Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Garden Odds and Ends

An errant seed found it's way into the yard. I have no clue where this watermelon came from, but once I recognized what it was, I've been trying to keep it growing. It's producing quite a few little melons, so we'll see if they're any good or if the squirrels get to them first.

Canna Topicanna Black has been flowering non stop since I got it into the ground, (watermelon vine in the background.) I know these were heavily cultivated to have larger than normal blooms, but my one complaint about this cultivar is that the flowers occasionally get so large they become top heavy and bend the whole stalk to the ground. The humming birds, dragonfly, and occasional butterfly do love these Canna flowers though.

Still potted because I plan on overwintering this bananna plant inside this winter, Musa acuminata ss. Java Blue, aka "Ice Cream" banana. I bought this guy as a tiny little start from Wellspring Gardens and in the spring and it has done remarkably well this season. So far, at least quadrupling in size the past few months. I just left it in the middle of the sunniest spots in the yard, watered and fertilized it heavily. Next spring it'll go in the ground somewhere, in the mean time, I'm now realizing what I thought was overpotting it, turned out not enough. Needs another repot already!

I picked this banana specifically, as being in zone 9, if I grow bananas that flower early in the summer they have a chance to set fruit before it starts to get cold here. I've also read that much of the tissue cultured Blue Java is actually Namwah. Either way, both banana's fruit is said to be delicious, and both are fairly cold tolerant varieties, so I don't much care as long as it fruits. I'm just having trouble finding out when the Namwah flowers, and if it might be the dwarf or tall variety.

After flowering, I thought I killed my Sauromatum venosum "Voodoo Lily." I stuck the pot in the corner of the garden bed I haven't dealt with yet, thinking I'd dump the soil another day. I should have read, because then I would've known after flowering it dies back to the bulb and shoots up about a month later with leaves. Neat leaves.

Glad I didn't throw it out now, as it's a pretty cool looking plant, not in bloom.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mid-Summer Temperate Carnivores

 As you can see, my husband is in the process of putting together something nice to display the temperate carnivores in the yard. Pics to come when it's all finished. In the mean time, while we were out there I took some photos of some of the carnivores outdoors that felt like being photogenic today.
S. leucophylla 'Tarnok'
S. rosea f. luteola
S. rosea, Mobile Co., AL, Clone K
D. filiformis var. tracyi
S. leucophylla Hurricaine Creek White, clone E x F, juvenile pitcher
S. purpurea ssp. venosa var. montana (F1, Transylvania Co., NC.)
Here's two I received from Rob Co of The Pitcher Plant Project as freebie seedlings added to an order I made 2 years ago that are starting to look good. Very interesting lids on both so far. I'm curious to see what they'll look like this fall with cooler weather.
S. Black Widow x flava rubricorpora
S. catesbaei "Grande" x Bud Wilkerson

 The plants I received from Mike King are all doing well.
S. leucophylla f. viridescens, Perdido, AL (MK-L46C)

The rest of the smaller seedlings from Mike King
This unidentified Drosera must've hitchhiked it's way into the collection as it doesn't resemble anything I've ever grown before.

Unidentified Sundew hitchiker

S. rosea 'Fat Chance'
VFT B52. Not a lot of color right now, but some huge traps.

Here's one I picked up from the local Hardware store. Too young to ID, but I'm guessing maybe 'Judith Hindle' or 'Daina's Delight?'

Hope all of your plants are doing well too!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Encyclia Care & Some Blooming Encyclia Pictures

As you may have noticed I went through a bit of an Encyclia phase last year, scooping up any new species I came across, along with some hybrids. I've learned a few things about caring for them since. If you've got some tips to grow these beauties to share too, let me know below!

Encyclia maderoi

Encyclias like to dry out between waterings, a lot like growing Cattleya orchids. Encyclia are native to South Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, and down through South America and in their natural environment they experience a dry season, but the humidity stays on the high side year round. Water heavily, then let it dry out completely before watering again in the spring, summer, and fall.

Rot is always the enemy here in Florida. Although we experience less extreme wet and dry seasons here, during our rainy season it would make sense for the weatherman to just say 50/50 chance of rain, at some point in the day, every day. So I make a point to keep good air movement,have nothing blocking the wind for them. I leave them totally dry through much of the winter months when it gets cooler here. I'm heavily considering mounting them for the future. As long as the lead pseudobulb isn't shriveled, you're watering enough. More people kill these through over-watering than under, which is why I'm leading with this care tip.

Encyclia guadalupeae

Encyclias like high light. I let mine get direct sun for hours a day, a few in the morning, a few in the afternoon, only somewhat protected from midday sun. If your Encyclia isn't blooming, try giving it more light. Adjust it to higher light slowly though, as just like with any other plant, it can burn with direct sun if it isn't used to it.

Encyclia cordigera

These are some of the easiest species I've cared for so far. Nothing is easier than to just find a good spot for them outdoors when the weather is warm and for the most part, leave them alone.

Encyclia tampensis

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cultivating Carnivorous Plants: A Book Review!

Recently I received a copy of our friend Natch Greyes' new book, Cultivating Carnivorous Plants. I had a little time yesterday to catch up on the reading I've been wanting to do. So here's a little review for anyone considering picking up a book on cultivating carnivorous plants.

I will admit I have never actually read a book on carnivorous plants before, ever. Until quite recently, never read Peter D'Amato's book, The Savage Garden either. Shocker, I know. Most information can be found online for free, so I never bothered buying a single cultivation guide for any of the plants I've ever tried to grow. This book has changed my mind about that stance. Especially with the less "popular" genus, it's not easy to find a source online with all the info you might want in one place. I love a well organized chart and this book has one for all the genera that have enough species to desire one. I like to grow heat tolerant species, so being able to look at things like altitude range and country of origin for almost all Utricularia is so handy.

Speaking of Utricularia, in reading this book, I learned there are quite a few species that may do well with the heat here, besides the native FL species. If nothing else, I love looking at pictures of beautiful species of all the plants I can't grow here easily. There is no shortage of fantastic photos throughout this book of all types of carnivorous plants. It's really great to see a mix of people's personal collection photos and not just "professionally" grown collection photos as well.

Natch also mentions bog building and common pitfalls for potential new bog-builders to consider, (wish I had read about a few of those issues and not by figuring things out after the fact,) growing indoors under artificial lighting (actually, I wish the section on lighting was larger, but that's only because lighting choice questions seem to pop up with frequency on forums,) as well as so many other growing tips and techniques throughout the book. 

There is also a great section on pests and disease as well. Pictures of the offenders and pictures of what their damage looks like ON carnivorous plants is so great to see as diagnosing what pest is harming your plants is a skill usually learned the hard way after many years of growing and witnessing different damage. The one pest I'd love to see covered in a cultivation guide book (Natch, if you ever do a revised edition?) are sod web worms and other various cutworms and moth larvae. They are common, and I usually see them misdiagnosed online as the less common rhizome borer, but they can do massive damage quickly on outdoor grown plants. Even The Savage Garden, (which I only thumbed through so far) only makes a brief mention of Exyra moths, which are only one of many moth larvae genus that can kill outdoor grown plants like Sarracenia.

This book is a great resource for anyone interested in growing carnivorous plants. Cultivation information, soil mixes, terrarium building, it's got a bit of everything for indoor and outdoor growers. Only the relevant information you'd want too, no filler or fluff here. If you're considering picking up this book, (and you really should,) you can purchase it online in paperback book or Kindle formats from Amazon, or get a signed copy from the author himself by clicking Here!.

By the way, Natch, my apologies for the delay in reading your book, been too busy with the new house and a new job to read at all lately. In response to your inscription (readers, of course I bought a signed copy) I had no idea Catopsis berteroniana existed or is a Florida native. Follow-up to anyone can I get one? It's beautiful!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How's The Nepenthes Tank Doing?

A few people have been curious, so I took some photos of the smaller Nepenthes I have in my tank. I have unfortunately not been focused on doing anything to make it look nicer in there, but the Nepenthes don't care about that anyway though, do they.

N. bicalcarata Orange Blush

N. sanguinea (Death Cube seedling)

N. rafflesiana "Dark Form" and one pitcher "Pink Form" on the right

N. veitchii Pink

N. 'Judith Finn'

Some photos I could only take with my phone as it's a bit cramped in there at the moment. Until I move some of the larger plants outdoors, it's hard to get a camera in there at a good angle. I also got a few new ones so rearranging is in order again too.

N. mirabilis var. globosa (N. Viking)

N. sumatrana

N. ampullaria Bau Green

N. kutchingensis x Viking
So that's the tank as of today! I really enjoy having at least the smaller plants indoors to look at again. I stopped growing the seedlings outside as it was too difficult to water them regularly, and I've rotted a few letting them go dry then too wet. So this is working out for me, and although the tank isn't as aesthetically pleasing as some of the terrariums you all have, friends and guests enjoy it anyway too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sarracenia Flowers for 2015!

Sarracenia rosea, Mobile Co. AL, clone k

Sarracenia rosea, Liberty Co., FL

The flower petals will fade to a darker pink in time, but just opened is my favorite coloration.
One petal got a little stuck and curled up while still in bud. 
S. leucophylla f. viridescens

Totally looks like this flower is melting. If it wasn't a bright lime green, it might look like it's drippy and sad. 
S. leucophylla 'Tarnok' 

would've had 2 flowers, but sod web worms :(

S. minor, Orange Co., FL

Looking good overall already

S. rubra?

This is the rubra or rubra hybrid from the "Bug Biting Plants Terrarium Kit" sold at Lowe's. S. rubra ssp. rubra or a hybrid?
There were a few that didn't flower this year for one reason or another, and some more just getting ready to flower that I'll add in later on.

I also have a whole bunch of new Sarracenia this year. Went a bit overboard and probably doubled the collection between spring sales and trades. So stay tuned for some pitchers as the growing season continues!

The latest additions to the crew just potted up. Some more from Mike Wang, and a few imported back to the states from Mike King in the UK. Super excited to see how all the new Sarrs do this year!