Hargrave Triffid

A Photographic Record of Plant Growth


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Bon Voyage

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 26-08-14    Pitch 26-08-14 (2)

Piggy 26-08-14    Piggy 26-08-14 (2)

Venus 26-08-14   Venus 26-08-14 (2)

Aphro 26-08-14    Aphro 26-08-14 (2)

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:

Pitch, Venus, Aphro, Piggy  27-08-14

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:

Weather Forecast 27-08-14Weather Forecast wc 01-09-14

 

Aphro 27-08-14    Aphro 27-08-14 (2)   

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.

 

 

Venus 27-08-14

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.

 

 

Sunny 26-08-14    Drake 26-08-14

Sunny, Drake,

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

Gronda has been given a good drain and soak and I have also given his leaves a good misting everyday.

 

Hulk

Hulk has also been given a good drain and soak. I hope that this keeps him happy.

 

Snake

As you were.

 

Flapjack

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.

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Dendritic Reflective: Week 10

Here is my review of progress after ten weeks:

 

Basil 24-08-14

The Basil Brothers

The Brothers look remarkedly similar to how they looked last week. My mother was telling me on the phone the other day that any Basil plants that she has ever tried to keep indoors always die off over Winter so perhaps growth is beginning to slow. Internet advice seems to vary regarding care but adding what I have read to my own experiences I have extracted the following:

https://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070805084057AApPtzJ says that you should, “water regularly ,cut the tips so it doesn’t grow to leggy.

Another comment on the same page says, “Make sure it is completely dry before you water it each time, wait until it starts wilting a little bit“. My experiences have certainly demonstrated that allowing the basil to wilt slightly does not seem to do it permanent damage. As soon as you give it a decent drink it returns to normal quite quickly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL2luJW5Nts says that shop bought basil, “will last if you take them out of the plastic pots for crying out loud. the plant roots cant breath. put it in a clay pot get the one that said germen or from Italy they are the best for plants and put poles in the pot (sic)”. From this it would appear that I need to consider re-potting.

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/herbs/msg1017171922025.html says that, “Many people think that it is a sin to let a plant die but the “Grow @ Kill” method might be best for winter harvesting of annuals like basil. It grows from seed readily and it will thicken into a very nice initial mat of vegetation if given a little light and water. From the 4″ stage is where it starts to go downhill.” Tall Basil is definitely over four inches so perhaps this is why the plant does not appear to be flourishing as he has previously.

Another contributor on the same website says that he has, “kept basil in my office over the winter. What I have done is I take cuttings from my best plant and I put them in water, in about 2 weeks I have some roots and then I pot these up. In 4 weeks I have a thriving little plant. I make sure I pinch them once the growth is strong to make them bushy.

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/care-indoor-basil-plant-40195.html which looks a little more formal as a website reports that, “Basil is a true annual, which means that once the plant flowers, it will die. A new plant should be started when the old plant begins to bloom.” Haven’t noticed the brothers looking like they’re going to flower but perhaps I need to get ready to take some cuttings if I want the Brothers to propagate.

Am going away this Thursday and may not be back for two weeks so maybe I should think about taking a few cuttings before I go, just in case they don’t make it. Not sure they’ll survive two weeks without water.

 

Pitcher 24-08-14    Pitcher 24-08-14 (2)    Pitcher 24-08-14 (3)

Pitch

Nothing much to report about Pitch. The new pitchers are still brown free and look happy and healthy. As with all the carnivores I am going to have to give some serious thought to how I leave them over the two weeks when I am away. Obviously if they dry out for any concerted period of time then they are probably going to die. I am thinking that I will try to get as large a tray as I can purchase or multiple trays up to about 3″ deep and leave each plant in one of these. Not sure if I should leave inside or outside however. This will depend on the weather forecast as to the balance of sun (which will evaporate the water quicker) an rain (which will refill the tray). I could of course leave the plants on the patio table which would leave them high enough to not be bothered by the local wildlife (cats and foxes).

N19 Weather Forecast 25th Aug - 1st Sept v2    N19 Weather Forecast 2nd Sept - 8th Sept  v2

Now I am sure that I don’t have to tell you that the British weather is a changeable fellow but there looks a little too much heat and sunshine and not enough rain to keep the plants outside so I may have to keep them inside for the two weeks. I will make the final decision on Thursday before I go.

 

Sunny 24-08-14    Sunny 24-08-14 (2)

Sunny

Sunny is still doing splendidly and those leaves that have sustained physical damage somehow have still not yet died. The leaf in the right hand picture immediately right of the nidiformis label has a perfect round hole through it but it has still not died. If Sunny survives the holidays then she will be right as reign as she enters dormancy.

 

Drake 24-08-14    Drake 24-08-14 (2)

Drake

Although the blackening of Drake’s leaves has slowed his pace there is evidence this week of further deterioration. It has not been particularly sunny this week but perhaps Drake is a definite candidate for a removal inside while I am away. The change may do him good although I fear the worst.

 

Piggy 24-08-14    Piggy 24-08-14 (2)

Piggy

There have been no visible adverse effects from Piggy’s fall last week. All in all he looks much the same. Again, the literature that I have read before concerning pygmy sundews suggests that they are sensitive souls so I worry about how he will fare whilst I am away. Time to see how hardy the little fella actually is.

 

Venus 24-08-14    Venus 24-08-14 (2)    Venus 24-08-14 (3)

Venus

It is almost as if Venus has stopped in his tracks, frozen in time with the new traps stubbornly refusing to come to maturity. The last original trap which has still remained unable to open has blackened and died. I said last week that I believed that there was a wasp in there and one wonders whether the venom from the insect has affected the plant. With two weeks away I hope that Sunny will have come into her own upon my return.

 

Aphro 24-08-14    Aphro 24-08-14 (2)

Aphro

Aphro continues to roll on much as before and there is further evidence of his rapacious hunger with further traps opening to reveal additional meals. My biggest fear regarding Aphro is that a flower stalk may decide to grow whilst I am away. Considering what this seems to have done to Venus, this would not be a good state of affairs but I will look to check and chop on Thursday just before I go.

 

Mint 24-08-14    Mint 24-08-14 (2)

Cass and Aggy (The Moroccan Twin Sisters)

The ladies rock and no compunction need be spared for their welfare over the next two weeks. Not even the nearby presence of re-appearing fox pooh can check their progress but that’s another story.

 

Calathea 24-08-14    Calathea 24-08-14 (4)    Calathea 24-08-14 (5)

Gronda

Again I have been out a fair bit this week and have probably neglected poor Gronda with his misting. I may have done it once or twice but clearly not enough as a number of his leaves have again begun to curl leaving him at curl factor . I will give him a soak and drain before I go away.

 

Hulk 24-08-14

Hulk

After two weeks there is still little change in Hulk after his first soak and drain. There is evidence of some deterioration but it has definitely slowed from the rate before the soaking. As I am soon to be away for two weeks I will give him a soak and drain on Thursday and hope for the best.

 

Snake 24-08-14

Snake

With no daily showers and bathroom lights one wonders how Snake will fare for the two weeks that I am away. Perhaps after two weeks of proper neglect I will finally be able to spot the difference!!!

 

Flapjack 24-08-14

Flapjack

Looking even droopier than last week and so definitely due another soak and drain which I will provide next Thursday before I go away. His time for one was due anyway but perhaps upon my return I may have to make his waterings more frequent by a week or two.


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Dendritic Reflective: Week 9

Here is my review of progress after nine weeks:

 

Basil 16-08-14    Basil 16-08-14 (2)

The Basil Brothers

More of the same this week. The brothers were looking a bit droopy yesterday so I gave them a good gulp of water from the tap and they had perked up by today. The pot fungus does not as yet appear to be causing any significant issues so I am happy to leave it be for a time. I have now done no Italian cooking for over two weeks so have had no need to pilfer the brothers’ leaves. It does however seem that something else is making a meal of the leaves. Slugs maybe? There are no visible trails and have seen no slugs in the vicinity so maybe it is something else. Eat or be Eaten it appears very much in the Brothers’ case.

 

Pitch 16-08-14    Pitch 16-08-14 (3)    Pitch 16-08-14 (4)    Pitch 16-08-14 (2)

Pitch

It is pleasing to report that the websites were correct to a level that I have not previously seen websites present, when they stated that Sarracena rubra are, ‘at their best in late summer and Autumn’. I have been extremely worried that the brown dryness affecting many of the pitchers would spread throughout the plant but am jubilant to report that this has not been the case. The new pitchers are remaining ‘brown’ free and are looking healthy and happy. Phew. I can even report that today I heard a large amount of buzzing emanating from the pitchers. Now obviously it is impossible to check where this insect is without dissecting the pitcher but that buzzing is good enough for me, what a champion.

 

Sunny 16-08-14    Sunny 16-08-14 (2)

Sunny

The weather this week has been no bar to Sunny’s continual improvement. Nuff said.

 

Drake 16-08-14    Drake 16-08-14 (2)

Drake

Drake meanwhile is my current concern. Since ‘dry Thursday’ Drake has had a bit of a wobble and more of those leaves are beginning to blacken and die. http://en.allexperts.com/q/Carnivorous-Plants-711/2012/5/sundew-leaves-turning-black.htm says that this could be caused by a sudden change in environment and also states that Drosera Anglica is a ‘heat-sensitive plant’. Maybe the plant is getting too much sun and will benefit from a move to a shadier space ala Piggy or perhaps it is just the lack of water from ‘dry Thursday’ that has sent a shock to his system. I am both gutted and guilty but also not sure that there is a lot I can do about this. I can only cross my fingers and hope that I have not done any permanent damage. Really hope that Drake will survive dormancy.

 

Piggy 16-08-14   Piggy 16-08-14 (2)

Piggy

I found Piggy inexplicably on his side this morning but it doesn’t seem to have adversely affected him, he was after all still happily in reasonably deep water. He does however seem to be leaning back ever so slightly perhaps so to move to face the sun when in his horizontal position. Now, I was out late on Wednesday and Thursday nights but I never ended up involuntarily horizontal. Am not too fussed at this occurrence but we will see how he looks in a week.

 

Venus 16-08-14    Venus 16-08-14 (2)    Venus 16-08-14 (3)

Venus

It would be an understatement to say that the progress of the new growth has been slow. The slightly deformed trap is beginning to open but the other two tall traps are still in a time warp of infancy. Looks like that flower has taken it out of her. However, there is another new trap beginning to grow so whilst progress has slowed she is still doing her best to recover.

 

Aphro 16-08-14    Aphro 16-08-14 (2)

Aphro

It is notable that the newer traps of the as yet flowerless Aphro have also not yet opened and thus perhaps it is just that the external environment has just not been conducive to VFT development recently. One of the older traps is also beginning to blacken and die. This may just be part of the natural cycle but could also be a delayed reaction to ‘dry Thursday’. I am hoping it is due to the former.

 

Mint 16-08-14    Mint 16-08-14 (2)

Cass and Aggy (The Moroccan Twin Sisters)

Well! What can I say. I am speechless at the amount of growth seen by Cassa and Aggy this week. Am planning on having some mint tea tomorrow and considering where we were two weeks ago I doubted whether I would actually get to this point. Stick that kettle on the boil!!

 

Calathea 16-08-14    Calathea 16-08-14 (2)    Calathea 16-08-14 (3)    Calathea 16-08-14 (4)

Gronda

That curl factor has probably reduced to less than one and Gronda continues to progress well with regular mistings. After seven weeks this calathea is already doing better than my previous plant and this makes me proud.

 

Hulk 16-08-14    Hulk 16-08-14 (2)     Hulk 16-08-14 (3)

Hulk

There is little change in Hulk a week after his first soak and drain. Some of the spines are not looking great but I don’t want to overwater him too fast to try and compensate for the previous lack of waterings. I am also happy to report that the drooping stem at the rear still appears to be firm which has cheered me slightly. The question is do I soak and drain this week or leave it till next week. Will have to monitor Hulk closely to see that there is no visible deterioration between now and next week.

 

Snake 16-08-14

Snake

Might paint that wall so that I can instead report on the drying process.

 

Flapjack 16-08-14

Flapjack

Has drooped a bit since last week but the soak and drain is now due next week.


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To Eat or be Eaten

Venus 12-08-14    Venus 12-08-14 (2)

The skies have truly opened many times since the weekend and where my stocks of carnivore juice, i.e. rainwater, had been dwindling, they have now been healthily replenished. It has been rather cold though with temperatures being as low as 13 degrees Celsius in the daylight hours. Not much else to report except to say that after posting last weeks report whilst giving Hulk his soak and drain I had to remove a white caterpillar from his lofty stems. Yuk. Not sure the caterpillar was chomping but wasn’t going to leave things to chance. I think that the caterpillar had originated from a moth, the remains of which were trapped in a spider’s web immediately to Hulk’s rear.

I can also report that Venus’s remaining older trap has finally opened just enough to reveal what looks like a wasp. The camera can’t really focus in but from the rather blurry pictures you should just about be able to make out the stripes on the wasp’s hard carapace. Not sure what sticky residue, wasps are capable of emitting once being digested but perhaps this explains the trap’s struggle to open. Aphro may have caught more flies but catching a wasp really demonstrates Venus’s killing credentials. What a femme fatale she is.


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Dendritic Reflective: Week 8

Here is my review of progress after eight weeks:

 

Basil 09-08-14    Basil 09-08-14 (2)

The Basil Brothers

Have been torn this week between trying to keep the brothers sufficiently moistened in the ongoing hot August weather and trying not to over water them. When they have looked particularly droopy I have given them a good drink direct from the tap. It appears as if there is some sort of fungus growing in the bottom of the pots, with Tall Basil being the worse off. Not sure if this will be able to co-exist with the brothers without harming them. Certainly, I believe that some potted jasmine that I previously owned was finished off when fungus became established in the pot. To add insult to potential injury there is also evidence of gastropod attack. Although the leaves that have suffered such attacks have been virtually decimated, mercifully the attacks have been limited to a small number of leaves. Apart from that everything is hunky dory with plenty of new leaves developing.

 

Pitch 09-08-14    Pitch 09-08-14 (2)    Pitch 09-08-14 (3)

Pitch

Despite the scare of ‘Dry Thursday’ Pitch actually appears to be doing pretty well. Although I have still not removed the older brown and dying pitchers yet, the new pitchers are remaining in apparently rude health. Because of this I am somewhat lithe to make wholesale changes to the plant less one of my theories that the outer pitchers were providing a modicum of shade to the inner pitchers proves to be true. Provided the new pitchers remain healthy I will refrain from making any changes at all.

w-c 10-08-14

The temperature is forecast to drop right down this week and the supposed ‘taste of Autumn’ that is predicted to appear sees thunderstorms today and possible gales. There will be a lot more rain this week although some sunshine is still forecast particularly in the mornings. What a West American plant will make of this change in weather is uncertain especially considering how unhappy he looked before when presented with a lack of sun. S. rubra are normally, at their best in late summer and Autumn before approaching dormancy in late Autumn. [http://www.pitcherplant.com/care_sheets/sarrac_care.html] A careful eye will have to be cast over Pitch once again.

 

Sunny 09-08-14    Sunny 09-08-14 (2)

Sunny

Although Sunny’s flower appears to be dying already the new leaf growth is coming along nicely. It is difficult to determine whether the flower was another victim of ‘Dry Thursday’ or whether the sunlight and heat have simply proved too much for the flower, as seems to have been the case with Drake over the last few weeks. True to her name, Sunny has blossomed as the sunshine has become more frequent since the fifth week, so her future development is uncertain as the remains of Hurricane Bertha hit. Will Summer return or will Autumn arrive early? With the English weather it is always difficult to say.

 

Drake 09-08-14    Drake 09-08-14 (2)

Drake

Drake appears to be the biggest victim of ‘Dry Thursday’ and it is certainly no coincidence that after doing so well since his arrival, a temporary drought was followed by the blackened death of some of his rear leaves. Luckily for me, the rest of the plant looks healthy. Of all the plants it is also likely that Drake, being indigenous, will fair best with the approaching weather. I have certainly experienced some pretty mean storms on Dartmoor where such plants can be found growing wild in the UK. Hopefully, he’ll be back to his best soon.

 

Piggy 09-08-14    Piggy 09-08-14 (2)

Piggy

It is difficult to see the change in Piggy from last week and indeed from his arrival just over a month ago. Will he be a slow starter like Sunny or will he just never get going in this growing season. Time is beginning to run out before dormancy so fingers crossed, considering the threatened likelihood that Piggy will not survive the winter, that he will at least give it a bit of wallop in the latter half of the summer and into Autumn.

 

Venus 09-08-14    Venus 09-08-14 (2)    Venus 09-08-14 (3)   Venus 09-08-14 (4)

Venus

The threatened revival continues though perhaps it is not quite as positive as I hoped last week. The good news is that four new traps are developing. The bad news is that they are not developing particularly well. The most mature trap retains the groove apparent early in its development which now begins to look like a deformity. This trap and the second most mature trap, close to the floor, have still not as yet opened. The flower remains largely as it was, as does the older trap which remains alive despite its inability still to re-open in any meaningful way. The combination of allowing the flower to grow and ‘Dry Thursday’ may have stunted Venus’s development. I await the next few weeks with baited breath.

 

Aphro 09-08-14    Aphro 09-08-14 (2)

Aphro

Aphro conversely does not seem phased by much. New traps continue to develop and the older traps still look healthy and hungry. The forecast heavy rain, and believe you me, Hurricane Bertha has certainly brought very heavy rain today, will hopefully not cause too many of the traps to close but Aphro seems to have broad shoulders capable of taking whatever is thrown at him. He looks as strong as an ox and hopefully he will continue to justify my faith in him.

 

Mint 09-08-14    Mint 09-08-14 (2)

Cass and Aggy (The Moroccan Twin Sisters)

The sisters are the real success story of this week. Being a little paranoid about overwatering them I had previously held back but since I started watering them more regularly their growth has absolutely exploded. I believe that good drainage from the pot is another contributory factor to the current success of these plants. The difference from last week is tremendous and if growth and expansion continues at this rate through August and September then I would expect the pot to be full inside of three weeks. As yet there has been minimal slug attack and barring disaster that pot of mint tea is assured.

 

Calathea 09-08-14    Calathea 09-08-14 (2)    Calathea 09-08-14 (3)

Gronda

Gronda is another apparent success story at the moment. It is now two and a half weeks since I gave him his drain and soak but his leaves are almost completely uncurled. Have been continuing to mist the leaves almost every other day as well. Although the moisture sensor has still not been dispatched and may not arrive until the end of August, by visual measurement I am dropping Gronda’s curl factor down to 1. All appears to be going very well but will need the proper moisture sensor eventually particularly as we head towards Autumn and Winter.

 

Hulk 09-08-14    Hulk 09-08-14 (2)

Hulk

Haven’t watered him this week and he is indeed beginning to look the worse for wear. Not only is one of the spines dying as the photo above shows but the central stem at the rear now has a visible droop. I am slightly worried that the water tray will not offer adequate drainage and therefore I will now proceed with a plan where the plant is watered weekly with room temperature water but allowed to drain before being returned to his spot. I will take no further deterioration to be a measure of success.

 

Snake 09-08-14

Snake

Nothing to report. Until that moisture meter arrives there is little to say.

 

Flapjack 09-08-14

Flapjack

A bit perkier than last week since I gave him a soak and drain treatment last weekend that being five weeks after his arrival. Will look to repeat the soak and drain every four weeks so he will next be due at Week 10. In the meantime I will monitor his progress carefully.


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Dendritic Reflective: Week 7

Here is my review of progress after seven weeks:

 

Basil 02-08-14

The Basil Brothers

The brothers were really shriveled on Thursday particularly Short Basil who was looking absolutely wretched. However, I gave them a decent drink and this perked them up no end. A lot of new growth in both pots and minimal Italian cookery. Slight suggestions of gastropod attack but nothing too devastating. La lumaca, the Italian slugs, must be elsewhere at the moment.

 

Pitch 02-08-14

Pitch

I have already acknowledged that the Basil Brothers were left thirsty this week but I have a larger confession to make. This week has been busy with work leaving parties lasting till late and preparations for a parental visitation this weekend. This week has also been consistently hot and frequently, if not constantly, sunny. After checking the carnivores water levels on Tuesday night, I was out until late on Wednesday night. Imagine my horror on Thursday evening when, after collecting my parents, I discovered the water trays of Pitch, Sunny, Drake and the Fly Traps to be bone dry. Everything I have read about carnivorous plants professes this to be the cardinal sin of carnivorous plant care with even the most lenient sites proclaiming that plants must always stand in at least a half inch of water. Other websites and care books state that in growing season plants must be left in between an inch and a half, and, two inches of water. All at once I am both mortified and guilty, feeling like a wicked and uncaring father, but simultaneously also feeling taken aback that the trays could dry out in two days. I am on holiday soon for a week plus and am worried about how to minimise the risk of such a re-occurrence.

Pitch meanwhile seems alright after this scare. Although it may take a little longer than two days for the damage to come to light the soil itself had not completely dried out and had in fact remained quite damp. The remedial watering of all three plants involved both filling the water trays and top watering the pot to re-soak the soil. Two days from ‘Dry Thursday’ he looks much the same as he did last week.

 

Sunny 02-08-14    Sunny 02-08-14 II    Sunny 02-08-14 III

Sunny

Following her dinner of yesterweek, Sunny’s curled leaves have begun to unfurl. Again her soil appeared to have remained damp and thus the damage of ‘Dry Thursday’ will have to be assessed later. Her flower is beginning to develop and whilst the pictures do not quite capture it (the limitations of my new camera are that it has been so far impossible to get it into focus) the purple flower emerging may well be quite striking. Just need a decent photo.

 

Drake 02-08-14    Drake 02-08-14 II

Drake

Another victim of ‘Dry Thursday’, Drake’s soil also appeared camp prior to remedial watering. These pictures were taken in the morning sun and thus do not show the detail that those taken later in the day can reveal but it seems fair to say that there is little difference a further week along but fingers crossed that there is no permanent damage.

 

Piggy 02-08-14     Piggy 02-08-14 II

Piggy

Being in a shadier spot has its advantages and Piggy did not suffer the same fate as his cousins or his other more distant carnivorous relatives. In two days only half an inch of water had evaporated from his tray. Piggy does of course share a tray with no other and thus his water level is always relatively higher than those of his kinsplants. These pictures show how the morning sun moves round upon him from left to right before he is shortly later returned again to the shade until the next day. What these pictures do not show is much change from last week. However, he prefers this spot to his previous home and continues to develop quite happily.

 

Venus 02-08-14    Venus 02-08-14 (2)

Venus

Water deprivation is probably the last thing that poor old Venus needed at this point in time. She struggles on with re-opening her closed trap, which has now been closed for three days short of three weeks. Is she eating an elephant in there? The flower continues to blacken although the stalk itself mostly green. However, the new trap that has been slowly developing appears to in fact be not one, but two, maybe even three new traps. Hopefully the arid persecution of this week will not stunt this revival.

 

Aphro 02-08-14

Aphro

He muncheth, he twice muncheth and then thrice muncheth. He seems to keep eating those same flies previously seen in the traps, trying to absorb every last drop of nourishment. The front middle lower trap again closed and re-opened this week whilst the back right trap appears to have again shut. New traps developing well though. I hope they’re as hungry as the preceding array.

 

Mint 02-08-14

Cass and Aggy (The Moroccan Twin Sisters)

Not only has that cider trap not attracted a single gastropod and not only are the sisters showing some signs of slug attack, but, the cider itself has now vapourised. Time for the little blue pellets methinks. On the plus side, ‘new growth’ does not describe the reality adequately. Since moving the sisters into a shadier spot the girls have gone crazy. In addition to the bulking out of both of the sisters’ foliage, a number of smaller stems have begun to appear above the soil near to the base of the ladies’ existing stem bases. Mint tea by the end of summer is back on target. Have had to water these guys hell of a lot though, and before Dry Thursday I was giving them a decent drink directly onto the soil at the bases of the main stems, almost every evening once the sun had passed round. If the temperature and sunlight remain plentiful over the next few weeks then I will continue to water them more frequently, perhaps even every other night.

 

Calathea 02-08-14    Calathea 02-08-14 II    Calathea 02-08-14 III

Gronda

Although I have not again given Gronda a good soil watering with drainage (the last now being a week and a half past), I am still misting his leaves at least every other day. He does not have as many leaves standing so vertically to attention as he has had in previous weeks but he appears to have less curl in his general demeanor. Even the super-curled leaf (origin unknown) has begun to unfurl. I will leave my bucket moisture assessment measure at curl factor 2 although I expect this to be dropping soon. Luckily for Gronda, he is soon to be rescued from such quackery by the arrival of the proper moisture sensor. Until then I will continue to mist regularly but water only every three weeks or so.

 

Hulk 02-08-14

Hulk

Although that pinch, punch arrived in a conspiciously waterless week, Hulk somehow still managed to get his drink, a reasonable glug of water in midweek and roughly a month since he arrived. Despite this my girlfriend offered unprompted that he looks droopy so I am considering the possibility of finding out what, “likes a little more water than other cacti” actually means in reality. This advice, mentioned previously, stated that, “Plants are regularly watered and allowed to dry before watering again.” [http://www.plantandflowerinfo.com/sansevieria/sansevieria.html] Perhaps I should adopt a similar watering strategy to that of the calathea but at more regular intervals. My girlfiend has not seen Hulk for two weeks and if she has recognised a visible droop then the time to act may be now before those spines start to fall out.

 

Snake 02-08-14

Snake

If I didn’t know any better I would assume that Snake was actually plastic or fake. But fake snake he is not. On a trip to a museum today with my parents (on their aforementioned visit) I noticed abundant snake plants everywhere. Amen to low maintenance. Hope he’s not getting too much moisture in the bathroom. Another one for a definite check with the moisture metre when it finally arrives.

 

Flapjack 02-08-14

Flapjack

Poor little Flapjack has still not been watered properly although I did give him a single misting within the week. On balance it appears that this was not enough. Comparison of this to last weeks picture shows that the little fella is now drooping more than a hungover student’s eyelids. I need to check my watering advice for this guy this week. Reminder to self: water those plants lest their ‘metabolic processes become history’ (to paraphrase a parrot within a python).