Here is my review of progress after fifty six weeks:
It has been a busy few weeks and I have not been able to update on all that has been going on, and it has certainly been a busy time. There has been a heat wave with temperatures hitting the low thirties and Summer has definitely arrived. Last night it was 21°C at Midnight. It has proved quite difficult to keep the outdoor triffids sufficiently lubricated as the heat continually evaporates the water, have thus needed to be much more diligent than useful.
The building works has also finally started and are still on-going. The plan was that my girlfriend would be here for 2 weeks whilst they were on and would move my plants if anything threatened them. Unfortunately, the building work stopped for some time as the main builder had tonsilitis and I came home in the middle of last week to discover that paint flecks had appeared all over the outside floor.
My girlfriend who had stayed for 3 weeks had finally had to go. I guess that building works never work to plan, but builders never seem to care particularly about the damage they do to the immediate environment, most appear to operate with a tunnel vision focused on their specific job. The mint has suffered worst from this paint invasion but several of the pots have paint flecks both on the plants and in their water trays and rather annoyingly I fear that some may have also infected my rain water stores.
There are even some flecks stuck to some of the sundew leaves which I am not very happy about. The paint flecks are unlikely to be ion neutral and as I have previously stated it was builders who killed my last set of triffids with their plastering work, although these were kept inside. I have a slight sense of fear going forward as to what will happen. May also have to investigate alternative water sources as it does not look like it will be raining anytime soon.
As the work is still going on and the builder appears to be unable to give a finish date I have moved all the carnivores onto the patio table with the umbrella up. As it is reasonably breezy this brings a new worry that the umbrella will up end the table sending the plants flying onto the floor. Will have to watch the wind but at least the plants will be protected from falling paint and masonry.
Also, my bathroom ceiling fell in around two weeks ago and Snake also suffered falling masonry and a temporary relocation. More on that later.
I have now had the second wave of plants for an entire year. I will therefore provide my annual comparisons first before updating on the others.
Although Drake is not quite as full as he was when I first got him he is still doing pretty well since coming out of dormancy. There are plenty of sun dew leaves and new ones developing all the time. The pictures above from 11/07/15 show that Drake has taken a bit of a showering from the paint flecks but I have at least attempted to remove as many flakes as possible from the water tray with a teaspoon. Am looking forward to seeing how Drake will improve now that he has been in my care for a year as he gets more used to his new surroundings, there is still plenty of time for a late growth spurt through August and into Autumn. All in all I am very happy, provided he survives the paint.
One year on, Aphro still has a large number of traps, although as we enter the second year the traps are notably smaller than previously and the red colour inside the traps is not as pronounced as previously. Post-dormancy I have finally got some new traps that are not so close to the ground and there are many more developing. The 11/07/15 pictures record some of the paint damage but have tried to remove as much as possible from the water tray and hopefully this will not phase Aphro too much. Am certainly less worried about how the VPTs will survive than I am over the sundews,
A year on it feels that Gronda has thinned out somewhat although it took me a long while to get his watering habits right and he has certainly worried me at points in the last year that he may not survive. Have continued to spray him most days, particularly as it has been very hot, and when he has looked particularly droopy I have given him a little water directly to the base of the stems. Unfortunately in the last few weeks two of the leaves have turned yellow and are beginning to die. Not currently sure, why this is. It could possibly be due to overwatering as I have probably watered him more than I should because in the recent heat he has looked far more droopy than normal and spraying does not seem to have hit the spot. There is also a possibility that some parts of the plant have not received enough sun recently as I had pulled the kitchen blind down for a few days. All in all I will continue to monitor and if more leaves begin to die then I will reassess.
Pending this little wobble, I am very happy with Gronda’s recovery from some pretty dark days. He has survived Winter and this wonderful plant looks pretty happy most of the time. He has been producing quite a few new leaves recently and the growing season for these plants is still to come so hopefully I will be looking forward to the appearance of many more stems and leaves.
Looking at the photos from a year ago I can see just how many spines Hulk has lost. It certainly took me a very long time to get to grips with his watering regime but now I am fairly confident that I know what I’m doing, particularly as these plants need little care. No more spines have fallen since I found the optimum watering regime and they are looking far less droopy than before, indeed new ones have grown. Onwards and upwards.
After a year of looking more like a plastic copy than a real plant, poor old Snake has fallen on hard times. Having had a dead leaf about a month ago which I removed the situation has not improved. When the ceiling fell in, the plant was temporarily relocated to the kitchen, an area with far more sunlight, heat and drafts and far less humidity.
I returned him within 2 days and all looked well but in the last 2 weeks one of his leaves became very flacid and began to turn from green to yellow. This has now happened to a second leaf and there are others that do not look particularly happy either. Although the picture does not really show it, several of the other leaves are losing their colour and rigidity. I am going to move Snake to another location, probably the kitchen and hope that this is just a temporary blip. One to monitor carefully. Perhaps Snake is not indestructible after all.
Flapjack is a recent success story although obviously I have treated him pretty badly in the year I have had him. He was always the runt of the litter and he had no proper spot. However, I have now cracked his watering regime and he is happier than ever. He does not look as good as a year ago but the substantial growth that he has put in since being re-potted should ensure that it will not be long before he is back to his best. Meanwhile the residual part of flapjack remaining in the original pot definitely looks to have had its day.
Although Piggy was a later addition, arriving around about the 5th July 2014, he has also now been with me for a year. He looks much more happy than a year ago and has branched out quite magnificently after being a lot more compact upon arrival. Piggy is another who has copped a load of paint flecks over the plant and in the water tray. I have removed as much as I can from the water tray with a teaspoon but am still worried that he may suffer. In his temporary spot he is also going to be out of the direct sunlight for a few days so perhaps he will not like that either. The sooner the builders go and the plants can return to normal the better. Will monitor closely during this transitional period.
The Basil Brothers
Oops. There’s been so much going on that the poor old Brothers have been neglected somewhat. Most of Tall and Short basil are looking like they’re finished although Short Basil has one healthy looking section of stem left. The newer basil is looking okay. Gave them all a drink in the week and again today but maybe it is time to put these working plants to bed and replace them with new ones. The fact is that they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing i.e. Providing fresh basil for my culinary excursions. I do not have these plants to look pretty.
Pitch is just the don. Through all he carries on. The flowers have now gone revealing the seeds within. The many seeds within. As the latter two pictures show, these seeds have been getting everywhere so who knows where new Pitcher plants may be springing up in the near future. Those young new shoots have now grown into mature pitchers and there is still new growth coming. Wonderful.
Not a lot to say with this one. Yawn. Was dying for a white pitcher but guess I’m going to have to wait till 2017 at the earliest. That immature pitcher does not appear to have grown at all in the past 2 months. Amazingly slow when you consider the rate at which Pitch’s pitchers have matured. The round sun dew visitor has little purple flowers and still do not have the heart to remove the flower and stalk, although really don’t want more seeds from this one.
Now, I thought Sunny had had it. Thought she was deceased, was no more, had shuffled off her mortal coil and gone to join the choir invisible. But she lives on. There are a number of very small sun dew leaves in two distinct patches growing healthily. Unfortunately, Sunny has probably copped more paint flecks than any of the other plants. In her case, not only did I remove the flakes from her water tray with a tea spoon but I drained her pot with rain water to try and dislodge any flecks from her sun dew leaves. This has been a reasonably successful mission although some flecks remain in positions too difficult to remove. I can only hope that she keeps on surviving. Never thought she was up to much but she has really surprised me with her tenacity.
Venus meanwhile is on the up, with 3 maybe 4 new traps developing. Despite the flower stalk incident her traps remain to develop much larger than Aphro’s. I have also not had a deformed trap yet since the freaks of last year post-stalk. Elsewhere in the pot, the progeny of Sunny are now fully developed and are threatening to take over. They are much larger sundew leaves than their mother by some distance and the plants here are doing much better. The round sundew visitor is beginning to cause problems in the pot, namely interfering with one of Venus’s remaining dormancy traps. I think that it may have caused the trap to close. This pot is gonna be heaving come the end of Summer and will definitely need re-potting to a much bigger pot come next year.
Cass and Aggy (The Moroccan Twin Sisters)
Not only has the mint been significantly covered in paint but it’s temporary relocation due to the building works has also meant that it has been somewhat scorched by the sun. The second generation mint is now looking pretty tatty when as the pictures show, only two weeks ago I was considering having a mint tea. Should have moved a lot faster. I’m pretty sure that this was what happened last year and I certainly didn’t get any mint tea then. I am tempted to buy some more mint plants and re-pot the lot. Will definitely need to move the plants to a more shady space, if I can find one. Have been giving reasonably regular water in the evenings but as it has been so sunny and hot perhaps I should consider watering every night.