2014 in review

This summary is really cool… The best thing is my MOM got the award for the most comments!  Thanks Mom!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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All Good Things Must Come to an End

It’s December 27,  the year is almost over. I can’t complain about how 2014 is going out!  Forecasting 10C (50F) today, Christmas eve it was 13C (56F), in fact, other than a couple early snows… December has been quite mild and snow-less. Not bad for these parts! After this weekend however, we are getting back to more seasonal temperatures and before long, “real” winter will be here.  Who knows… maybe after last years horribly cold snowy winter, the “big guy” will have mercy and give us a mild, less snowy winter this time around!

On the plant front, I’m looking forward to next season.  If things go as planned, I’m hoping to redo a bog or two.  By that I mean, dig up and divide/clean all the plants, pull out the majority of the soil, and replace it with fresh new peat/sand.  It’s kinda like repotting a plant but on a much bigger scale!

In the meantime, I want to thank everyone who has continued to read my blog, and hope more than anything that it has been helpful and inspirational to people who live in colder climates who want to grow their Sarracenia and other hardy Carnivores outdoors!

I wish everyone health and happiness in 2015… may it be a great year!

CJM

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It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy

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I was just looking a the the 8-14 day forecast and it looks like we’re going to be warmer than normal for the next few weeks… considering that November was on average one of the coldest on record, I’ll take it!

Sadly this is a double edged sword. I’m not the biggest fan… who am kidding… I really don’t like winter.  So milder temps get my happy glands going this time of year.  However,  in this area, winter temperatures can swing drastically. Mild temperatures mean, no snow and with no snow, no “winter blanket” on the plants.  So should the temperatures drop drastically,  there is nothing to keep the plants “warm”.

With any luck, it will snow before the temperatures get really cold!

CJM

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Up, Down All Around!

LOCAL SNOWVEMBER AERIAL GEE

I suppose by now everyone has heard about the record snowfall south of me in Buffalo NY. Its incredible to think that some folks got over 7 feet of snow in a few days!  Here in Niagara Falls, we got 6 inches! (That pic above is from Buffalo!)

Anyway, its been a temperature roller coaster around here, record cold temperatures all over north america a few days back and today, we’re sitting at 16C (61 F)… the 6 inches we got is long gone!

On the weekend it warmed up, so I figured I’d take advantage of that and put my plants to bed for the season before before we more snow!

This year I decided to go middle of the road in terms of cutting the plants back.  A couple years ago, I weed whacked them all to the ground, and realized that doing that set the plants back in the spring… so last year I left all the leaves and even with the bad winter they did very well… This year, I got the weed whacker out and cut them down to about 8 inches. This way the plants that really don’t like be cut back to nothing, like purpurea and psittacina are not impacted by the cutting, even most of the phylodia producing plants still have most of their phylodia.

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After the blowing out the excess debris and oak leaves… I gave them their winter blanket of pine needles.  Not really sure what sort of protection these are going to afford anyway, its a very thin layer. I was hoping to buy some more this year, but I was informed by the place that I purchase them that they were out of stock and wouldn’t have any more till spring.

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And so ends the 2014 growing season.  Once again its been a great year.

Next year will bring a new experience for me… changing the soil in the bogs.  I think its been 4 years now since I put these bogs in. The peat slowly breaks down over time, and eventually becomes toxic to the plants.  Like potted plants need new media from time to time, bog gardens too need to have their soils refreshed. So I think next spring, I’m going to change out the soil!

This is also good opportunity to divide plants up and thin them out.  I have found when plants get too clumped, their vigor slows…   The other thing is that this will give me an opportunity to re-catalog my collection, something that is long over due.

I’m hoping my friend in the southern hemisphere will send me photos from time to time so I can post them here to give us northern hemisphere dwellers something to look at while our plants are sleeping!

CJM

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I hear a “clinically obese female vocalizing!”

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I figured in this ever increasingly PC world, I should rephrase the ‘ol statement.. “it ain’t over till the fat lady sings”.

Well, she sung!  We’ve had two nights with some good freezes, down to -2C (28F) and the days have been equally cold… just above freezing.  So anything that was still looking decent a few days ago is no longer.  The 2014 Sarracenia season is officially done for me here in zone6b.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be getting the bogs ready for winter.    I will be posting on the progress.

CJM

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Still hanging in there! At least some of them.

Here we are into November… we’ve only had one “actual freeze” where the temperature fell below the 0C (32F) and that was enough to bring the season pretty to an end.  But what a great season it was.  As I must have said 100 times by now, that added amount of sunlight made such a difference to the growth and color.  Not that they didn’t look good before, they did!!! But this years, they looked awesome!

Here are few pictures taken today.  Many have the pitchers are showing freeze damage, yet others are still looking pretty nice.

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The gentiana autumnalis is still blooming thought!

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The plant on the left is one of my “experiments”.  One parent was an AF courtii (psit x purpurea) and the other was an AF mitchelianna (purp x leuco). The hope was to get a purpy looking thing, which it is, but with a lot more white in the upper pitchers!  Maybe I’ll move it to a more open area next season and see how it does.

 

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The leucophylla is still looking good, and this little “pinkish” mitcheliana is still hangin in there.

 

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It time to start thinking about getting the ‘ol bogs ready for winter!  I will likely be tackling that in the next little while… my hope is to have them all prepared and ready to covered with pine needles by the end of the month.

CJM

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It’s Still Nice !

So here we are, nearing the end of October.  No real hard frosts and none forecast anytime soon.  My Sarracenia are still sending up new pitchers and looking better this fall then I can remember in recent times.  So far today we’ve reached 16C (61F) and it might even hit 21C (70F) by early next week.  Certainly above normal temps for this time of the year.

I just came in from drinking an espresso, sitting on the back patio (in my shorts). While I was out there I was enjoying my plants and realized that I had learned a few things this growing season.

First, the most important thing for strong healthy Sarracenia is light… the more the better. I knew that but seeing is believing. I’ve always thought my plants have looked great… but I can’t believe how much stronger and more robust my plants are this fall, given the crappy start this spring after a brutal winter. The pitcher are larger and a lot more colorful.  So if you’re growing your Sarracenia outdoors… the sunniest place you can find is the best.

Second, these plant are hardier than I even thought!  I’ve been growing ALL my Sarracenia outdoors now since I started this blog!  I’d have to check, four years maybe.  I’ve always known these plants could take the cold, but they were crushed this past winter. However, many that at thought had died were are actually fine!  Its fair to say that some plants were seriously set back, but since have made a full recovery!  I know a couple of plants that I threw in composter this spring were likely alive and well… just very set back.  So I learned, if you question the health of a plant, wait until early summer before you dig it up and compost it.. the plants may be regrowing a root system and re-establishing!

Finally, I traditionally post a particular photo at the end of the season.  Gentiana autumnalis.  I was worried that given the slow start to our season this year, this plant wouldn’t get a chance to flower.  It is literally the last flower I see before winter sets in.  Its a beautiful blue!  They actually started blooming a week ago, but are in full flower now, and will continue this way until we get hard frost.

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