Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's Been Awhile, Part 2

Finally I am back with another post. The past few months have seen a lot of turmoil, for lack of a better word, but things look to be settling down now. Anyway, we've been experiencing a most of unusual of winters here in NW WI so far. As of today, there is no snow on the ground. We've had a couple of minor snow events, but temperatures have remained mild enough that the snows we've gotten have melted after a few days. Even today, the high is supposed to be 40, although it looks like colder temps will finally be moving in. I moved my plants into the garage a little after Thanksgiving, and over the past 2 weeks I've trimmed off dead foliage here and there, when I had some free time. I also finally got my seeds into stratification in the garage. I found these plastic christmas ornament storage boxes at walmart, for $5 each, and I thought, how perfect for starting seeds. They have a clear plastic hinged lid, and 20 depressions for holding ornaments. I bought 2 and filled each depression with live sphagnum that I ran through the blender first. It's probably not the most space-efficient method, but with only 2 it's not a big deal. Back in October I visited one of Wisconsin's State Natural Areas, called the Namekagon Fen. It's about a 3 hour drive north of me and it's a place I've been to once before, a few years ago. It's a really pristine wetland kind of out in the middle of nowhere (you have to drive down a dirt road a few miles to get to it). It has a very large population of pitcher plants in it, so much so that you pretty much have to watch each step to avoid stepping on them. Also, being a sphagnum/sedge bog, it is very wet and you sink at least above your ankles while walking around. I also some sundews in there, the ones I saw were all submerged on Sphagnum at the edges of open water. And according a US Forest Service website there is a large population of Pogonia and Calopogon bog orchids. Unfortunately, the two times I've been there have been past the blooming period for the orchids and pitcher plants. Hopefully I can make it up there in late June/early July of this upcoming year. Here are some of the pics I took in October:
A landscape shot showing the overall nature of the Namekagon Fen.
This is a composited image of the bog mat there (several photos stitched together to make one large image). Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking and took this picture in an area that was in the shade, so the picture quality wasn't ideal. But you can see some Sarracenia in there, as well as the nice red Sphagnum. The broad-leaved plants are ericads, the darker green leaves are leatherleaf, and there is some bog rosemary in there as well, which is a slightly paler green. The grass-looking plants are white beak rush, I think. Here's the interactive photosynth of this imgage: Here are a couple of different pitchers, showing different coloration. They were pretty close to each other, so I think the color difference must be due to genetics:
And here's a picture of my son from my previous trip, in August 2009:
Lastly, here's a pic of a sundew, that I had to manipulate a little so it wasn't submerged:
I guess that's about it for now. Being winter, there probably won't be much to report on until my seeds start germinating.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's Been Awhile

I've finally gotten around to posting here again. Why has it been so long? I guess primarily my own laziness, but there's other factors, doing other things, distractions, my pending unemployment, etc....Anyways, it's been a pretty good summer for my Sarracenia. We had a wet enough summer that I didn't have to rely a whole lot on supplemental watering. Of course, there were a few hot, dry spells that had me scrambling for water, but they were few and far between. We had an early frost last week, but the Sarracenia seem unfazed by it and I'm not sure how cold it actually got. The surface of the soils were not frozen, although I did have a thin layer of frost on my car window in the morning. This is kind of a bittersweet time of the year - the biggest and best pitchers of most plants are currently being thrown up, but you also know summer is pretty much over and it won't be long before flakes are flying through the air. We had an early October snowstorm two years ago, and last early October, I was hiking with my family through a bog with 80 degree air temps, so anything is possible from here on out. I've been taking a lot of pictures over the course of the summer, but haven't published a whole lot of them. If you peruse any of the CP forums, you may find them. I've been using the Photosynth application by Microsoft, which stitches images together for creating panoramas, but you don't have to use it on a landscape scale. Here's a few I just did this evening. I don't think they turned out the greatest, but I didn't put a whole lot of effort and time into it. If you zoom in a little, you'll see some errors in the stitching process. This first one just shows a couple of the tubs I grow most of my Sarracenia in. Yeah, they look a little ragged, but I think that's to be expected when you grow outdoors, and they're probably a little overcrowded now too: This second one shows a bunch of Sarracenia that are still in individual pots. They're mostly seed-grown plants of my own, anywhere from 1-4 years of age. There's also a couple of older plants that should be moved to larger containers or into a tub: This one really got messed up during the stitching process, but I guess I'll go ahead and post it anyway. It's my giant mini bog, with a layer of live sphagnum topdressing. The sphagnum has a bunch of cranberries growing in it, although I have yet to see a single fruit, and I also planted a couple of native bog plants in there: bog rosemary, labrador tea, and grass-pink orchid. They all seem to be doing very well. I can see the bog rosemary may need to be reined in - it's really starting to spread. And I planted 2 grass-pink orchid corms in there last spring, and this year, there were 6 separate plants that came up - 3 of which bloomed: This last one was just for fun and shows 3 pots that each have an open-pollinated "Boob Tube" seedling (2 years old). I thought it was kind of neat how the sphagnum in each pot has all kind of grown together, so you really wouldn't know there were 3 separate pots underneath. And then next to them is my one and only venus flytrap: So there's some amateur Sarracenia photostitches. I've actually been doing many of them in my hikes and explorations around the state. As an example of how good the photosynths can actually be, here's one I did a month ago at the Great River Trail Prairie State Natural Area, near LaCrosse, WI: So now I can't wait to get out to some of the bogs in this state and do some of these, although it may be some time before that happens.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 25, 2011 Pics

After a lazy day, I finally made my way outside in the evening to grill dinner and have a couple Mooseheads and thought it was perfect lighting conditions to take some pics:

Sarracenia minibog
This is a shot looking downward on my largest minibog, with several 'Tarnok' flowers on the left. The large pitcher opening up on the right is a leucophylla x flava rugelli.

Sarracenia flowers
Another perspective, with my daughter's tricycle as an accent.

Sarracenia oreophila x psittacina
S. oreophila x psittacina. An old plant I got from Cook's many years ago, possibly when I lived in Missouri, which would be at least as far back as 2002, but I really don't remember. This is a fairly typical pitcher shape for primary hybrids between S. psittacina and upright species. On this particular plant, some pitchers will have the hoods actually expand and flatten out, some will stay like this, and others will remain closed, with only the smallest of pitcher entrances.

Calopogon tuberosus
This is actually a developing flower stalk of the grass pink orchid (Calopogon tuberosus). I purchased the bulbs from Meadowview last spring. I was wondering if they'd even survive the winter in my garage, but they did, although they were very slow to emerge this spring, and at one point I thought they likely perished. At one point I dug into the minibog where I thought one was planted, and sure enough, I found the bulb with a 1 cm shoot emerging from it. Of course, we will be out of town for nearly a week in early July, just when this guy should be in bloom. They do have a drawn out blooming period - 1 flower at a time - so I should be able to see some of them, hopefully.

Sarracenia 'Boob Tube' x open-pollinated
A rear shot of the pitcher of an open-pollinated 'Boob Tube'. This one is 3 yrs old now, from seed and sent up 2 flowers. The first one is already done, the 2nd has yet to open. I didn't get a pic of the first flower, but it was interesting. The petal color was pink, but the petals were tiny, no more than 1/2 inch long. I'm not sure if that's a genetic expression, or some environmental factor. I'll be keeping my eye on the next one.

Sarracenia 'Boob Tube' x open-pollinated
Here's another open-pollinated 'Boob Tube', a pod sibling to the previous plant. Roughly a similar shape, but this one has fully white areolae on the back of the pitcher, similar so Sarracenia minor, whereas the areolae on the previous one are stained pink.

Sarracenia (oreophila x willisii) x open-pollinated
Another 3 yr old from seed - an open-pollinated oreophila x willisii. This one has sent up some large pitchers this spring, but no flowers. The coloration is similar to its mom, but the pitchers look more like a pure S. oreophila. Here's a pic of the mother plant, taken last year in early June:
Sarracenia oreophila x 'willisii'

Sarracenia 'Ladies in Waiting' x open-pollinated
This is an open-pollinated 'Ladies In Waiting'. This one is sort of reminiscent of 'Ladies in Waiting', but with a slightly different hood shape and a little more subtle coloration. Here's a pic of mom:
Sarracenia x 'Ladies In Waiting'

Sarracenia minibogs
a group shot taken from ground level on my deck

Sarracenia purpurea  x flava
A shot of a minibog I just put together this year, with a bunch of purpurea hybrids that were struggling in the greenhouse. We were gone for 4 days this past week, and apparently we got a nice amount of rain, and I got this reminder that I forgot to drill some drainage holes in the tub.`

Sarracenia [(oreophila x flava) x leucophylla] x open-pollinated
Another open-pollinatd 3 yr old from seed, the mother plant being an (oreophila x flava) x leucophylla. This one has some really nice white coloration on it and I can't wait to see the late summer pitchers, well, maybe I can, because I don't want summer to end.

Sarracenia (oreophila x flava) x leucophylla
This is (oreophila x flava) x leucophylla, and is the mother plant of the previous plant. This one is in the process of opening up for dinner.

Sarracenia (leucophylla x purpurea) x 'Wilkerson's Red'
Sadly, I've lost probably 85% of the seedlings that would be entering their 2nd year now, due to the issues in the greenhouse I've previously mentioned. This is probably the most promising-looking of the survivors, although many are still in recovery mode. It's a mitchelliana x 'Wilkerson's Red', a cross by Wes Buckner.

Sarracenia (alata x flava) x open-pollinated
Another open-pollinated 3 year old from seed, the mother plant is alata x flava. I have at least 3 or 4 siblings from this seed pod, 2 turn a dark red color (this being one of them), the other 2 are a little different and I'm waiting for some decent pitchers to get some pictures. I still have the mother plant, but it has not been growing well for the past couple years and is just putting up seedling-size pitchers. It's in an older minibog that is in definite need of TLC. It was on my to-do list this spring, but I never got around to it. Here's a pic of mom from a few years ago:
Sarracenia alata x flava

Sarracenia x 'Bug Pipes'
Still have some flowers in bloom, and even a few that have yet to open, and I actually noticed one flower bud just beginning to emerge on one plant. Anyways, these are from a plant going by the name of "Bug Pipes", although I don't think it was ever officially registered. The plant originated from wild-collected seed (not by me - I don't know who, but it would've been many, many years ago), and it was collected from a Sarracenia minor. Subsequent growing of the seeds revealed that the flower the seeds came from had been cross-pollinated by a S. psittacina, based on the appearance of the pitchers. I originally obtained this plant in 2003, from David Crump in Charlotte, NC, while visiting his place. The plant died after the first or second Wisconsin winter, but I obtained another last year, and it rewarded me with 3 flowers this year.

Sarracenia purpurea x flava
An unknown hybrid, most likely purpurea x flava, received in a grab bag from Lois Ochs. This one has 3 of the probably 10000 of these beetles that go rampant in our backyard every summer. Man, I hate them. They chew up a lot of plants in our garden and they are putting on PDA's all the time. At least they leave the Sarracenia alone, only giving them an occasional meal.

Baptisia and Sarracenia
A big Baptisia shrub that grows in front of our back deck. It blooms when the Sarracenia are starting to wind down, and makes a nice composition. The hummingbirds seem to like it, although it's not what you normally consider to be a hummingbird plant. It's in the pea family. One of these days I would like to get a pic of the hummer feeding on it. I like to think it would be the only photo in existence to have a Baptisia, a hummingbird and a pitcher plant.

Sarracenia x 'Hummer's Okee Classic'
Lastly, a pic of a crane fly feeding on the nectar on a 'Hummer's Okee Classic'. From other pics I've seen of this plant, I really like it, but it seems every single pitcher this thing produces for me ends up misshapen in some way. I'm still waiting for a perfect pitcher.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

2011 Crosses

Flowering season is winding down and I've made a bunch of crosses this year. We're leaving on a 4-day trip tomorrow, and there are a few flowers that will probably be in their prime while we're gone, including a few that could yield some interesting crosses, like Judith Hindle, Dixie Lace & Bug Pipes, but I guess that's the way things go. However, I was able to do a bunch of them that, hopefully, yield some nice plants down the line. Here's the list, mom listed first:
-'Snowflake' x unknown (moorei?)
-(leucophylla x moorei) x 'Snowflake'
-(leucophylla x moorei) x 'Fireworks'
-(flava x ???) x 'Snowflake'
-'Fireworks' x oreophila
-'Snowflake' x 'Fireworks'
-'Snowflake' x oreophila
-(purpurea x jonesii antho-free) x 'Snowflake'
-oreophila x ((alata x flava) x OP)
-'Godzuki' x ((alata x flava) x OP)
-(minor x ???) x ((alata x flava) x OP)
-(leucophylla x moorei) x 'Godzuki'
-(oreophila x willisii) x (oreophila x purpurea)
-(oreophila x willisii) x 'Medusa'
-'Godzuki' x 'Medusa'
-((alata x flava) x OP) x 'Fireworks'
-'Lady Bug' x 'Red Sumatra'
-'Snowflake' x 'Red Sumatra'
-'Red Sumatra' x 'June Bug'
-'Fireworks' x (alabamensis x oreophila)
-((alata x flava) x OP) x 'Red Sumatra'
-(oreophila x purpurea) x ((alata x flava) x OP)
- moorei x ((alata x flava) x OP)
- ((oreophila x flava) x leucophylla) x ((alata x flava) x OP)
-'Lady Bug' x ((alata x flava) x OP)
-'Cobra Nest' x ((alata x flava) x OP)
-'Lady Bug' x moorei
-('Boob Tube' x OP) x 'Ladies In Waiting'
-'Gin Goblin' x 'Ladies In Waiting'
-(alata x leucophylla) x 'Ladies In Waiting'
-(purpurea x flava ornata) x (alata x leucophylla)
-'Mardi Gras' x (alata x leucophylla)
-moorei #2 x 'Ladies In Waiting'

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Flowers Up The You-Know-What

The pitcher plants are in full swing, as far as flowering goes. I'm probably around the halfway point, as far as number of flowers that have opened vs. the number that have yet to open. We had a few days of really hot (97F) weather, coupled with very strong sustained winds. I have no idea what kind of effect that is going to have on the crosses I did. It seems 3 days of strong, sustained winds would stir up a lot of the pollen in the flowers and lead to at least some self-pollination, if not cross-pollination. Oh well, I've still been out every day doing my own cross-pollinations. I'll post a complete list when all is said and done, and I'm probably at around 15 right now. Anyway, on to some flower pics:

Unknown Sarracenia hybrid
This is from an unknown hybrid I received from Lois Ochs a year ago, as part of a "grab bag". It is some kind of S. minor hybrid, and based on the flower color, I would guess it's something like S. minor x alata, although it could be something more complex than that. I pollinated it with an open-pollinated alata x flava, which produces mostly all-dark red pitchers.

Sarracenia x 'Fireworks'
These are flowers from 'Fireworks', which is also called 'White Sparkler'. I pollinated one of the flowers with S. oreophila. The other just opened today, so I haven't decided what to do with it yet. I've also used it to pollinate a leucophylla x (leucophylla x flava) and 'Snowflake'.

Sarracenia 'Snowflake'
Speaking of 'Snowflake', here are its flowers. I have 5 all together, with a couple yet to open, I will have a lot of 'Snowflake' crosses this year. Besides the cross with 'Fireworks', one flower was pollinated with an unknown (probably a moorei), and one with oreophila, and has been used as a pollen donor so far on leucophylla x (leucophylla x flava), an unknown flava hybrid, and an anthocyanin-free purpurea x jonesii.

Sarracenia oreophila x purpurea
This nice large pink flower is S. oreophila x purpurea. I've been excited to use this in some crosses, as it produces some very large, heavily veined pitchers. I have yet to pollinate it yet (i will starting tonight), but I've used it to pollinate an oreophila x 'willisii'.

Sarracenia (alata x flava) x open-pollinated
This is the open-pollinated alata x flava mentioned previously. This is flowering for the first time, at 3 yrs from seed. I also have a sibling of it that is about to open its flower. Both produce tall, all-red plants that turn nearly black after a few weeks in the sun. I'm excited to cross these too. The one that is open now has been pollinated by 'Fireworks', and used to pollinate oreophila, 'Godzuki', and the unknown minor hybrid shown above. I'm hoping to use its sibling in a cross with 'Red Sumatra' - that should produce some striking red-pitchered plants.

Sarracenia x 'Medusa'
This is S. x 'Medusa', a plant from Sarracenia Northwest. I have no idea what the parents of this plant could be, other than it does show some S. rubra characteristics - namely weak, floppy spring pitchers followed by stronger, upright late summer pitchers. I've used this to pollinate 'Godzuki' and oreophila x willisii, but never got around to pollinating it with anything. So it will be another open-pollination.

Sarracenia [leucophylla x (leucophylla x flava)] x open-pollinated
Lastly, this is another plant I raised from seed that is flowering for the first time, at 3 yrs of age. It is an open-pollinated leucophylla x moorei. The flower is kind of deformed for some reason, so I decided to not use it in any crosses, and we'll just see if it ends up with any seeds. It's not the greatest looking plant, mainly just tall green pitchers with slight colorations, but being seed-grown, it'll always have a place in my heart.

As I said earlier, the string of hot, windy weather really took a toll as far as watering is concerned. It kind of came out of nowhere and wasn't really forecasted until a day or two before it happened. We had a cool, wet spring, and I really hadn't had to water any of the minibogs at all until this week, and of course, I didn't stock up on water beforehand. So things really got dry, and I actually lost the flowers on 1 plant (BobZ hybrid H2), that was the only casualty though. Even now, the soil in all the minibogs are very dry, all live sphagnum has gone dormant, I've been able to basically just keep things moist enough to prevent wilting. What made things worse was a couple of nights of forecasted rain that didn't pan out. It's supposed to be a cold, rainy day tomorrow, which I'm actually hoping comes true, at least the rain part of it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

First Flower

It finally happened, about 3 weeks later than last year, the first blossom opened up on my garage-overwintered plants. It is a purpurea x flava, and it's the same plant that bloomed first last year, while I was in Canada, so I never got to see it last year. I thought it would've opened up sooner, but we had some pretty cool temps the past week, including a frost advisory on the night of May 26th, although we ended up not getting any frost. Unfortunately, there's nothing to cross it with. There's a few more that are probably a few days away from opening, one of which may be a duplicate of this one. Another week or so and there should be dozens opened. I don't think I'll save any of the pollen from this one though. It's not exactly the prettiest plant, the only trait that may be desirable is its large pitcher size.

Sarracenia purpurea x flava

In other news, I moved all of the plants from the greenhouse back home, but most were/are in pretty bad shape. Besides the misting of hard tap water and the uneven table they were sitting on, which led to some plants being probably too saturated with water, while others were too dry, there is also a recurrence of an insect problem. I noticed some aphids, but there is a lot of mealy bugs. I ended up throwing a bunch more away, they were already dead, and time will tell how many end up surviving. Hopefully most!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mid-May 2011

Took some pictures last night of the minibogs in the backyard.
Sarracenia leucophylla 'Hurricane Creek White'
This is S. leucophylla 'Hurricane Creek White' showing some new growth. This is the one plant I thought may have not survived the winter. It did have some kind of saprophytic fungi on it when I moved the plants outside. You can see some dark coloration on some of last years leaves, which is what remains of that assault. Obviously, the plant survived though.

Drosera filiformis
Here is some Drosera filiformis coming out of dormancy. This species seems to have no trouble surviving the winters up here in WI. I get more and more every year, and I've never purchased one before. I must've originally got one as a hitchhiker, and it has slowly spread by seeds around most of my minibogs. I'm not complaining!

Sarracenia oreophila
S. oreophila. It kind of appears to be two separate plants, but it is one. Just a lg. branched rhizome. As the literature will tell you, they are pretty cold hardy, and this is probably one of the older plants I currently have. Totally unfazed by the growing conditions here.

Sarracenia purpurea x jonesii - anthocyanin-free
An anthocyanin-free purpurea x jonesii, with a flower bud and emerging pitcher. This is the first year this plant has bloomed for me, although it too is one of my older plants. It is in an individual pot, not a minibog, so it must be pretty cold-hardy as well.

Sarracenia 'Snowflake'
S. 'Snowflake'. This plant was purchased last spring from Meadowview, and in a testament to the quality of their plants, it has 5 flower buds on it this year, the most of any of my plants.

Sarracenia  unknown hybrid
An unknown hybrid, one of a series of unknowns from Bob Ziemer. This one was given the codename of H12 by him, and may be an S. oreophila, or a hybrid with it. This particular plant was received from Robert Co last spring and did not produce a flower this year, but it has sent up a nice crop of early pitchers.

Sarracenia 'Gin Goblin'
This is S. 'Gin Goblin'. I have 2 of these. They were released by California Carnivores and is a cross of (rubra x oreophila) x 'Adrian Slack'. They are seed grown, so all are different, and the two I have are certainly very different from each other. This one was planted in a minibog last spring and is flowering this year. My other one is still in its original pot and did/will not flower this year. An interesting note on this one, if you look at the pitchers of this one, you would swear that S. purpurea is mixed in with it. I sent an email to Peter D'amato, of CA Carnivores, and he replied that 'Adrian Slack' may actually have some S. purpurea in its heritage, although there's no way to really know. So either it does, or this particular plant was mislabeled or something. Here's a pic of the plant from last summer:
Sarracenia x "Gin Goblin"

Unknown Sarracenia hybrid
This is the flower bud on another of Bob Ziemer's unknowns, H6. This one appears to be some kind of S. flava hybrid, maybe a flava x (flava x ???) type. You can see his "H-series" at this URL:

Sarracenia 'Boob Tube' x open-pollinated
This is a 3-yr-old open-pollinated "Boob Tube". This is one of a few of my own seed-grown plants that are flowering for the first time this year. I posted previously on an open-pollinated alata x flava hybrid that flowered last fall, at about 30 months of age. That plant too has sent up a flower stalk this spring, as well as one of its siblings. So this group is the first set of plants that I've raised from seed to flowering size, at 3 yrs old. Thank the regular foliar application of a Miracid solution the first 2 years of growth.

Drosera rotundifolia
Here's another sundew, Drosera rotundifolia (i think). I have never purchased a sundew in my life (not counting the carnivorous plant kit I purchased in the 1980's, none of which survived very long!), so this was another hitchhiker that has made itself at home. I blame California Carnivores, well not really, but it seems a lot of plants purchased from them have hitchhikers. Once again, I'm not complaining.

Sarracenia (leucophylla x (leucophylla x flava)) x open-pollinated
Here is another 3-year-old plant I raised from seed, flowering for the first time. The label has totally faded away, so I'm not 100% sure what it is, but I'm about 95% sure it is an open-pollinated leucophylla x (leucophylla x flava), the mother plant originally purchased from Cook's Carnivorous Plants back around, say, 2001. It's still alive too, and actually is blooming again this year, for the first time since these seeds were harvested. If I remember correctly, it had some really nice pink flowers. I'll find out in about a week or so.

Sweet White Violet (Viola blanda)
This is a plant that I'm pretty sure is called "sweet white violet", or Viola blanda. I don't know if this was a hitchhiker, or the seed was present in the bales of peat moss I've purchased over the years, but this plant has spread everywhere and is pretty difficult to eradicate. It eventually forms these underground runners and just spreads everywhere. It seems to do no harm, but I have my reservations.

Bog Rosemary (Andromeda glaucophylla)
This is bog rosemary, a plant native to bogs in Wisconsin, and elsewhere I presume. I purchased this from a garden center last spring and, obviously, it seems to be doing fine in this minibog so far. I still wonder if that garden center propagates these or digs them up. I've never seen them for sale anywhere else.

Sarracenia purpurea x flava
Lastly, this is a flower bud on a purpurea x flava hybrid. This looks like it'll be the first to bloom this year, and it was last year. I have several purpurea x flava hybrids, but there are two that look identical. This is one of them. I received one from California Carnivores many years ago, in a "fancy Sarracenia hybrid collection". The other I received from Lois Ochs 2 years ago, and I think she used to work there. The pitchers definitely look identical, and they are both going to flower this year, so we'll see. I guess there's no way to know for sure without some DNA testing.