Monday, June 24, 2013

Queensland Garden Expo–Gotcha! Plants will be in attendance!

Garden Expo

The Queensland Garden Expo is by far my favourite garden show. Personally, I think it is as good or better than the Sydney one. If you are in Queensland, make sure you get to the Queensland Garden Expo on the Sunshine Coast (Nambour showgrounds – you can catch the train from Brisbane, after which it is a 1km or so walk). Aside from the CPs that Gotcha! Plants will sell, it is an excellent day out for everyone, regardless of whether they are hard core gardeners of not.

Have a look at Gotcha! Plants’ website here if you haven’t already to see what they offer: .

I’ve also reviewed Gotcha’s nursery here and here. As you can see, they have awesome plants, all grown from seed. This could be your chance to get hold of that plant you’ve been after, but never found!

As a bit of nostalgia - I’ve visited nearly every year since 1992, mainly looking for carnivorous plants. I’ve seen a number of nurseries and CP suppliers come and go over the years at the expo, and the number and diversity of CPs on sale rise and fall.

  • 1992 had maybe two sellers, one with a few ex tissue cultured venus’s flytraps and some Drosera spathulata that suspiciously looked like they had been grubbed up from somewhere.
  • 1993-1996 saw no CPs whatsoever on sale – a few VFTs if you were lucky.
  • The expo had a sort of renaissance from 1997 on. One nursery sold Exotica Plants Nepenthes and increasing numbers of Sarracenia from Fly Free Zone in the years 1997-2000.
  • In 2001 through 2003, an orchid nursery took over with Exotica’s Nepenthes, while Sarracenia all but disappeared.
  • In 2004, the aforementioned orchid nursery again selling large numbers of magnificent Nepenthes from Exotica Plants, plus Fly Free Zone themselves selling Sarracenia, Cephalotus and Drosera, plus Drosera, Dionaea and Utricularia from the just starting out Gotcha! Plants.
  • 2005 was supposedly even better (according to my family – I was stuck in Sydney), with Gotcha! and Living Traps selling huge numbers of magnificent plants (including 30 cm Heliamphora!).

Since then, Gotcha! has become the only seller of CPs, but they provide a reliably high amount of diversity and excellent plants (in fact, they provide a better range at their stall than what Triffid Park do at their stalls – with the possible exceptions of Darlingtonia and Cephalotus).

So make sure you go if you can – you won’t be sorry!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hard core evidence for the uninitiated that Venus’s flytraps ARE NOT TROPICAL!!!!

Although this is old news for CP people, you would be surprised how many people new to carnivorous plants still think the Venus’s flytrap is a tropical plant from the rainforests of Madagascar (especially kids who got their entire natural history education from the movie Madagascar). In fact, most times I see people looking at Venus’s flytraps at a nursery, I nearly always hear someone describe them as being from tropical Madagascan rainforests and having the ability to drop dead for no reason.

frozen vft_thumb[1]

So, to help dispel this myth is a photo I took yesterday of my frozen Venus’s flytraps. Note the ice in the tray, and that the Sphagnum moss they are growing in is frozen completely solid.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Frozen sundews (with compliments to Carl Mazur)


My yard this morning after a -4.8C frost. The temperature was just rising above freezing as I took the photo; note the termination of the frost along the shadow line on the lawn. The pots were frozen solid and there was an ice film on the water trays.

Recently, fellow CP blogger Carl Mazur from Canada blogged about his success with Drosera binata forms in the USDA climate zone 6b. As Carl was interested to try additional species, I wrote him some suggestions based on my experience in growing Drosera species in the frosty political wastes of city of Canberra, which is the coldest major city in Australia. For the record, Canberra has a USDA zone equivalent of Zone 8. This morning proved to be a fresh one at –4.8C, so I took a few photos of my Drosera surviving under the cold conditions. Hope you enjoy Carl!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

If you are an experienced CP grower and read only one post on my blog…


Sarracenia flava var. cuprea “Helmut’s Rosy Red”. I lost this plant from my collection and it took a few years before I got another division. What happened? read on…

Make sure it is this one:

It took a while to figure it out – I had been loosing Sarracenia from my collection each year, and thought it was some sort of fungus. Each time it was the same – wilting pitchers, and death a few days later. But when I had some colleagues who are plant pathologists examine the plants, they could not find any obvious signs of fungal (or bacterial) infection.

Eventually, I brought them a plant just beginning to show signs of distress, and when we examined it, we found fertiliser deposits on the roots and rhizome. The diagnosis – fertiliser burn. And what made it worse was that the plant in question had not been fertilised – the deposits had originated from other pots and precipitated out of the water.