Saturday, January 3, 2015

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

As you can see, its been a busy year for landscaping. Here is a pic of the same area from the same time last year:


Sarracenia flava, potted collection

To get the ball rolling, here is the potted Sarracenia. I’m hoping there will be room for another garden this winter…

Drosera binata, two forms

Drosera binata, clones “Golden Giant” (left) and “Marston Giant” (right). These plants were obtained from the now defunct Living Traps way back in 2010. They have filled up their 200mm/8” pots and are probably in need of being split. The foam tray at right contains a third form D. binata identical to those growing in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, and my 2011 Sarracenia flava seedlings.

Sarracenia flava var. cuprea seedling

One of said seedlings, this one should mature into a nice looking S. flava var. cuprea.

Sarracenia flava var. cuprea-atropurpurea, Phil Reyter plant

Sarracenia flava, either var. cuprea or atropurpurea. When I brought this (from the AUSCPS Christmas meeting in 2011), it was solid red but behaves as a coppertop if overgrown by more vigorous plants. Should I get another Sarracenia garden, I will make sure this plant gets planted right at the front to allow it to colour up.

flava rubricorpora FRT 2

Another temperamental plant, this is S. flava var. rubricorpora “FRT 2” from David Martin, who used to run a nursery called Fly Free Zone in Queensland. This was his biggest flava, and it can become a red tube in good years. It has only ever had red tubes once for me, and more usually looks like a striped flava var. flava. It tried to produce red tubes this year, but has bleached out. We have very windy springs, and it looks like allowing plants to clump up like this helps with pitcher production (albeit at a loss of colour).

Sarracenia flava var. rugelii, Hanna clone

A new addition from last year – a nice cut-throat flava I got at the Mount Tomah CP sale from Gordon & Lyn Hanna. This clone has a very large lid and I am hoping it will look spectacular in future years.

Sarracenia flava var. rugellii Gotcha Clone

Another cut-throat flava, this one is a seed grown clone produced by John Creevey of Gotcha! Plants. This clone likes to clump up off a single rhizome and resents being divided, so much so that this clone sulked for two years before producing reasonable pitchers. This is the best it has looked in a very long time.

Sarracenia x illustrata x [flava x alata]

Sarracenia x illustrata x [flava x alata]

The above two photos are of a very nice complex hybrid, Sarracenia ((flava x alata) x flava) x (flava x alata). It was bred by David Martin and is pretty much a mini-me red tube flava. Its large lid makes it very impressive, especially when allowed to clump.

Sarracenia leucophylla

Sarracenia leucophylla

I have dubbed this Sarracenia leucophylla “Pink English” because it originated from a single seedling out of a batch of wild collected seed back in the 1970s and grown by The Englishes, who later divorced and went out of carnivorous plants. Fresh pitchers are pinkish looking, but soon fill in to becoming increasingly red, looking most spectacular just before the first frosts. This particular plant was brought from Gordon & Lyn Hanna at the Mt Tomah CP sale last year.

Sarracenia flava ornata Hanna clone_f

This S. flava var. ornata is another Gordon & Lyn Hanna plant from the MT Tomah sale…

Sarracenia flava rubricorpora, Hanna No. 1 intensely red cloneSarracenia flava rubricorpora, Hanna No. 1 intensely red clone

As was this spectacular and  very red flava var. rubricorpora

Sarracenia flava var. rubricorpora, Hanna No. 2 clone

And this large-lidded rubricorpora clone.

Now, on to the gardens proper, starting with the hybrid garden.

The hybrid Sarracenia garden, 3 January 2014

Behind the gardens is a trellis for some tomatoes that self-sowed from last year’s cherry tomato plants. They make a nice windbreak in addition to being tasty… nothing like home grown tomatoes.

Sarracenia leucophylla x [x formosa], Fly Free Zone clone

This is a Sarracenia leucophylla x (x formosa), bred by David Martin. He said it was the plant everyone wanted from his collection. It looks beautiful at this time of year, and will do so until it goes dormant in late Autumn.

Drosera burmannii

The books will tell you Drosera burmannii is a tropical or subtropical plant, but there are clones in Australia that occur naturally in frosty areas. For example, I saw a thriving population just south of Tenterfield back in December 2003 that would experience very heavy frosts. Drosera burmannii is an annual and survives winter via its seeds. Here in Canberra, their seeds usually germinate in early December and grow very quickly. These plants are self-sown on live Sphagnum cristatum and seem to ride the new flushes of Sphagnum growth like they are surfing. I have not yet seen Sphagnum swallow up one of these plants.

Drosera filiformis Florida Red

Just to the right of these D. burmannii are other sundews. The red dewthread, Drosera filiformis “Florida Red”, acts as a very short lived perennial here. Most live for 2-3 seasons and die after flowering. Fortunately, they are prolific self pollinators that self sow at random. I’m hoping they will become a very pleasant weed in the Sarracenia gardens.

Drosera pygmaea

Speaking of self-sown red dewthreads, there is one growing just to the right of another prolific species – Drosera pygmaea. These guys got into the garden because a flicked a few gemmae about last autumn. The winter rains then scattered them at random through the garden, leaving 3 or so small colonies. I am looking forward to seeing how many plants there are after they fling their gemmae about later this year.

Random Sarracenia hybrid

This lovely looking hybrid is a NOID plant. It is a hybrid bred by David Martin that John Creevey gave me in 2012 as a really tiny plant. Now it is pushing 20 cm. The contrast between the red-pink of the pitcher and the white areolae in the hood is spectacular, especially in fresh pitchers.

Sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea all red clone

There are a few Sarracenia species in this garden – Sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea and S. rosea. This all red purpurea is from a private grower in Sydney.

Sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea

And this one is from seed collected in Ontario, grown by another local CP grower.

Sarracenia rosea, Gotcha Plants clone

This Sarracenia rosea is the Gotcha! Plants clone. It is one of the best out there in Australia and can get very big very fast. My original plant doubled in size in a week after it caught its first snails!

Sarracenia purpurea hybrid

This is a random purpurea hybrid, again grown by David Martin. He and I have no idea what it is, but it puts on a good show mid summer.

Sarracenia scarlett belle

The famous Sarracenia ‘Scarlett Belle” is always a stunner, the white areolae catch the sun like lead-light windows.

Sarracenia x formosa-esq

This Sarracenia x formosa looking thing has a bit of a story behind it. Way back in 1997, I brought a plant at the Sunshine Coast Garden show that looked like a Scarlett Belle, but with much bigger windows in the hood. The plant was from Fly Free Zone, and when he shut his nursery, I dug through his plants trying to find one. Just when I have given up hope, I found a few of the above plant and thought it must be the Scarlett Bell look-a-like. Sadly, it wasn’t, but it fills a niche – Sarracenia psittacina hates Canberra’s winters (ie. they get smaller and smaller each year, leading me to have given my plants away), so this look-a-like is very appreciated.

VFTs, ex Fly Free Zone

VFTs, Paradisea clone

VTFs, Gotcha Plants large form

I grow three VFT clones in this garden – (from top to bottom) David Martin’s green clone, Paradisea Clone # 1 and a seed grown cloone by John Creevey of Gotcha! Plants. I am somewhat sentimental about the green clone plant because I tried and failed to grow it as a kid many, many times. For this reason, I wanted to make sure it got pride of place now I am able to grow them well. John C., if you are reading this, now you know why I made sure I got hold of a piece when David shut up shop. Of these clones, John’s clone is the best performer, having upright and very, very large traps (up to 4 cm, which is getting close to B52 size). It also gets a nice reddish centre that means it self-catches numerous insects, mainly flies. It would be bigger than it is above if we had earwigs here (which fortunately we don’t); I used to catch them at the other house at night and a few times managed to fill the gob of every VFT I had with them. Accordingly, the VFTs got very big very fast. Now we don’t see earwigs very much, and I hope it stays that way.

Darlingtonia californica

At our last house, I had no trouble with cobra plants (Darlingtonia californica), but lost nearly all of them in a matter of weeks after we moved. I planted the survivors (all seedlings from Jessica Biddlecombe – hi Jessica!) in two of the three gardens to try and keep them in my collection. So far so good. Note also the Sarracenia flava seedlings (2011 crosses sown midsummer 2012), including what looks like an atropurpurea showing good colour already. Here’s hoping…

Sarracenia David Martin

This flava-esq plant is actually the selfing of a S. x moorei produced accidentally by David Martin. When happy (and not sulking at being re-planted like these plants are), they are a giant S. flava var. rubvricorpora look-a-like. Once it settles down and I can get some good photos, I am tempted to name it as a cultivar in honour of David for some of the excellent hybrids he has made… like the one belw.

Sarracenia flava hybrid, all red

I have to check what the label of this plant equates to, but it looks like a fantastic flava hybrid to me. It starts out looking sort of red-tube-ish (see right), but then fills in to be solid red (although these have bleached a bit in the sun and got knocked by hail late last year). It is mainly a spring grower.

Sarracenia heavy red veined hybrid

Another flava-esq plant from David is this heavy veined thing with pitchers less than 30 cm. It too can fill in solid red, but is possibly still phoohey at being transplanted.

Sarracenia hybrid

And the there is this leucophylla hybrid, again from David, whose ID is lost to the sands of time since its label was lost when I got it.

Sarracenia leucophylla 'Tarnok', flower

Sarracenia leucophylla 'Tarnok', pitcher

Also in the garden is S. leucophylla ‘Tarnok’, which produces stunning red-veined pitchers and its trademark pom-pom flowers. Sadly, I only got two flowers to come up this year.

Sarracenia flava x psittacina

This leucophylla x psittacina cross is from John Creevey/Gotcha! Plants, who is a prolific breeder of Sarracenia. John always plants out three seedling together, and if you look closely you can see three clones – one with open hoods, one with closed hoods and one that is very red with a more compact hood at the right of the clump. I was struck by this hybrid when I saw it back in 2012, and it quickly proved to have a rather special talent… catching butterflies and day-flying Agaristine moths!

Sarracenia leucophylla x psittacina with Heteronympha merope  Sarracenia leucophylla x psittacina with Heteronympha merope closeup

In fact, when I was photographing it, I noticed it had a live male Common Brown butterfly (Heteronympha merope) trapped inside one of its pitchers! It was still alive (and remarkably fresh for this time of year – I suspect there are two emergences of H. merope in Canberra) so I carefully released it. Still woozy from the coniine-laced Sarracenia nectar, it spiralled into the tomatoes to get over its hangover.

Heteronympha merope, released from Sarracenia pitcher

Sarracenia prey

As you can see, the trap has done rather well – the pitcher contained another male Common Brown and the remnants of a honeybee. While I was off with my broken foot, I was amazed that there were always Common Browns feeding at the S. flava, and saw a number be trapped. They always fall in with their wings folded, and the vacuum they create by flapping their wings makes sure they become firmly wedged into the trap. Given it already has a full belly, I am sure releasing the still alive butterfly will not make the slightest difference to its growth.

Sarracenia purpurea hybrid, stocking-toe lid

Another David Martin purpurea hybrid, whose hood ends in a peculiar stocking-cap looking appendage. This clone did not do well this year – in fact, another division did not grow at all after flowering.

Sarracenia rubra gulfensis x [ x formosa]

And this is one of several of David’s <insert Sarracenia taxon here> x (x formosa) crosses, in this instance, rubra ssp. gulfensis x (x formosa).

Sarracenia x courtii, Paradisea Clone S011

Perhaps one of the easiest to get Sarracenia in Australia – Paradisea/Collector’s Corner clone S11 – S. x courtii. It is a solid performer that can get very big. It is usually a mid-summer grower.


And to close this post, here is a Lobelia ‘Cambridge Blue’ that I have put into the garden to trial it as a companion plant. I just hope it isn’t too invasive…

Make sure you follow on to Part 2.