Monday, January 2, 2012

Nursery reviews # 1, Part 2: Gotcha! Plants, Queensland

This half of the Gotcha! Plants review focuses on the collection of the former CP nursery Fly Free Zone.
Fly Free Zone was a CP nursery run by David and Felicity Martin. They went commercial around 1994, but David had been growing Sarracenia, Nepenthes and Dionaea for some 20 years before that. And when I say growing, I mean he started off with different species that he grew from seed (mostly from the late Fred Howell) and started crossing them to produce hybrids. He then selected the best, based on their colour and vigour. These things truly set David’s plants apart – the colours of his hybrids are breathtaking and his plants tend to form nice, compact rhizomes and strongly clumped plants. They are near-perfect in cultivation – their compact growth means you can have a large variety of plants in a relatively small space. I have been growing these plants since they appeared in 1994. Sadly, David & Felicity closed up shop last year and moved north, with the Sarracenia going to Gotcha! Plants. I was fortunate to receive a lot of his S. flava, some of which were started from seed in 1979!
So without further ado, lets take a look David’s plants. At the moment, they are out on a dam, so it was a little awkward to photograph them. And there was no way I was taking my good DSLR and macro lenses out in a small boat.
Some very nice things are in this selection. The dark S. flava at top right is FRT 1-1, the perfect S. flava var. atropurpurea. It forms solid burgundy traps in full sun and red traps even in the shade. Like most of David’s plants, it splits readily and is very vigorous. Next to it is S. x illustrata x (alata x flava). It is essentially a dwarf S. flava var. rubricorpora, only it pitchers far more strongly and forms rather dense clumps. The S. leucophylla hybrids are too many to name, but the ones at front right are magnificent – they start off like this and become solid red within a few months.
Also some special things here. Perhaps the most special is a stunning S. x moorei. It is a giant – a plant I am now growing is some 90 cm tall. Its the giant red-tube flava look-a-likes just to the left of centre. Its only annoyance is that it produces a single trap per season, followed by phyllodia. The closest thing I have seen to it is Sarracenia ‘Wilkerson’s Red’ – only this plant’s lid is better marked. Here’s a rather poor photo of it:
David Martin
This photo does not really do justice to it – I’ll post some better photos under a separate post later. The shorter red plant is also special – it was out too far on the dam to photograph. Sadly, I left the tag for this plant in Queensland, so I’ll post its name when I next speak with John Creevey.
Look at the riot of colour here! Again, FRT 1-1 is the all red S. flava, at top left this time.
And here…
And even more colour.
What is impressive is this – every one of these plants are in 100 mm (4”) pots! I am just about to pot up a lot of these plants, so will do special posts for each as they come good next season.