Hargrave Triffid

A Photographic Record of Plant Growth


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Dendritic Reflective: Week 58

The builders are back upstairs scraping their paint. As it rained so heavily for most of yesterday I have been collecting fresh rainwater as my stocks are running so low and do not want the new stuff to become contaminated. After remonstrating slightly with the builders I have worked out that they have now finished at the back of the house so I have moved my rainwater collecting trays – am hoping for a bit more rain – and have covered my largest tub, this effectively being my butt, my main store.

Temp 22-07-15 (2) Temp 22-07-15

The heatwave has returned this week and, as can be seen above, the temperature in direct sunlight is pretty hot. Probably a bit too hot for all but those triffids used to Californian or African sunshine. However, as I mentioned there have been prolonged periods of rain which is perfect for me, and with more scheduled for tomorrow and possibly Monday, it is a good chance for me to replenish my water stocks before Summer returns as seems highly likely – a beautiful Summer this year and the best I remember in a very long time, even Wimbledon managed to avoid significant rain and that’s almost unheard of.

Here is my review of progress after fifty eight weeks:

 

The Basil Brothers

Basil 25-07-15 Basil 25-07-15 (2) Basil 25-07-15 (3) Basil 25-07-15 (4)

Some evidence of new leaf growth on one of the tall stems but otherwise just waiting for cuttings.

 

 

Pitch

Pitch 25-07-15 Pitch 25-07-15 (2) Pitch 25-07-15 (3) Pitch 25-07-15 (4)

The flowers have nearly all shed their seeds now so who knows where there are going to be little sarracenia plants popping up. The flowers are also beginning to die off with the first turning brown and shriveling up.

 

 

Luke

22/07/15

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22/07/15

25/07/15

25/07/15

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25/07/15

25/07/15

Not sure if I have been asleep for a while but do not understand how I missed the development of this beautiful white pitcher. I thought that I had been sent a plant with a cut pitcher and that I had beheaded the other during removal from the packaging. Imagine my shock the other day when I saw that a white pitcher had been developing. How have I not seen this before? It’s as if the fairy triffid-godmother has waved her magic wand. From looking back at older pictures, and obviously there was a bit of a gap for a few weeks, it seems like this pitcher must have come from the new shoot that was growing incredibly slowly for ages, but appears to have been on steroids in the last month. Whichever stalk this pitcher has come from the growth rate has been phenomenal. Am happy, proud, flabbergasted and astounded all at the same time.

 

 

Sunny

Sunny 25-07-15 Sunny 25-07-15 (2)

Sunny continues to develop with new vigour. My notes from last year indicate that she had a similar growth spurt in July last year so am not sure that the move to the shadier patio table can take all the credit. Although the sundew leaves are still much smaller than those in Venus’s pot, they are beginning to grow tall and strong and there seem to be many more green shoots appearing. Considering that I though Sunny had gone to meet her maker this is a great resurgence.

 

 

Drake

Drake 25-07-15 Drake 25-07-15 (2) Drake 25-07-15 (3)

No real change this week although the slightly overhead shots do show the amount of green shoots developing.

 

 

Piggy

Piggy 25-07-15 Piggy 25-07-15 (2) Piggy 25-07-15 (3)

Piggy is definitely not looking as jolly as he did a month ago. I am not entirely sure if this is to do with the paint flecks, being out of the sun or whether there is something else of which I am not aware. It’s not that he doesn’t look well, just not as well as he has. Oh well. Have kept him on the patio table but moved him to a slightly sunnier position so hopefully he will benefit. One to monitor.

 

 

Venus

Venus 25-07-15 Venus 25-07-15 (2) Venus 25-07-15 (3) Venus 25-07-15 (4)

The party is still rocking down at Venus’s pot. The round sundew is unchanged but Sunny’s daughters have been very hungry and there are plenty of signs of them dining. There is also a fair bit of activity with some very tall new sundew leaves developing and also a flower stalk I believe. The main event, rather than wilting under the pressure continues to carry her weight with two traps shut showing definite signs of dinner, and another two soon to be opening and fully functional. Can’t see any new traps developing at the moment but there is still plenty of time left this Summer.

 

 

Aphro

Aphro 25-07-15 Aphro 25-07-15 (2)

It seems to have been open season on Daddy Long Legs with about four ending up as dinner for Aphro. I thought he’d been going off his food in recent times but it looks like he’s back to his best. Possibly this new penchant for Daddy Long Legs could be due to the change of location in that the plants are now much lower down and much much closer to the rather wild back garden. There is also a huge jasmine bush very near by which offers passage from the back garden to the patio table. a few signs of new growth which is good and all in all I’m happy that bigger, healthier, hungrier traps seem to be forming. What more could I want?

 

 

Cass and Aggy (The Moroccan Twin Sisters)

Mint 25-07-15 Mint 25-07-15 (2) Mint 25-07-15 (3) Mint 25-07-15 (4)

I have now formed the opinion that the Sisters’ problems are due to too much sunshine and not enough water rather than the fungal infection mint rust, although I reserve my right to change my opinion in the future as more facts become known. Certainly still no chance of mint tea and I have taken the liberty of buying some new Moroccan Mint plants to satisfy my tea requirements. Might keep these inside though. We will have to see. Will be interesting to have the comparison, for a mint tea drinker you can never have enough mint, as long as it’s in pots!

 

 

Gronda

Gronda 25-07-15 Gronda 25-07-15 (2) Gronda 25-07-15 (3) Gronda 25-07-15 (4)

Poor old Gronda does not look very well in these pictures. This is how he often looks but tends to perk up once watered. Yesterday I sprayed his leaves and this morning I watered him around the base of his stems but he is still not looking particularly happy at the moment. I fear that the 40-50°C temperatures arising from the sun glare may be too much for him. Am considering a temporary re-location although there aren’t a great many possibilities for re-location so will have to think carefully.

 

 

Hulk

Hulk 25-07-15 Hulk 25-07-15 (2)

Nothing to report. Happy as Larry.

 

 

Snake

Snake 25-07-15 Snake 25-07-15 (2) Snake 25-07-15 (3)

Seems to have stabilised since moving from the bathroom to the less damp more sunny kitchen. Am almost totally convinced that I will have to repot though. Have cactus soil but just need a new pot.

 

 

Flapjack

Flapjack 25-07-15 Flapjack 25-07-15 (2)

Completely happy with life this little one.


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Rust and Rot

I have been carrying out some research into what is wrong with Snake and how to determine whether I have actually have mint rust.

 

Rust

I certainly believed last year that the mint had picked up rust which sounds very bad. The plant looked better when it came out of dormancy but even before August has reached us it is again beginning to look very poorly.

The Royal Horticultural Society describe mint rust as being, “a common fungal disease of garden mint, but also affects marjoram and savory. The fungus causes dusty orange, yellow and black spots on leaves. [Symptoms include]

  • Pale and distorted shoots in spring
  • Dusty orange pustules on the stems and leaves. These may be followed by  dusty yellow or black pustules
  • Large areas of leaf tissue die and plants may lose leaves” [https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=220]

According to [http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/mint/treating-mint-rust-fungus.htm] , “Rust on mint plants looks similar to other rusts in later stages, with orange to rust-colored spots covering the undersides of lower leaves in early spring. Mint rust symptoms may progress, manifesting as leaves that turn completely brown and drop from affected plants. In late summer and early fall, when these dropped leaves regrow, darker spots often appear instead. The very early stages of mint rust may appear as white bumps on mint leaves.

 

According to http://www.herb-gardening-help.com/how-to-get-rid-of-mint-rust/ there is no chemical remedy, the site says that, “If you correctly diagnose that you have mint rust on your growing mint it’s important to act quickly to deal with it because the “spores” which develop with this herb disease drop onto the soil and affect your mint in following  year.” It recommends the following procedure:

Step 1:  Cut off all the stems of the growing mint immediately the rust is noticed, and keep cutting them off during the growing season.

Step 2:  During the winter make a small fire with straw over the top of the mint roots.  This kills off the spores which carry the disease

Step 3:  In the spring watch carefully for a repeat of the herb disease rust in your growing mint.  If it returns repeat the procedure or dig up the mint plant and destroy it.

 

Below are pictures of my plant. Mint Rust? Am not so sure, could just be that it has had too much sun and not enough water. It has been hot this year.

Mint 22-07-15 (5) Mint 22-07-15 (4) Mint 22-07-15 (2) Mint 22-07-15 (3)  Mint 22-07-15

 

Rot

I do not however have to reason whether something is wrong with Snake because it is pretty obvious that there is.

Snake 22-07-15 Snake 22-07-15 (3) Snake 22-07-15 (2)

A search of the internet reveals a condition in Sanseveria laurentii called root rot.

In answer to a question about ‘what is wrong if the leaves rot out at the root?http://houseplants-care.blogspot.co.uk/2006/05/snake-plant-care.html states that, “Most of the time, root rot is caused by overwatering or improper drainage. Try watering your plant less often. You may want to repot the rest of your plant in new soil to prevent the root rot from spreading to the other leaves.

http://www.ext.nodak.edu/extnews/hortiscope/flowers/snsevria.htm says that when rot develops, “Try dividing the plant at the crown and toss out anything that appears rotted or take leaf cuttings from healthy stock and root them.

It seems that the only way to save Snake may be by completely re-potting him.

 

http://www.gardenbanter.co.uk/united-kingdom/183358-help-please-houseplant-mother-laws-tongue-dying-no-idea-what-do.html rather practically advises that,

Firstly, cut your losses. Get the plant out of the pot and free of all soil. Discard anything at or below surface level which is rotten.

If any of the offsets (new plants forming below soil surface level) are ok, pot those up separately. Use commercial cactus compost or 1 part John Innes (No. 1, 2, or 3 – doesn’t matter) with 2 parts sharp sand or 1 part sharp sand and 1 part grit (about 5 mm). Put the remaining full-size healthy
plants in the same mixture. Do not water for a few days, then start watering carefully, but only once a week and then only to dampen the
compost.

If any of the leaves are rotten at the base, but ok above, you can grow new plants from the healthy parts. BUT if you have the Mother-in-law’s Tongue which has a yellow edge to the leaves (most of them are this type), then any new plants will not have the yellow edge.

Cut the leaves across completely so each bit is about 2 inches long. Put the bottom end half an inch into the potting mixture mentioned above. Make
sure you have the bottom end, as the top end will not root. Do NOT water the potting mixture – just put the cut leaves in it in a place which is
fairly light but out of direct sunlight. After 3 months the bottom ends of the leaves should have formed roots. If any haven’t, and have dried out,
throw them away.

After several more months, new plants will begin to grow from the base of the old cut leaves.

I have no idea why yours have rotted, other than it got cold as well as wet. A small amount of dampness in winter at surface of the soil could lead to
collar rot. I’ve had mine for over 15 years without problem, but I almost never water them from the end of September to the end of March. From April I start watering carefully, and give them a good amount in summer. Even so, I never let them stand in water at any time. Sometimes they reward me with a flower or two!

 

It is good for me that this article recommends using commercial cactus compost as I already have some of this after sorting out Flapjack.

 

If I am repotting, which looks highly likely http://www.instructables.com/id/Save-a-Rotted-Snake-Plant/ suggests a clay pot as this, “offers more aeration for this desert loving plant.”


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Dendritic Reflective: Week 57

Here is my review of progress after fifty seven weeks:

Absolutely scorching in London this week although there is still a cool breeze. I would normally expect this to have disappeared by now but it appears to still be with us. The thermometers on the South Eastern facing windowsill are both showing temperatures of 40°C, due to the cloudless sky and the sun shining directly onto this area.

Dare I say, at the risk of jinxing further nasty surprises, but the building work on the outside of the house appears to have been completed. The triffids are still on the patio table under the protection of the large umbrella but as I must also fear the umbrella up-ending the table sending the triffids flying if a stormy gust of wind takes hold, I should probably return the triffids to their normal spots. However they seem to be flourishing in their new locations so I think I may leave them there for another week and review.

 

The Basil Brothers

Basil 19-07-15 Basil 19-07-15 (2) Basil 19-07-15 (3) Basil 19-07-15 (4)

The basil is still doing very poorly with only the extremities of the original brothers remaining green. I think I will take a cutting of the green leaves on show and try and re-plant.

 

 

Pitch

Pitch 19-07-15 Pitch 19-07-15 (2) Pitch 19-07-15 (3) Pitch 19-07-15 (4)

This lad continues to improve at a phenomenal rate. What more can I say. Whatever life throws at him he just keeps going. May possibly move him back into the stronger sun as this is what he likes but in the very strong sun seen recently, his water tray goes dry every two days or so and I am beginning to run out of rain water stores. If he copes well in the shade I may well leave him here. August is the hottest month and I need to start rationing my water.

 

 

Luke

Luke 19-07-15 Luke 19-07-15 (2) Luke 19-07-15 (3) Luke 19-07-15 (4)

Yawn. Nothing continues to happen. Even in this spot this water tray goes dry far too often and I am going to have to replace the tray with something similar to that used by the others.

 

 

Sunny

Sunny 19-07-15 Sunny 19-07-15 (2)

Sunny has responded impressively to the more shady relocation. Definitely worth leaving her here for a while longer whilst she recovers.

 

 

Drake

Drake 19-07-15 Drake 19-07-15 (2)

Drake looks a little pathetic in the pictures above but I assure you that this is merely the change of angle. Drake normally prefers half shade and is the only triffid normally resident on the South West rather than South East facing windowsill. This means that the current conditions should suit him pretty well. Will review next week.

 

 

Piggy

Piggy 19-07-15 Piggy 19-07-15 (2) Piggy 19-07-15 (3)

Was more worried last week about the effect of the paint flecks on Piggy than on any of the other triffids. One week on there are no noticeable signs of any harm being done, although it was always going to be likely that the effects could not be felt for weeks and even months. Another candidate for being moved back earlier than the others although last year I did fear a bit of scorching in sun similar to that at the moment. Will review next week and keep a close eye.

 

 

Venus

Venus 19-07-15 Venus 19-07-15 (2) Venus 19-07-15 (3) Venus 19-07-15 (4) Venus 19-07-15 (5) Venus 19-07-15 (6)

It’s getting crowded in there. The daughter of Sunny has certainly benefited from a week in the shade with those sundew leaves enlarging rapidly and more on the way. There is no visible growth with the circular sundews but in a small pot they continue to take up a significant surface area. Meanwhile Venus herself continues to grow and develop new traps at a pretty rapid rate. There are also signs of the largest traps feeding on something although I have no idea what is left in that front trap.

 

 

Aphro

Aphro 19-07-15 Aphro 19-07-15 (2) Aphro 19-07-15 (3) Aphro 19-07-15 (4)

Aphro looks like the move to more shady climes has also had some benefit. There are so many traps in that pot now and there are a few signs of new growth in the pot. The largest traps both seem to have been eating spiders or daddy long-legs or some such and there are several other traps that have closed with potential kills inside so this area certainly seems to be more fruitful for prey. Will review next week to see if this could be a better position during the hottest part of the summer.

 

 

Cass and Aggy (The Moroccan Twin Sisters)

Mint 19-07-15 Mint 19-07-15 (2)

The sisters are not as impressed with their move. Have been trying to give them a bit more water than I have before but the leaves are looking pretty scorched and the white mottled spots on the leave do not seem to be paint but it seems that the rusting has taken hold, earlier than last year – although I do not think that it was this hot until later in Summer last year so this may account. Perhaps I will need to find an even more shady spot for the sisters.

 

 

Gronda

Gronda 19-07-15 Gronda 19-07-15 (2) Gronda 19-07-15 (3) Gronda 19-07-15 (4)

There are no signs of any more of the leaves having died or beginning to die over the last week. It is very hot and I have been regularly spraying Gronda’s leaves whilst also watering the base of the stems with rested tap water every week or so, or often when the plant is looking particularly droopy. If outside on the external windowsill it is registering over 40°C then it is certainly possible that the sun coming through the South Eastern facing kitchen window is making Gronda’s spot very hot. So far this year there has been very little humidity when it has been hot and thus Gronda is probably getting little water himself. A few new leaves still developing though.

 

 

Hulk

Hulk 19-07-15 Hulk 19-07-15 (2)

Despite the hot position near that South Eastern facing window there is no sign of particular spine droopage. This is a cactus after all. Watered last week so will not be watering until I see signs of droopage.

 

 

Snake

Snake 19-07-15 Snake 19-07-15 (2) Snake 19-07-15 (3)

Something is going seriously wrong with this plant and now more of the upstanding leaves are beginning to lose their rigidity. This has been the first stage of death in all other cases. Have now relocated to the kitchen so the plant will get a lot more sunlight. Will not water yet but need to do some internet research about what’s going on before more leaves suffer the same fate. Such a shame.

 

 

Flapjack

Flapjack 19-07-15 Flapjack 19-07-15 (2) Flapjack 19-07-15 (3)

Flapjack continues to grow very well. Gave him a drink last week so will now not water for a while. The original remaining part of the plant is looking increasingly more and more dead but still cannot quite bring myself to remove it, just in case. Viva Flapjack.


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Happy Hargrave Birthday (Dendritic Reflective: Week 52)

Here is my review of progress after having some of the triffids for an entire year:

 

The Basil Brothers

15-06-14

15-06-14

Basil 13-06-15

13/06/15

Basil 13-06-15 (2)

13/06/15

After a year it could not necessarily be said that the Basil Brothers are looking better, the plants are now very tall but it is the lack of foliage that is the most striking issue twelve months on. Cuttings time!!

 

 

Pitch

Pitcher 15-06-14

15/06/14

Pitch 13-06-15

13/06/15

Pitch 08-06-15 (2)

08/06/15

Pitch 08-06-15

08/06/15

Pitch 08-06-15 (4)

08/06/15

Pitch 13-06-15 (2)

13/06/15

Pitch 13-06-15 (3)

13/06/15

Pitch 13-06-15 (4)

13/06/15

Pitch 13-06-15 (5)

13/06/15

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13/06/15

Whether Pitch has improved or declined is something of a moot point. Some of the original pitchers still exist though they have seen better days, and are now larger brown, dead or cut back. There has however been significant new pitcher growth particularly in September last year meaning that the foliage is much denser than it was a year ago. As the last picture above shows, the back section of the rhizome appears to have died and has produced no new growth in some considerable time. It seems that I probably did not bury this part of the rhizome well enough. Insufficient coverage with soil exposing the rhizome to the elements is enough to cause harm and that looks like it has happened here. In my defence, the rhizome was a pretty odd shape and it was very difficult to keep some bits above the soil whilst ensuring that other parts do not get buried too deep as this can also be harmful, increasing the chances of infection. One thing that Pitch has given me for my first anniversary are the rather odd but strangely beautiful flowers, they really are quite something. I await his progress through the next year.

 

 

Venus

Venus 15-06-14

15/06/14

13/06/15

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Venus 13-06-15 (2)

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Venus 13-06-15 (3)

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Venus 13-06-15 (4)

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Venus 13-06-15 (5)

13/06/15

I note with a wry smile that Venus was actually sent to me with a flower stalk, long before I realised the significance of its presence and began to remove on sight. Apart from the presence of the flower stalk there is not really much difference with Venus one year on. The claws of the traps look longer a year ago and the trap is slightly redder in colour but Venus seems to be in slightly better shape now. Despite the strength sapping abilities of those flower stalks, Venus has more traps than a year ago even if the newest has not developed fully yet.

It is also notable that the presence of the invaders in the pot cannot be detected a year ago. Still not sure where the round sundew came from but am very happy that Sunny’s legacy is living on here in this pot. Did not previously recognise how effective sundews are at self-propagation.

 

 

Sunny

Sun Dew 15-06-14

15/06/14

Sunny 08-06-15 (2)

08/06/15

Sunny 08-06-15 (4)

08/06/15

Sunny 08-06-15 (3)

08/06/15

Sunny 13-06-15

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Sunny 13-06-15 (2)

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Sunny 13-06-15 (3)

13/06/15

A year on and it looks like Sunny has almost gone. Whilst there are some remaining signs of growth in the pot, the colour they have now turned, reddish brown, is the colour of impending doom. Most other growth turned this colour before dying including the new leaf that appeared to be rallying so strongly about a month ago. The rate of decline in this pot has been immense and whilst Sunny was never the strongest of plants I did think that she would last longer than a year. The contributory factors to this state of decline are still somewhat confusing. Her leaves had shown a large amount of decline whilst still in the house before she was moved outside indicating that it has not been caused by temperature fluctuation. There were a couple of dry days at various times which did not seem to agree with her but these were minimal. The previous one occurred whilst she was still inside and she rallied strongly after this. Scorching cannot really be a factor as the progeny present in Venus’s pot show no similar signs and indeed, flourish in the same conditions. I am beginning to wonder if there was some sort of element of infection, fungal or bacterial. For this reason I will not re-use the soil from Sunny’s pot. I will however leave it over Summer with water just in case there is any miracle recovery.

 

 

Cass and Aggy (The Moroccan Twin Sisters)

Mint 15-06-14

15/06/14

Mint 13-06-15

13/06/15

Definite decline here after a year. Those mint plants looked ripe for tea making upon their arrival last year. Unfortunately, after subjecting the sisters to a fair bit of scorching and not giving them enough water they proceeded to then suffer slug/caterpillar attack before also contracting what looked like mint rust. The recent picture still indicates that the mint rust is around. I have been watering the mint in the evenings once in a while but perhaps I need to give it a whole lot more water, growth has not been particularly impressive this year.

 

 

Luke

Luke 13-06-15 Luke 13-06-15 (2) Luke 13-06-15 (3)

The newest of newcomers. Not a lot happening. Slow development of the new picture and will have to wait till later in the year at the earliest for any real action to start, if at all!

 

 

Drake

Drake 13-06-15 Drake 13-06-15 (2) Drake 13-06-15 (3)

Drake’s progress continues. Going in the right direction although his first year anniversary is likely to show that he is not as fully developed this year as he was last.

 

 

Piggy

Piggy 13-06-15 Piggy 13-06-15 (2)

Lapping up the outside sunshine and surely further proof that conditions for Sunny should be perfect. Piggy was the more sensitive last year but under current conditions he appears to be thriving albeit in quite a laid back manner. Little real change in the last few weeks but still looks strong.

 

 

Aphro

Aphro 13-06-15 Aphro 13-06-15 (2)

Evidence of new traps developing but the majority of the remaining traps are very small. The reversal of fortunes and progress amongst the two Venus Fly Traps is quite amazing, especially as Aphro was never allowed to properly develop any sort of flower stalk. Despite this he appears to have declined, particularly in trap density and size. Will be interesting to see if he rallies later in the year. It must be remembered that he did not really go into dormancy over Winter, if anything he seems to be going into dormancy now, in Summer. Still have my fingers crossed that he will show a late surge in the very near future.

 

 

Gronda

Gronda 13-06-15 Gronda 13-06-15 (2) Gronda 13-06-15 (3) Gronda 13-06-15 (4) Gronda 13-06-15 (5)

Gronda’s recovery continues apace with even more new leaves presenting themselves. Gave hm a water a the stalk bases during last week as the leaves were beginning to curl. Have still been spraying a fair bit but perhaps only once every two or three days at the moment. A plant that does require a fair amount of care but worth every minute. My girlfriend does cook with the back door open though and I remember reading that calatheas did not like drafts, so I have yet to see how this may affect his prolonged recovery. Roll on the proper growing season in late Summer/Autumn.

 

 

Hulk

Hulk 13-06-15

No watering for Hulk over the last two weeks and little sign of spine droopage. Probably due for watering next weekend.

 

 

Snake

Snake 13-06-15 Snake 13-06-15 (2) Snake 13-06-15 (3)

That dying brown leaf is still a cause for concern but there does not appear to have been any replication on any of the other leaves, although Snake does everything so slowly that it could take some time for any infection or condition to spread, by which time it could well be too late. Yikes. Continuing to monitor more closely than ever before.

 

 

Flapjack

Flapjack 13-06-15 Flapjack 13-06-15 (2) Flapjack 13-06-15 (3)

Is the original piece of Flapjack still going? It does not look very healthy but I still cannot put it out of its misery just in case some new growth appears. In the other pot, the son of Flapjack continues with his happy development. No water over the last 2 weeks but must be due by next week.

 

 

Addendum

Whilst repairing the fridge last week my girlfriend managed to lose my Sarracenia seeds so that line of investigation will have to wait until I acquire some more.