/2002 suffering most of any bog plants from lack of mulch and the cool spring. there are more than 2 dozen traps present, but the largest are a half inch, compared to last year's 1.25"
06/17/2002 a mass of .5" traps. Many distorted by slugs and aphids.
09/15/2002 The best year yet. Large traps, 15 - 30 per plant
9. Sarracenia minor 05/17/2002 I think this one is done... 10. Sarracenia psittacina 05/17/2002 This plant is just an unsightly wad of mostly small (2 inch or less) pitchers. I'm going to break it up next year and try some of it in a different area of the bog. It's barely getting started this spring.
06/17/2002 This thing looks like medusa's hairdoo. Very difficult to distinguish new pitchers from old. Amazingly, a 6" bloom stalk has emerged!
09/15/2002 Probably a hundred little pitchers. I will probably divide this plant next year and see if it does better in slightly different conditions.
12. Drosera rotundifolia 05/17/2002 several small seedlings scattered about. I'll have to rescue them from getting squeezed out by the D. filiformi
09/15/2002 seedlings are doing nicely. Will probably bloom next year.
13. Dionaea miscipula - Akai Ryu, Red Dragon 05/17/2002 Not nearly as robust as the regular green flytraps. May be too dry where they are.
09/15/2002 This year when I watered the sphagnum moss I'd dump a little water on this plant. I was rewarded with 15 of the largest and most healty traps it has ever produced.
14. Drosera filiformis filiformis 05/17/2002 weeds, I tell you, they're all weeds... 15. Drosera binata - 'T' form 05/17/2002 4 inches or so tall. Fairly compact plants so far this year, probably because of the cold.
06/17/2002 3 very nice 'bushes' and a couple of seedlings emerging
09/15/2002 The nicest binata shrub was 10 inches tall with 20 individual bloom stalks reaching upwards of 24 inches!
16. Sarracenia rubra wherryii 05/17/2002 2 blooms 7", 8 4" pitchers.
06/17/2002 lots of small pitchers up to 10". The remaining bloom is 8" tall
09/15/2002 20 pitchers 10 inches tall. Not the healthiest plant, but surviving.
17. Sarracenia rubra rubra 05/17/2002 8 pitchers, 4" tall. No blooms...
06/17/2002 a bunch of pitchers up to 11" tall.
09/15/2002 a little better than the wherryii, with pitchers 13 inches tall, but still a little substandard.
19. Sarracenia oreophila 05/17/2002 3 blooms up 14 inches. 15 pitchers up to 19" tall. Very robust plant. A really nice early spring performer.
06/17/2002 This guy is fantastic. A new pitcher emerged last week, topping out at 21".
09/15/2002 The star of the bog through July, it has finally succumbed to the heat
20. Sarracenia x Judith Hindle 05/17/2002 Two 17 inch blooms! 10 pitchers at 7.5 inches. A healthy specimen, though I've seen larger.
06/17/2002 Pitchers are up to 15.5" tall, with a 25.5" bloom stalk. (yes, I picked the other one...)
09/15/2002 25 pitchers 17 inches tall would make this one of the most spectacular plants in the bog, except it's completely overshadowed by the 'Copperlid' 'Red Throat' and Nigrapurpurea. oh, well!
21. Pinguicula Grandiflora 05/17/2002 Mostly done blooming. Five seedlings survived the winter.
06/17/2002 closer counting reveals at least 10 small plants from seed.
09/15/2002 many of the seedlings produced 8-10 leaves, plants with a diameter of 3 inches or more. Beginning to show signs of preparing to dormancy.
22. Sarracenia alata x minor 05/17/2002 A little slow getting going.
06/17/2002 The bloom died at 2", and now numerous new pitchers are emerging, up to 10" tall already.
09/15/2002 vigorous. 15 pitchers up to 16" tall.
23. Sarracenia x Ladies in Waiting
09/15/2002 an attractive plant with 13, 13 inch pitchers just recently planted in the PortaBog®. Is sending up a crop of small, late season pitchers.
Back to the Bog