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 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.





















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

Nothing to report. Happy as Larry.




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 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.



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



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

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.”