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Saturday, January 3, 2015

The long awaited, MEGA Sarracenia garden photo update – Part 3

Here is the final instalment in the mega photo update of my Sarracenia gardens!

Part 1 dealt with the last of the potted plants and the hybrid garden.

Part 2 dealt with the flava var. atropurpurea / rubricorpora / redder forms of cuprea / red VFT garden.

This post – part 3 – deals with the final garden, which as it turns out has every variety of S. flava except the antho free one growing in it. Be warned, this is a photo-intensive post and will take some time to load up.

Sarracenia flava garden

The long awaited, MEGA Sarracenia garden photo update – Part 2

This post covers the Sarra garden containing the so-called red forms of Sarracenia flava.

Part 1 of this post covers the potted Sarracenia and the hybrid Sarracenia garden. You can see this post by clicking here.

Part 3 covers the third garden that contains all flava forms except the antho free one.

The red Sarracenia flava garden

The long awaited, MEGA Sarracenia garden photo update – Part 1

Now the silly season is drawing to a close, I finally (!) got a chance to do justice in photographing the Sarracenia gardens and their inhabitants. This is pretty much an exhaustive look at what I am growing right now.

A warning up front, this is a photo intensive entry and will take a long time to load.

Make sure you also see Part 2 (the red flava varieties) and Part 3 (all flava varieties); this post covers the potted Sarracenia and the hybrid garden only.

Sarracenia gardens, 3 January 2014

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Here’s wishing everyone a very happy and successful 2015. I took advantage of an opportunity to shoot up to my parent’s place in Queensland and visited a few places of CP interest that I thought I would share.

Panorama of heathland, Mooloolah River N.P., Queensland, Australia

The above panorama is of the heathland in the Mooloolah River National Park on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. This area is where I saw my first wild carnivorous plants: Drosera spathulata var. gympiensis. I will always be grateful to my father for showing them to me, as it opened up my interest in carnivorous plants – they were no longer things found only in books or fragile exotics for sale at our local nursery. They were wild plants growing a few minutes drive from our house.

Drosera spathulata var. gympiensis

Drosera spathulata var. gympiensis

Above are a few plants of D. spathulata var. gympiensis from this locality. Individuals can vary tremendously within each population I have seen of this taxon, and here they can range from tiny flowering plants close to the size of D. pygmaea right up to giants over 8 cm across. These are middle of the road plants, perhaps 3-4 cm across, growing in light shade under a canopy of Melaleuca quinquinerva. Plants in full sun become bright burgundy red. Sadly, a lot of other sites I enjoyed visiting as a teenager are now extirpated because of changed hydrology and/or soil chemistry.

Nepenthes alata var. boschiana

And to close for the night – here is one of the Nepenthes my parents grow outdoors year round in hanging baskets in their Buderim garden. This is Nepenthes alata var. boschiana. Mum fell in love with this clone when we visited Geoff Mansell of Exotica Plants back in 1999, and we have grown it ever since. This one is happily growing up a Callistemon. There are also Nepenthes ventricosa, N. truncata, N. x allardii (= maxima x veitchii) and what is supposed to be N. thorelli in the garden, but none are quite as beautiful as this plant is.

Stay tuned – the photos I promised of my Saracenia gardens are due shortly!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Bog garden update

This post has been long overdue and is in no small part due to my recovering broken foot. To be precise, I managed to break one half of the lisfranc joint on my left big toe while chilling at the foot of Thornton’s Peak on a friend’s property. Drosera prolifera is endemic to Thornton’s Peak, so maybe one day I’ll get myself up there to see them. But this post is about the new Sarracenia gardens (I think “bog garden” sounds a bit crass personally). Last time I blogged, they were in the process of being planted. What happened since?

Sarracenia gardens

Sarracenia garden # 1

Pond # 1 is the flava var. atropurpurea / rubricorpora and non-veined flava var. cuprea garden. It also has red VFTs (plus the giant clone, B-52).

Sarracenia garden # 2

Pond # 2 is the flava (excl. atropurpurea & rubricorpora) garden. But a flava var. atropurpurea clone made it in by mistake; I thought I had put it in the appropriate garden and wedged it in here when I found it just as I was finishing up.

Pond # 3 is the hybrid / purpurea / leucophylla and general VFT garden.

As you can see, the gardens have matured, but it has been a frustrating season so far (another reason for the lack of posts). The plants have done well, but for a while I was beginning to think I had made a mistake because it took them a long time to settle in. A few things contributed to this, some natural and some due to design flaws with the gardens themselves. For one, Sarracenia never look good after being repotted. They always take a season to get over it and settle in. Then there was our windy spring, which resulted in a lot of pitchers being deformed. And then there were design flaws.

The major design flaw was not providing an overflow and a drain. It may seem counterintuitive to have a drain in a bog garden, but I learned the hard way. The pond at far left in the above pictures got in a lot of trouble because, during a hot and windy day, I filled it to overflowing to make sure they plants had enough water. This promptly turned the Sphagnum into soup, and allowed many plants to be uprooted in the wind. In the other ponds, even a day of water sitting on the surface saw a lot of live Sphagnum (which were planted in clumps) grow loads of algae.

Overflow bulkhead prior to installation

Here is the bulkhead I used to provide an overflow. It creates a seal with two rubber gaskets. I decided to install them about 2 cm below the surface of the garden; this way there is still a high water table without water pooling on the surface.

Overflow installation on my Sarracenia garden

Installing bulkheads onto the gardens is easy. You need a circular, hole-cutting bit (different to a drill bit) and a high-speed drill. Use gentle but firm pressure to ensure a clean cut and remove any burring with a craft knife. Then fit the inner seal onto the bulkhead, insert the threaded end through the hold from the inside to outside, attach the outer gasket, and tighten the holding nut to finger tight only.

Overflow installed on my Sarracenia garden.

Here is what the bulkhead looks like installed. Sure, you could just drill a hole, but if you ever wanted to use the pond to brim full, a bulkhead provides you with the flexibility to do so. Since they have been installed, I merely fill the garden until water starts to come out the overflow. I am very sure I am using a lot less water than I was using the tray method.

There is a lot more to tell about these gardens, but writing about them will have to wait for another night. The plan is to get out and take a stack of macro photos, upload them to Flickr, and then upload them here and write about it. That will take a few days to organise, so bear with me. Until then, good growing.