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.

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