As I am just about to go off on my holidays for two weeks there will be no Dendritic Reflective next week or the week after. I am however making a record of the steps I have taken to provide care for my plants whilst I am away.
Pitch, Piggy, Venus, Aphro
The carnivores were all transferred to their new trays on Monday morning. The weather forecast was spot on when it said that it was going to rain, and boy did it rain. The skies opened at about 11am and by 9pm the rain was still going strong. Whilst the English have come to expect their bank holidays to be a wash out, the sustained heaviness of this rain was something that I have not seen before, certainly in London. I used a large proportion of my rain water stocks to fill the purchased trays but perhaps I should have held off for the rain has subsequently filled the 4 trays on the patio table, containing Pitch, Piggy, Venus and Aphro, to the absolute brim. Venus and Aphro are partially submerged although I am pleased to report that hardly any of the traps have closed even those that remain fully underwater. Pitch is also extremely waterlogged. Piggy is in a taller pot and thus remains happily mostly above the waterline. Now, the literature says that you should be careful not to overwater carnivorous plants and that their drainage should be good. However, this overwatering is likely to be the lesser of two evils in that I believe that the plants would sustain more harm if they were allowed to dry out. The forecast for the end of this week into next is better and so hopefully the water level will decrease but the plants will not run out of water before I return.
This is a substantial risk but needs must as there is no other realistic choice that currently presents. Fingers, toes and everything else remain crossed.
The following is an additional update from the evening of Wednesday 27th August:
I have had to put some large stones in the trays to try and restrict the movement of the plants within them. There is so much water in each tray that the plants are sometimes floating around with at least one falling over, Pitch I presume. My next door neighbour had to pick him up and restore him to a vertical position. Slightly more alarming are reports that after Hurricane Bertha brought wind and torrential rain so Hurricane Cristobal now looms large in the weather forecast. According to reports (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-weather-summer-could-make-a-late-comeback-thanks-to-hurricane-cristobal-9693551.html), this new hurricane will miss the UK but will still affect the coming weather. Luckily, although Hurricane Cristobal will bring some rain, once this short burst stops Cristobal will draw a high pressure front bringing warmer temperatures and sunshine. The current BBC forecast for this week and next shows the following:
Now that the carnivores have been in their watery trays for two days, all seems well with Pitch, Sunny, Drake (although he is still degenerating but it has not sped up since his change of environment), Piggy and Venus with all seeming to be coping with the boggy conditions. For Aphro alas he appears not to be liking this change of conditions. There are signs of blackening for a number of his traps particularly those that are partially or totally submerged. However, the blackening has so far not affected all of the traps that are partially or totally submerged and the new trap growths towards the middle of the pot seem to be surviving. Aphro’s pot is significantly shorter than his cousins and this means that is sitting much lower in the water than the others. Hopefully that sunshine will appear and will take the water down to a level with which he is happy.
All in all I am lithe to change my plans and am clinging to the idea that it is better to overwater for a short period than it is to let the carnivores dry out for a short period. They will all be approaching dormancy in October anyway and so as long as they are alive by the time I get back on September 7th/8th my hope is that they will be able to recover healthily before dormancy and return with renewed vigour next year.
Changing the subject completely. Having the plants at a lower level means that I can see the inside of the plants properly. I have noticed that Venus’s pot has a few squatters, namely some sundews that have taken seed. I believe this to be Drosera spatulata although it could also maybe be Drosera rotundifolia, the former is most likely but I may have to wait until the plants further mature to be absolutely sure. Carnivorous plant literature describes both of these species as being like weeds to the carnivorous plant grower and that has certainly proved true in this case. When I repot Venus in the Spring I may look to separate these plants into their own pot.
The more delicate sundews are in trays up on the windowsill. This affords them slightly more shelter as can be seen by their water levels relative to those seen in the trays of the others. I will top these levels up before I go to as much as I feel is sensible but may not overwater them to the level of their carnivorous comrades. They are likely to get more sun on the windowsill than they would on the patio table so a final check of the weather forecast will have to inform my decision.
The Basil Brothers
Will give the brothers a wee drain and soak but suspect that they may be dead upon my return. Might take a few cuttings and leave them in water whilst I’m away.
Gronda has been given a good drain and soak and I have also given his leaves a good misting everyday.
Hulk has also been given a good drain and soak. I hope that this keeps him happy.
As you were.
Last but by no means least, Flapjack too has been given a good drain and soak. Upon my return I will be reviewing his watering times with a view to greater frequency.