Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Stapelia asterias

My little collection of Asclepiads has been summering outdoors. Some of them in the front drive and a couple on the back patio.

This year in late spring, I slowly introduced them to the outdoors and the sun as not to fry them. They normally overwinter in my south facing kitchen window. I seldom water them during winter and they start looking a little sad and shriveled by spring.

Stapelia asterias and Stapelia leendertziae are both currently in bud. I was watering the yard last night and thought it should be "Take your Stinky Plants to Work Day" again. 

Stapelia asterias
Stapelia leendertziae

I'm glad I did, because while at work, Stapelia asterias broke bud and I got to watch it slowly open. I even missed part of the process because I couldn't get my iPhone camera open in time. Darn phone!

Now my work area periodically smells like farts. I'll be sure to blame it on the dog if anybody notices. Too bad my assistant Yvette isn't here this week...

Stapelia asterias
Stapelia asterias

Monday, July 11, 2016

Let's Make a Bog! or My New Money Suck?!?

Since I recently upgraded some of my smaller horse troughs and barrel liners that I had been keeping water lilies and goldfish in, I now had some empty ones laying about.

Nothing good comes from that...

During some recent plant shopping at Xera Plants, I happened to come home with a Sarracenia 'Scarlet Belle'. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with my little "carnivorous cutie", so it sat in a saucer of water in the driveway next to some of the water lilies.

Sarracenia 'Scarlet Belle
My mother and partner in plant crime came to visit for the Fourth of July and of course we did our usual plant excursions about the city, including going to Hughes Water Gardens.

While there, I was attracted to even more Sarracenias and came home with three more ('Tarnok', 'Daina's Delight' and 'Yellow Jacket').

I won't mention the two water lilies, frogbit, and other marginal plants, she bought as a present for my upcoming birthday... Such a good mom!

Sarracenia 'Daina's Delight'

Sarracenia 'Tarnok'
Sarracenia 'Yellow Jacket'
Later in the week, mom and I were at Garden Fever, and a lovely burgundy colored Venus Flytrap - Dionaea muscipula 'Akai Ryu' made its way into my shopping basket. I have no idea how that even happened?!? One minute I was looking at petunias, the next minute there was a Venus Flytrap in my basket!

Dionaea muscipula 'Akai Ryu'

On Saturday, we went to the Portland Saturday Market, and lo and behold, there is a carnivorous plant vendor among the art. Clearly it was a sign!

Another Venus Flytrap and a Drosera (Sundew) came home with me. The Sundew was so intriguing and was full of buds which would soon open into pretty pink flowers. Hooray for sticky tentacles of buggy death!

Drosera filiformis ssp. filiformis
Venus Flytrap 'Red Dragon'
By this time, I was well on my way to having a bog garden, so I thought I better figure out how to make a bog fast!

I just happened to have an empty flat water dish (around 70 gallons) laying around that seemed like the perfect home for these new babies. There was a trip for peat moss and sand for the soil. I got out the drill and made many holes in the side of the dish for excess water to drain out. The water should come up about two thirds of the level of the dirt. My dish will never be a pond again.

Flytraps and Pitcher plants are a fussy about a few of their requirements.

The plants I bought are all outdoor plants. They do go winter dormant and are fine as long as the temps don't dip too low for too long. We will see how this goes, I'm sure some winter protection will be needed. I hear the Flytraps are fussier about the cold/frost/freezing and may have to be taken out for the winter.

Flytraps and Pitcher plants also want full sun, pure water (no dissolved minerals), and nutrient poor soil (50% sphagnum peat moss with 50% perlite or sand).

Although it seems like a fun idea to feed them, it's best to let them catch their own bugs. They are well equipped for this. Playing with the Flytraps is also a no no. Each trap can only be tripped a handful of times before the leaf dies and each trap only lasts about two months. 

I don't have prior experience with these plants, so it's going to be a learning experience for me.

It's exciting to try a new group of plants though and I will report back next year with how successful I am.

Fingers crossed!