Late December, Early January - construction notes
02/06/2000 - Placed order for plants with Cascade Carnivorous Plants.
Mid February - more construction notes
02/21/2000 - The bog is ready for planting.
02/24/2000 - My first shipment of plants arrived
02/25/2000 - Planted the majority of the bog
02/27/2000 - Today I had the 'pleasure' of rebuilding the Darlingtonia bog
02/29/2000 - The water seems to have stabilized somewhat
03/07/2000 - They're growing!
03/10/2000 - Bloom buds
03/11/2000 - Darlingtonia Bog replanted.
03/13/2000 - Pouring down rain today.
03/15/2000 - 27 degrees (F) this morning,
03/19/2000 - More photos added to photo album...
03/31/2000 - Everything is outside now except...
04/09/2000 - Perpetual Status Report - last update: 04/22/00
05/31/2000 - Lindsey and I were compiling today's status report when...
06/04/2000 - I acquired an S. Oreophila today!
06/18/2000 - I have a major algae problem...
06/26/2000 - My sundews are very happy...
07/17/2000 - Pilgrimage to the Darlingtonia Wayside...
07/25/2000 - The bog is catching its second wind
08/04/2000 - The S. alata nigrapurpurea sent up its first really serious pitcher...
09/20/2000 - It's almost time to start thinking...
Late December, Early January... Bog construction could be better accommodated at a more convenient time of year. However, I selected this time for the primary reason that I wished to plant my bog while the plants were dormant, and I didn't want it sitting empty for months and months, and I didn't come up with the idea in time to do it at a more reasonable time of year. Construction is slow and tedious. There are very few days dry enough to work. Those few dry days are cold. The initial excavation took the better part of a day. Final excavation and installation of lining in lower bog took another day.
Soil was prepared and loaded into bog. The recipe I'm using is as follows:2 parts sphagnum peat mossPerlite is a real mess. I'm not that excited about it. It mixes in just fine. Then a few drops of rain fall, washing the sand and peat away, revealing a million annoying little white dots. Otherwise, I just mixed it all up in the wheelbarrow just like cement, adding water (quickly, to keep the perlite from blowing away) and mixing thoroughly until I had a pasty glop that dumped and spread nicely into the lined basin.
1 part sand
1 part perlite
02/06/2000 - Placed order for plants with Cascade Carnivorous Plants.
The order was placed with a delayed ship date of the last week of February. Andrew has been extremely helpful and his website contains great growing tips. I have high hopes for the quality of his product.
Mid February - Electrical work consists of a concealed extension cord from the front porch to the pump. Plumbing is a piece of plastic tubing running from the bottom of the reservoir to the pump and on to the upper bog. Again, muddy work between rain showers.
The upper bog was fairly easy to complete. Building the 'waterfall' from a hundred sixty pounds of granite slabs wasn't very complicated, but had to be carefully laid out to prevent water from leaking out of the bog. The liner in the upper bog laid on top of the 'waterfall' area liner, which in turn was laid over the top of the lower bog liner. All the rocks were placed on top of the 'waterfall' liner. The edges were camouflaged with peat/sand mix and seems to be holding up well at this point.
02/21/2000 - The bog is ready for planting. I'm still wrestling with water supply issues. I have purchased a reverse-osmosis water purification system for use in my bog. So far, I'm getting only a 1:20 filtered water to waste water return through this system. That is not nearly good enough for the investment in city water. I will attempt to fine tune the delivery system for more acceptable output. The intake hose separated from its fitting during initial testing, rendering the entire device useless. It produced about a half gallon of filtered water and ten gallons of waste water before it broke. I am investigating other sources of distilled water.
- The water level drops rapidly in the reservoir when the rain stops. It refills rapidly when rain resumes. This is not consistent with fluctuations I am observing in the big pond. Water loss can be as much as two inches in three or four days. A leak in the lining was ruled out through the power of positive thinking. Initially I believed there to be a massive 'sponge-siphon' effect removing moisture from the bog and depositing it into the surrounding soil. This did not prove to be true when removal of all material from the soil edges resulted in no improvement in water retention. Current theory concludes that the peat moss in the bog replaces moisture lost through evaporation by absorbing water from the reservoir. The reservoir is of small diameter, and a drop of an inch is probably less than a gallon loss, and is actually far less than the evaporative loss from the surface of the big pond. The water table stabilizes when the level reaches the bog floor and detaches from the peat. I think it's OK.
- I had originally intended for water to flow from the upper bog to the lower via the 'waterfall' and return to the reservoir through a gentle subterranean flow through the peat/sand/perlite mix. That doesn't work. My flow of approximately one gallon per minute is far too great to be supported via this method. Instead, I ended up with rivers cutting canyons through the peat, sending torrents of muddy silt directly to the bottom of the reservoir. This was probably the single most upsetting event of the entire project (aside from the massive budget overrun). Initial improvisation produced a quick channel from the base of the 'waterfall' to the reservoir filled with pea gravel. This worked great for about 20 minutes as the spaces in the pea gravel were gradually filled with peat and sand from the surrounding bog soil. Very quickly this channel was clogged and again began fouling the reservoir. Quick fix #2 was to excavate a new channel, line it with plastic pond liner and fill it with gravel and small river rock. The rock was filled in deep enough to conceal the lining material. This method appears to be working well. If I were to design this project again, I'd have the 'waterfall' drop directly into the reservoir, eliminating the need for the embedded channel through the bog. As it is, this channel eliminated a couple of square feet of valuable bogscaping real-estate. Note: I use the term 'waterfall' in quotations because it is only about a foot high and the volume of water, barely above a drip, really begs the use of the term.
02/24/2000 - My first shipment of plants arrived from Cascade Carnivorous Plants! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!
02/25/2000 - Planted the majority of the bog today! I put number tags into the bog beside each plant for future identification. Here's the key:
1. Sarracenia purpurea venosa 'Burkei' (a beautiful big "mother" plant)
2. Sarracenia flava typical - Florida - Gulf Coast area
3. Sarracenia flava 'Red Throat'
4. Sarracenia alata typical 'Angelina County, Tx'
5. Sarracenia alata nigrapurpurea
6. Sarracenia leucophylla 'Alabama'
7. Sarracenia flava 'Copperlid' (small bloom bud emerging!)
8. Dionaea muscipula
9. Sarracenia minor
10. Sarracenia psittacina (a double plant)
11. S. purpurea venosa 'Carolina'
12. Drosera rotundifolia
13. Dionaea miscipula - Akai Ryu, Red Dragon
14. Drosera filiformis filiformis
15. Drosera binata - 'T' form
16. Sarracenia rubra wherryii
17. Sarracenia rubra rubra
18. Darlingtonia californica (these plants are humongous!)
I'm in big trouble if somebody mixes up the tags. The plants all appear to be in excellent shape. I'm quite pleased with their quality and apparent viability. The Darlingtonia are unbelievable. Everything appears to be relatively dormant, with a few shoots just getting started on two or three plants.
The Drosera binata and filiformis are growing in a pot on the kitchen counter for a few weeks until the last danger of frost is past. They seem plenty happy about it.
I'm still having trouble losing water. The bog lost 10 gallons this week. That's a bit more than I was counting on for a cool, damp week. I'm still hoping it's not an actual leak. If it is, it'll be months before the area around the bog is dry enough to be able to detect it. I found a source of distilled water today. If you bring your own container, it's $1.75 per 5 gallons. I'll probably go pick up 50 gallons or so this weekend. That'll last a few weeks. By then maybe I can get my reverse osmosis unit functioning. With all these water struggles, I'm beginning to doubt my bold statement about 'mainstreaming' carnivorous plants. Actually, if I were to abandon the Darlingtonia project, it probably would be just fine. There's probably some problem in the connection between the two bogs.
Oh, hey, now that I have actual carnivorous plants, I think I'll apply for membership in the ICPS WebRing.
02/27/2000 - Today I had the 'pleasure' of rebuilding the Darlingtonia bog. When I got up this morning the reservoir was down seven gallons. So, after the rebuild and refill the depth of the reservoir was 51.5". When I returned from a trip to town, the depth was 52.5". It rained, so I don't know how effective the rebuild was yet. I really hope I'm done messing with this.
02/29/2000 - The water seems to have stabilized somewhat. It was at 51.5" this morning. That may be close to the overflow point. The sun has been shining a good portion of the day today, so I'll see where it's at this evening.
Now it looks like I'll have to replant the Darlingtonia bog one more time to get the water level correct for the plants. Currently they're 'swamped,' and I don't think they'd like that long term.
03/07/2000 - They're growing! Check out the photo album page for today. I spotted the first new growth on the Venus Flytraps last evening. The Drosera rotundifolia has doubled in size! There are tiny new pitchers emerging from the base of Sarracenia purpurea venosa 'Burkei' as well. The stuff in the house is really going nuts. The D. binata has nearly replaced all of the leaves that were 'damaged' when it arrived. They had all their stick'em washed off in the shipping process and didn't seem to replace it, so the new leaves are easy to identify. The Drosera filiformis filiformis has more than doubled in size and is starting to grow 'wildly!'.
On a completely non-carnivorous note, the Dodecathon jefferyi (shooting star) I planted in the backyard last spring (that I thought the dog had destroyed when he dug it up twice later in the summer) just came bursting out of the ground last week. It appears to be in amazing health. This is a major horticultural event for me, if you couldn't already tell. My Aquilegia formosa (western columbine) is showing its first new leaves as well. Someday I'll start an "Indigenous Flora in Cultivation" page and move this stuff out of here... I have at least six more native plants I'm observing for signs of activity. Isn't spring wonderful!? Unfortunately, it's a lot like a cute puppy - it all too soon grows up into the dog days of summer. Oh, well...
I'll have to take a break from my carnivorous fascination to plant the roses, roses and more roses that arrived yesterday. I'm not sure where I'm going to put them all. I'm sure that information will be provided to me at some point. But if they detract too much attention from my bog I'll just have to whack them off at the ground.
I'm leaning towards a rainwater collection system now. A few quick calculations revealed I should be able to collect upwards of 20 gallons of water off the shed roof per inch of rainfall. That seems easy enough. In doing research on rainwater collection a friend of mine pointed me to this "Rainwater Harvesting and Purification System." And my wife thought a bog in the front yard was unusual. Wait 'till I start this project!
03/10/2000 - Bloom buds breaking the surface on Sarracenia flava 'Copperlid' and Sarracenia flava typical
03/11/2000 - Darlingtonia Bog replanted. I'm still not totally happy with the results, but we'll see. I found a few miscellaneous sundews growing in the sphagnum that I used to cover the surface with. Those will be interesting to watch.
03/13/2000 - Pouring down rain today. Low lying areas of the bog are flooded. This may be a good thing. I tried to plant things that like the higher water table in those areas. The level drops fairly rapidly as soon as the rain quits. By the way, I have not had to add water since the 'disaster' of 02/27/2000. I have 40 gallons of distilled water and 5 gallons of rainwater stored at the moment. My other 5 gallon bucket has a bare-root rose in it, waiting for things to dry out enough for planting.
03/15/2000 - 27 degrees (F) this morning. Most everything looks OK, but the Venus Flytraps have sure slowed down. I don't think they're too happy with these cold mornings. The reservoir lost five gallons of water in two days. This time I think it is a capillary type effect of the bark dust from the flowerbed in contact with the water in the upper bog. It was warm and dry all day, but the top of the upper bog mound was very wet. I refilled the reservoir and pulled all the barkdust back from the water. I'll monitor this situation a few days. I hadn't lost hardly any water at all until I replanted the upper bog and tried to fancy it up, adding the bark dust to cover the liner around the edge of the bog. I'll try the pea gravel next...
03/19/2000 - More photos in the photo album. The D. binata in the kitchen is going nuts. The P. grandiflora ate an ant yesterday. The S. x "Judith Hindle" has sent up a pitcher 6 inches so far. This indoor stuff will probably stay there for a few more weeks. The weatherman is predicting our first day above 60 since last fall for this Wednesday. I can't wait...
03/31/2000 - Everything is outside now except for the P. grandiflora and U. gibba. I moved the Drosera out of the kitchen and into the bog yesterday. They still seem happy enough today in spite of a warm, dry breeze. They are already sweeping up small bugs out of the air. The blooms on the two S. flava and S. purpurea venosa are beginning to pick up speed now, reaching a whole three inches into the air! S. flava 'Red Throat' and S. alata typical each have a new leaf up at least 2 inches. One of the two S. leucophylla plants just broke the surface as well. The VFT's are finally showing signs of waking up again. They kind of went into shock when I first planted them. They were ready for summer, I think, and the first few mornings of frost kind of took them by surprise. I think there should be at least one new trap ready for business in a couple of weeks now. The S. x "Judith Hindle" relocated outside earlier this week. It experienced light frost on two separate mornings without any apparent ill effects.
Water continues to be a concern. I turned off the circulating pump to see if that would reduce the loss, and it did slow down some, but the warmer days definitely have an impact on the water level. I'm afraid I'm doomed to have to pay far more attention to the water levels than I anticipated. I'm now thinking about putting the pump on a timer, and running it only for a very short period every day until it becomes necessary to cool the roots of the Darlingtonia. At that time I'll set the timer to circulate only during the hottest portion of the day. This plan should minimize water loss while still accomplishing the goal of cooling the upper bog. Ideally, I suppose, I could activate the pump with a root-level thermostat. I'll save that project for another week. The RO unit went back to the store. I never could get it to produce an acceptable ratio of filtered water. The folks at California Carnivores were most gracious. I was impressed. Plan B will be to put rain gutters on the shed in the back yard and collect rain water. Maybe I'll do that this weekend.
Have you ever watched paint dry? Except for the plants that initially started out on the kitchen counter, this waiting game has been just about as exciting as sitting in the back row at a flea circus. I have to keep my perspective by checking on other plants in the yard that haven't come up yet. There are no leaves on any trees yet, and many other plants are showing absolutely no signs of emerging, so I guess I'm just impatient. So far I have resisted the urge to dig up one of these little guys to see what's going on. Next year should be easier, I hope!
04/09/2000 Perpetual Status Report Measurements indicate size of largest example.
1. Sarracenia purpurea venosa 'Burkei' A dozen or more new pitchers up to 1.5 inches
04/22/00 3 inch pitchers
05/02/00 pitchers are now up to 4 inches in length
05/08/00 5 inch pitchers
05/30/00 19 pitchers, up to 7 inches
06/18/00 doing fine!
2. Sarracenia flava typical - Florida Gulf Coast area 1 bloom stalk, 5 inches high, bud is .5 inch in diameter
04/13/00 bloom stalk 7 inches
04/22/00 10 inch bloom stalk, 2 pitchers, 3.5 inches
05/01/00 bloom stalk is now 12 inches tall, 2 pitchers at 4.5 inches
05/08/00 bloom stalk 12 inches, almost open, 2 pitchers, 6 inches
05/30/00 bloom stalk 14.5 inches, 3 pitchers, 9.5 inches
06/18/00 bloom stalk finished out at 15 inches. Otherwise, no significant changes.
07/04/00 5 pitchers, 9.5 inches
07/25/00 7 pitchers
08/11/00 8 pitchers, 11 inches
3. Sarracenia flava 'Red Throat' 2 pitchers, 3.5 inches tall
04/22/00 4 pitchers, 6.5 inches
05/01/00 4 pitchers 8.8 inches
05/08/00 6 pitchers 10 inches
05/30/00 6 pitchers, 11.25 inches
06/18/00 8 pitchers, 11.5 inches
07/04/00 9 pitchers, 13.5 inches
08/11/00 11 pitchers, 15 inches
4. Sarracenia alata typical 'Angelina County, Tx' 2 pitchers 4.5 inches tall
04/22/00 4 pitchers 9 inches
05/01/00 3 pitchers 12 inches
05/08/00 4 pitchers, 14.5 inches
05/30/00 4 pitchers, 19 inches
06/18/00 4 pitchers, 19 3/4 inches. This one would now have 5 pitchers, except one was sacrificed for science...
07/04/00 5 pitchers, 22 inches. An insect ate off the top of one of the developing pitchers.
07/25/00 6 pitchers.
08/11/00 7 pitchers, 20 inches - older pitchers are full and tipping over
5. Sarracenia alata nigrapurpurea 1 pitcher, .5 inch tall (first observed today!)
04/22/00 2 pitchers, 2 inches
05/01/00 2 pitchers, 3 inches
05/08/00 2 pitchers, 4.5 inches
05/30/00 2 pitchers, 9.25 inches
06/18/00 No significant changes...
07/04/00 tiny new pitcher emerging for total of 3. Plant seems a bit stunted and pitcher tops distorted.
07/25/00 3 pitchers, 14.75 inches!
08/11/00 3 pitchers, 22 inches
6. Sarracenia leucophylla 'Alabama' one plant has 1 pitcher, 1 inch tall. The other has yet to activate.
04/22/00 Both plants active, 3 pitchers 3 inches
05/01/00 5 pitchers, 5 inches
05/08/00 7 pitchers, 6.5 inches
05/30/00 9 pitchers, 11 inches
06/18/00 11 pitchers, 12.5 inches.
07/25/00 13 pitchers, 13 inches
08/11/00 15 pitchers, 18 inches - beautiful color
7. Sarracenia flava 'Copperlid' 1 bloom stalk, 5 inches high, also one 3.5 inch pitcher
04/13/00 - bloom stalk 8 inches
04/22/00 bloom stalk 12 inches, 1 pitcher 7 inches
05/01/00 bloom stalk now 14.5 inches! 2 pitchers, 9 inches
05/08/00 bloom stalk 15.5 inches, 2 pitchers, 10 inches
05/30/00 bloom stalk 18 inches, 2 pitchers, 12.5 inches
06/18/00 Bloom stalk finished out at 18 inches. 2 pitchers, 14.5 inches
07/04/00 3 pitchers.
07/25/00 4 pitchers, 17 inches
08/11/00 5 pitchers
8. Dionaea muscipula All plants average 4 new traps per plant. New growth approaching 1 inch on average.
04/22/00 6 new traps per plant, as large as .5 inch
05/01/00 7 new traps per plant
05/30/00 6 traps per plant, largest 1 inch
06/18/00 plants sending out next round of traps. Many sending 4 new traps per plant.
07/04/00 Large plants have as many as 12 traps!
08/11/00 all doing well except the flooded pair. They have been transplanted and are recovering slowly.
9. Sarracenia minor no activity whatsoever... I think it's dead
06/18/00 1 pitcher, 1/4 inch. Not sure if this one's going to survive.
07/04/00 plant exploding! 15 pitchers up to 3 inches tall!
07/25/00 17 pitchers, 4.5 inches
08/11/00 20 pitchers
10. Sarracenia psittacina very tiny new pitchers beginning to emerge
5 or 6 pitchers up to a half inch long.
05/30/00 8 pitchers, 2 inches
06/18/00 Sending up next round of small pitchers, 5 tiny new ones so far...
08/11/00 25 pitchers, up to 3 inches long or so. A really cute little plant with interesting color. I transplanted it to a wetter area of the bog on 07/25/00. Seems happier already.
11. S. purpurea venosa 'Carolina' 2.5 inch bloom stalk. 1 small pitcher, .75 inches
04/13/00 - Bloom stalk 4 inches
04/22/00 Bloom stalk 6.5 inches, 1 pitcher, 1 inch
05/01/00 bloom stalk 8.5 inches, 1 pitcher 1 inch
05/08/00 bloom stalk 11 inches, 1 pitcher, 1.5 inch
05/30/00 bloom stalk 14.75 inches, 2 pitchers, 3 inches
06/18/00 no significant changes...
07/04/00 1 new pitcher emerging, <.5 inch at this time.
07/25/00 4 pitchers.
08/11/00 4 pitchers, 4 inches. No beauty queen here, but healthy enough.
12. Drosera rotundifolia Clump, 2 inches diameter. Leaves average .25 diameter.
04/22/00 plant 1.75 inches tall, leaves 3/8 diameter (not counting sticky hairs!)
05/01/00 2.5 inches tall, 40 or more active leaves
05/30/00 3 inches tall. A very happy camper!
06/18/00 Bloom stalk emerging, at 3.5 inches. I have found 7 D. rotundifolia scattered about the bog. Most fairly small.
07/04/00 Bloom stalk 5 inches tall. No luck capturing picture yet.
07/25/00 bloom is done. I never observed a single open flower.
13. Dionaea miscipula - Akai Ryu, Red Dragon same as regular D. miscipula (#8 above)
07/25/00 These guys are amazing! 17 active traps per plant, 4.5 inches tall, traps 1.25 inches long!
14. Drosera filiformis filiformis doing magnificantly. 5 inches tall and full of bugs. vigorous new growth apparent.
04/22/00 5.5 inches tall, probably two dozen new leaves coming up. Totally coated with small bugs. yum....
05/01/00 plant now occupies an area with a diameter of 7 inches. Tallest leaves are 6 inches long
05/30/00 7 inches tall, 4 bloom stalks emerging.
06/18/00 8 bloom stalks, 8.5 inches tall. The 1/2 inch diameter pinkish lavendar blooms open at night and are quite attractive.
07/25/00 2 more bloom stalks for a total of 10.
08/11/00 more bloom stalks coming up, but not nearly as robust as before. Leaves are 9 inches tall. The 14 inch bloom stalks produced as many as 16 blooms each.
15. Drosera binata - 'T' form severely crippled by move from inside to outside. Sunburned very badly. One plant was placed in partial shade under a rock. It is doing better than sun exposed plant. Both are producing new leaves, though the sun exposed plant is slower recovering.
04/22/00 struggling... new growth visible, though not as vigorous as before. Probably likes a tiny bit more shade than it's getting.
05/01/00 doing a little better. Shaded plant is putting out many more leaves. Full sun plant is gradually increasing output.
05/30/00 all plants doing well. Plants in full sun are stalkier than shaded plants.
06/18/00 Eagerly devouring a variety of prey - flies, crane flies, and a darning needle (a small dragonfly relative)
07/04/00 bloom stalk 7 inches tall. Opening soon!
07/25/00 blooms emerged on a t-shaped bloom stalk, uncoiling just like the leaves. Amazing. All plants now have bloom stalks emerging. All look healthy.
08/11/00 These guys transplant extremely easily. I just grabbed one by its leaves, pulled it up, stuck it in the ground in a new spot, and it sent up an 8 inch bloom stalk to thank me. Bloom stalks on some plants are reaching 12 inches in height.
16. Sarracenia rubra wherryii nothing.
04/13/00 two shoots, 1 inch
05/01/00 3 pitchers 1.5 inches
05/08/00 4 pitchers, 2 inches
05/30/00 4 pitchers, 3.5 inches
06/18/00 7 pitchers, 5 inches. Eating ants tending aphids. One of the largest pitchers is severly distorted, possibly by aphids.
07/25/00 11 pitchers, 6.5 inches
08/11/00 12 pitchers
17. Sarracenia rubra rubra nothing.
05/01/00 2 pitchers .5 inch
05/08/00 3 pitchers, 1.25 inches
05/30/00 5 pitchers, 5.5 inches
06/18/00 7 pitchers, 7.5 inches
07/25/00 8 pitchers, 8.5 inches
08/11/00 12 pitchers
18. Darlingtonia californica many new itchers, up to 2 inches long.
04/22/00 7 or more pitchers, 6 inches.
05/01/00 largest pitcher now 8.5 inches.
05/08/00 several pitchers, up to 12.25 inches
05/30/00 I think I killed it :(
06/18/00 looks pretty much dead to me...
07/25/00 it's dead.
08/11/00 one small rosette has emerged with half a dozen pitchers up to 2 inches in length.
19. Sarracenia oreophila 06/18/00 4 pitchers, 13 inches. A hearty eater! Moths, wasps, flies, etc...
07/04/00 5 pitchers
07/25/00 7 pitchers. A very healthy specimen.
08/11/00 8 pitchers and 8 new phyllodia
20. Sarracenia x Judith Hindle 06/18/00 15 Pitchers, 9 inches tall. a very lovely specimen acquired in February. I hesitated reporting on it since it's not a native species as are the others in my collection. It is very attractive, and doing well.
08/11/00 still only 9 inches tall, but just a solid mass of deep maroon and white pitchers. It's really quite attractive. It has been producing healthy pitchers all summer.
05/31/2000 Lindsey and I were compiling today's status report when we observed a house fly climbing up a 19 inch high S. alata tube. It worked its way all the way to the lip, crawled over the lip and peered into the depths. Then, just quick as a wink, it slipped and fell down the tube. We were able to see the dark blob drop down the tube through the translucent sides of the leaf.
Venus flytraps are eagerly devouring prey as well. When we returned from a week's vacation on the east coast, four traps were closed with very long legs hanging out of them. I'm guessing either daddy-long-legs spiders or crane flies. Two of them re-opened this week.
The sundews are full of bugs. Mostly gnats, mosquitos and ants. The butterworts are not doing well. The bladderwort has disappeared. I think killed the Darlingtonia when I introduced an algae control chemical into the water supply. The chemical was an enzyme, and I discovered too late that it also contains trace minerals as well. That's probably what did it in. It still is green, but no longer growing at all. This is a very sad time...
Otherwise, I'm quite tickled with the entire results so far!
06/04/2000 - I acquired an S. Oreophila today! There it was, sitting on a shelf with dozens of other pitcher plants at Portland Saturday Market. I brought it home with me, and it's already happily planted in my bog.
06/18/2000 - I'm having major algae troubles in the reservoir. Too much light, I believe. I'm worried, though, if I cut off the light I will kill the fish that eat the mosquitoes. Hmmm... Lindsey used my bog as her final project for Advanced Placement Biology. She removed a pitcher from a S. alata, extracted the contents and did some chemical analysis. She also performed comparative analysis of the bog water, pond water, and tap water. Those results can be reviewed here.
06/26/2000 - My sundews are very happy with their environment so far. We'll see how they like a week of mid 90's with relatively low humidity (35%). I added a page of Drosera (sundew) bloom photos. So far, the D. filiformis is the only one that I've caught in full open bloom. They seem to be open only during the mid morning hours, so I'm never home to see them except on weekends. The D. rotundifolia has opened a couple of blooms so far. One of the D. binata has a bloom cluster up about 3.5 inches. I'll add all of these to the Drosera photo page as I catch them.
07/17/2000 - Pilgrimage to the Darlingtonia Wayside near Florence, Oregon, today. I'll have pictures as soon as I get back from vacation. Stay tuned!
07/25/2000 - The bog is catching its second wind as warm summer weather takes hold. Many plants are sending out a second round of pitchers that are bigger than the first set. I have a question which, because I'm the only one that will ever read this page, is purely hypothetical, but I'll ask it anyway - Are some pitcher plants sensitive to transplantation? Meaning, do they take a year or two to adapt to their new environment? In particular, I'm referring to the S. minor, which didn't even breech the surface until mid June, is less than five inches tall but has put out 17(!) new tiny pitchers. Also, S. leucophylla seems to be a bit on the scrawny side. The pitchers are tall, up to a foot high in some cases, but less than a half inch in diameter and their tiny quarter inch hoods are less than eye-catching.
The VFT's are spectacular. The Aki Ryu plants have as many as 17 traps (on each plant!) up to 1.25 inches in length and stand four and a half inches tall. I transplanted two of the regular green VFT's as they were showing signs of over watering. They already look happier, in less than 2 weeks. One may be too far gone to survive. All of the Drosera (sundews) are doing well. I initially purchased a single D. rotundifolia. I now have in excess of 7 volunteer plants. A few came up in the live sphagnum, but several came up in totally virgin soil, indicating seeds must have fallen out of something. Basically, they look like they could become 'weeds!' I'm not too worried about it, though. I could have worse weeds. All the D. binata plants are either in bloom or with bud. D. filiformis filiformis is sending up two more bloom stalks, for a total of 10. I'll break up the clump next spring if they survive the winter. I'm also interested to see what kind of seedlings I have to deal with next year.
This year I'm leaving all blooms and seed heads on all plants except the VFT's. I'm sure most of the Sarracenia would have benefited from the removal of the spent bloom. I am not observing any swelling seed pods yet, so I'm guessing no pollination occurred. Anyway, that's how things look today...
08/04/2000 - The S. alata nigrapurpurea sent up its first really serious pitcher this week. It's aready 22 inches tall and hasn't opened its mouth yet. The copper/gold color with red veins is quite striking when backlit at sunset.
I'm feeling a need to apologize for the quality of the pictures in my photo album. Video cameras are not intended to substitute for digital cameras. But, it's that or nothing, for now. Also, these plants are all growing in the ground outside, and I'm at the mercy of the prevailing lighting conditions. If they were in pots I could move them around for better shots. But they're not. Oh, well...
09/20/2000 - First, the latest news. A raccoon or other bug eating animal raided my bog and destroyed a couple of pitchers on my S oreophila. My guess is the feast was not as tasty as anticipated because no further damage was done there. The 'critter' went on to the pond and flattened a couple of plants and laid a few of the floating plants neatly along the rock edging. This is the first actual assault on the bog by anything more than the random passing dog.
It's almost time to start thinking about a wrap-up analysis of the first growing season. It's been about a month and a half since my last report and things are still changing. I will probably do one last status report around the first of October. Things are starting to slow down with the shorter days and cooler evenings. With the exception of a single plant, everything continues to grow. That lone exception being S minor. Well, then there's the Darlingtonia, but that's another matter entirely. A few quick observations that may show up in my season wrap-up will include my decision to purchase exclusively mature specimens. In retrospect, I'm not sure that was such a good idea. Many plants were slow getting started. Either that, or I'm just really impatient.
One problem, for which I do have solid evidence, is the design of my water management system. The deep hole is great, though I suspect it contributed insignificantly to actual cooling. Specific problems, though, included mosquito larvae and algae formation. The mosquito population was controlled by fish and algae was controlled by covering the hole to eliminate sunlight. I'm reasonably sure the decomposition of the algae contributed directly to the demise of the Darlingtonia.
The greatest advantage of the reservoir and circulating pump is the constant supply of moisture to the soil even with significant evaporation. During warm, dry periods the water level in the reservoir dropped several inches below the bottom of the bottom of the bog soil, yet the soil remained damp due to the twice daily circulation of water.
The last issue is the waterfall. It is constructed of a stacked slabs of split granite. There are considerable open spaces around and behind the rocks that slugs find to be particularly attractive - cool, dark and damp. However, periodically (twice per day for an hour each time) the pump runs and circulates water through the upper bog, over the waterfall, and into the lower bog. This drowns the slugs and causes further decomposition issues. Large quantities of drowned slugs get to be a little stinky as well. I think I need to fill in behind the waterfall with gravel to prevent further drownings.
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