Sunday, November 7, 2010

Some background to the collection...

I've been growing carnivorous plants for the best part of 20 years now. During this time, I have cared for two separate collections. The first collection started when I was nine and lived on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. It contained mostly Sarracenia to begin with, but expanded into Nepenthes because they were better suited to the subtropical climate. Although I loved Sarracenia more, the winters were just too warm and the majority of plants being sold were hybrids - not the nice looking Sarracenia flava shown in the books I had.

I really cut my teeth with this collection, mostly because I didn't have lots of money to spend on things. This taught me to be really creative with my growing techniques. Even with the limited resources, the collection thrived. But then came the pressures of university and moves for work to Sydney and then Canberra. This first collection thus dwindled to a few Nepenthes that my parents now grow.

After settling in Canberra, I again looked to start growing carnivorous plants. Canberra has a temperate climate, and after looking into the cost of buying a greenhouse with misting and heating systems, and the cost of heating, I decided not to grow Nepenthes. However, the climate was perfect for Sarracenia - at last, an opportunity to grow them under ideal conditions! I gradually started collecting plants and, after meeting long-time growers Jessica and Peter Biddlecombe, I brought plants of every Sarracenia species. Although most of them do well here, Sarracenia flava are the real stars of the show. Inspired by their elegence, I have a collection of nearly 50 different variations of this species alone! To show what I mean, here is the smiling mouth of a Sarracenia flava var. rugellii x flava var. cuprea:

Sarracenia flava var. rugellii x S. flava var. cuprea.

The collection (see growlist tab) now fills a 6 x 6 foot greenhouse and a makeshift hoop-house. The greenhouse has the Sarracenia flava , S. minor, S. oreophila, Drosera and Dionaea, while the hoophouse has the purpurea, alata, leucophylla, psittacina, rubra, alabamensis and jonesii.