Here is my review of progress after twenty six weeks:
26 weeks constitutes 6 months and half a year since I embarked upon this adventure. Since my last update there have been a few personal issues in my family surrounding the health of my father and it is probably true to say that the carnivores have not been at the forefront of my thinking for the past fortnight and more. That is not to say that I have not given any thought at all to the plants in this period but I have been away for the best part of a week and upon my return have developed a cold that has led to me taking 4 days off work to recover. The plants have thus had to put up with rather inconsistent care and have been largely left to their own devices over this period.
Weatherwise, over the last few weeks the day temperature has struggled to rise above 8°C and although it has not yet fallen below freezing at night, it has dropped almost as low as 3°C a number of times over those long hours of Winter darkness.
The Basil Brothers
As I took these pictures I was under a slight impression that the brothers looked a little threadbare. My girlfriend later confessed that when preparing dinner last night she had used some of the brothers’ leaves and this appears to have accounted for the slightly bare look. Other than this the brothers are in reasonably good Winter shape and there is little to report.
With the temperature consistently having remained under 10°C for the previous 3 weeks I am surprised to find that, like an over-excited ten year old, Pitch is still refusing to go to sleep and showing little sign that he might do so. My gut feeling suggests that more and more of those pitchers are browning and dying but with the Winter solstice only a week away he still seems to look in a pretty healthy state. With a minimum dormancy requirement of 2 months he better get his skates on if he wants a decent sleep. All the literary and web advice warns against forcing a plant into dormancy so Pitch will just have to sleep of his own accord. Unfortunately, like that disobedient ten year old he is likely to get far less sleep than he needs. Hope he won’t be grumpy for it come the Spring.
Sunny & Piggy
Sunny is not doing quite as well as when he first came into the warm. Whether this is due to the draft coming from the window or some other unseen hazard, my girlfriend’s cooking perhaps (only joking gorgeous), it is difficult to tell. Piggy seems in a similar boat although his condition is not noticeably worse than it was two and a half weeks ago. I had been slightly bemused by the varying water levels in the trays for these plants with the water in Piggy’s tree sometimes disappearing quite rapidly. I can happily report however, that the problem has been solved by the lady in my life, the problem being the other lady in my life, namely the cat, who has taken to mounting the skirting board and drinking her fill from Piggy’s tray. I am hoping that simply by putting the pot towards the back of the tray I will be able to put a stop to this but who can truly accord with the calamity and cunning of cats. The cat has her own water bowl but prefers the manky rain water found in the tray, hopefully Piggy will not be pushed forward to collapse head first into his half empty tray of water! Genuinely a problem to be monitored most precisely.
Still a wee bit of green lurking around despite the barely supra-freezing temperatures.
Venus & Aphro
Venus as well has still not yet died back completely although not much red or green remains in the pot. Now, Venus’s spell within my ownership has been categorised consistently as unfolding at a slow pace and her march towards dormancy, in complete solidarity, has been somewhat more of a meander. Aphro however, appears to be ambling towards dormancy at much the same pace and a large number of his traps still remain green and healthy. Like Pitch these two better get to bed soon.
Cass and Aggy (The Moroccan Twin Sisters)
A couple of leaves left but I eagerly await the new growth of Spring.
Gronda has suffered worst from my quasi-neglect of the last fortnight and is looking rather bare as more and more leaves have died in this period. I have not really been misting him over this period. It is also very cold and I suspect that being used to the South American jungle, a kitchen in a UK winter, is not going to keep him happy even if the heating in the rest of the house has been warm. Perhaps that 10 days of broken boiler got to him more than I initially thought. The web advice certainly suggests that calatheas do not like draughts. I have given Gronda two drain and soaks in the last week to try and get some fluids into him. He was pretty droopy before but has now perked up a fair bit. In the Winter months the advice was that the calathea should be watered less so perhaps the issue causing the plant to regress is lack of temperature rather than lack of water. If this plant survives Winter I will be extremely happy, and it has not even really got that cold yet!! May have to consider moving him from the kitchen although options are extremely limited if I want a spot that will get a decent amount of sunlight. Hopefully, he has taken a bit of a downward drop due to the broken boiler and will now begin to recover with a modicum of care. Of all my plants Gronda probably needs the most consistent attention.
Hulk & Flapjack
On the weekend of Week 24 (November 29th/30th) I gave both a good drain and soak although it was a little cold out on the back step. Hulk’s spines are certainly more rigid now and Flapjack is also looking far less droopy. The previous drain and soak had been on November 1st and this seems to indicate that in Winter with the heating on in the house a drain and soak will be required at least every four weeks at the absolute minimum, the next one being required on 27th/28th December at the latest. It would seem that Gronda may require waterings more frequently but this is subject to the parameters as listed above.
Cor blimey, strike a light. As the above pictures demonstrate, all this time when Snake has been sitting there looking as inactive as one of his plastic counterparts he has in fact been quietly growing away. This cheers me greatly and suggests that Snake is happy in the previous death spot to plants of the bathroom, dark, dank and cold. Although watching Snake grow is like perceiving the unrolling of evolution itself for once I actually have something to say about Snake. Only another 6 months to wait now for the next update.