Friday, April 18, 2014

Changes to the collection coming with this year’s repotting!

Its been a while since I posted, so here is an update on what’s happening. Above is a shot of the collection a few months back. Note the area behind the plants…

Here is the same view now. Note the gravel and the pond shells replacing the bare earth? This is the new collection area, which will free up our paved entertaining area.

The intention is that the collection will be consolidated during this Winter’s repot and go into the ponds, which will serve as giant, potted bog gardens. The advantage of this method is that it is easy to maintain water levels, display the plants and provide the added bonus of habitat for frogs and dragonflies. I will be putting white cloud mountain minnows (Tanichthys albonubes) in to clean up any mosquitoes (and not eat the frogs!). Inspiration for this approach came from the Sarracenia forum’s master grower Meizzwang, whose collection shots can be seen on the forum here. He uses wading pools to house his plants, and they look amazing.

As for the reason for collection consolidation – well, you eventually reach a point where you realise you cannot have everything. The pond approach kind of enforces this. Between the two ponds, I can fit in 20 pots at either 250 or 300 mm each comfortably, including a 400 mm in the rear middle of each as a centrepiece. Smaller pots – well, yes they allow more plants, but the light penetration is not so great once they get growing, and the collection in smaller pots did not do so well as those in the big pots in our hot summer. The larger pots seemed to provide a more stable environment by the virtue of their size, and looked awesome to boot!

I plan to mass plant each pot with individual clones or comparable hybrids (maybe 4-8 rhizomes each), which should mean they will look amazing mid Summer. The spacing between pots will allow plenty of light in to everything for colour, trap humidity and keep a good microclimate going on, while allowing room for fish and other fauna to be happy. The idea is that the pots will also be below the rim of the pond so the Sphagnum can go nuts. I will also double pot so that the outer pot – whose bottom 50 mm will be full of pond gravel – will act as a place holder, so I can lift plants in and out without having to disturb everything.

I have way more than 24 clones of Sarracenia – see the grow list. So what is staying? My favourite clones of Sarracenia flava (can you say 400 mm pot mass planted with S. flava var. atropurpurea “FRT 1-1”?), a few hybrids, the leucophylla “Tarnok” and a few other species. I am sure what stays and what goes will be a moving feast for a while…

For a small number of clones, I will barely have enough to plant such large pots, while for most others I will have plenty of spares. So what will happen to the spares? I am throwing over between a bare-root, mail order dormancy sale (Australian eastern states only) or via the AUSCPS meetings later this year. Stay tuned for what happens, but if you are after something in particular (but not the FRT 1-1 or the Tarnoks – there are just enough for my needs at the moment!), drop me an email.

I do plan on keeping one of the current trays to allow me to do some Sarracenia from seed. I have a bunch of seedlings maturing now (maybe flowering this season for a few flava var. rugellii, and am anxious to see how they turn out. I also have seedlings from previous seasons coming up too. The seedling trays also allow me to keep weedy Drosera going in the collection, as they are dormant when I usually do repotting and often get inadvertently thrown out, no matter how careful you are. This is especially true of annuals like D. burmannii. I am also tempted to have a small side tray just for each of the D. binata clones I have – they look awesome in 200 mm pots!

So watch this space!