What a Day!


I can’t believe it… its the middle of November and we were basking in full sun and beautiful temps of 14C.  The El Nino forecast is certainly holding… they said a mild autumn.. and so far, its been that way.  Many of the plants are still looking pretty good!


Hey remember that after I re did the bogs this summer I decided to mulch them.   BAD idea!  That beautiful layer of pine bark mulch translated into fall time squirrel bait!  They come in droves from every yard in the neighborhood to bury their nuts in my light fluffy bog soil!  I swear they put up a sign “Easy to dig soil in this guys yard!”  As you can see in the photos above, the peat sand media is exposed and “rotortilled” into the mulch compliments of the squirrel army.  I’m sure I’ve lost of plants or seedlings or drosera or something… Some spots were a real mess!

Anyway, with such a great day, it gave me the opportunity to get all the autumn outdoor cleanup done and a final grass cut to boot!  Of course, that meant getting a good start into cleanup up the bogs.

Todays task was to cleanup all the leaves in the bog gardens.  I used the leaf blower to blow out the loose stuff, then used the the leaf sucker, to suck up what ever else was left, and finally, used my hands to remove anything else I could find.  So why worry!  They’re just leaves right!?  Well, there are a few things that are a problem… decaying deciduous tree leaves are not a good thing for an outdoor bog garden, it generally raises the the ph of the soil and as the leaves break down , they adds nutrient to the soil. Not to mention when they get all wet and compressed, they promote rot and mold! and don’t let air reach the plants… so as a rule, I try to remove as many leaves as possible before putting my plants to bed for the winter.

Notice the pitchers are still on the plants.  That’s the way they are staying for the winter.  In previous posts, I’ve talked about my experiments cutting them to the ground, cutting them halfway and leaving them… as it turns out, leaving the leaves on has been the best choice for maintaining the health of the plants.  Those bits of decaying bugs in the leaves, and the chlorophyl that is in the leaves gives the plant a good boost into growth in early spring.  As the new strong pitchers take over, I will cut off the old growth!


So, with the impending winter in mind, I’ve got 5 bales of pine needles coming next week.  I likely won’t be using them for a bit..  like I’ve said many times… as long as the temperatures are generally above freezing during the day, I like to keep the plants exposed to light and open air as long as possible before covering them up for winter.  The way thing are looking at this point, that will still be a few weeks away or more.


Here is a quick view of the Flytrap garden.  As you can see, its had a few frosts hit it, and an army of squirrels rooting around. I’m thinking that this is going to need a replant in the next couple of years.

As has become a custom as the end of the bloggin season draws near, I post a picture of the last flowers of the season.  Gentiana autumnalis starts blooming for me in the middle of October and continues until a good hard freeze.  This year I’m especially happy to see this flower bloom.  During my bog re-do, I dug them all up and moved them around.   At the time, I wasn’t sure if any of them survived the transplant, clearly, this one did :-)

The color is bit off… outside today, the flower is pure blue!



Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Bed-Time is Coming Soon


Well I woke to my first roof frost of the season this morning, and a chilly 2C… Not far from me there are bands of lake effect snow falling!  It will certainly not last… as you can see on the graphic, Monday is suppose to reach 13C and Tuesday up to 16C, but today is just a taste of what’s to come in the not too distant future.  It’s time to start thinking about getting the ol’ bogs ready for winter!

In the next few weeks, I’m getting some pine needless for my bogs.  Like always, come the middle to end of November (or later depeding on weather) I plan to cover my bogs with 10-20cm of pine straw.  A side note: My friend around the corner… didn’t cover his outdoor bogs with ANYTHING last winter and his plants faired just fine!  It was the COLDEST February on record for these parts! The key however was the snow cover!  We had a good snow cover! This winter might not be so cooperative in the snow department.

This winter, we are expecting an strong El Nino. Its supposed to last the winter and into the spring… what does that mean for us? temperature are supposed to be significantly above average… andat the same time significantly less precipitation.  This means temperatures could fluctuate above and below freezing a lot.  With little snow… this might be an issue… so erring on the side of caution, I’m going to cover my bogs with the needles.  The pine needs don’t really “insulate” like snow does, however, it does keep the sun of the surfaceof the bogs and off the plants, stopping the plants from warming!  That’s good in mid-late winter if there is no snow and bright sun.  Keeping the sun out, keeps the bogs frozen, so if we do get a mild winter, it will buffer the effect of wild temperature fluctuations. But the most important thing the straw does is stop the cold drying winds from “freeze drying” the plants when there is no snow cover!

While on the topic of pine straw, I have people ask me if they should cover their bogs with pine needles or not.  It really depends on what your winter conditions are like. If you live somewhere, where you’re guaranteed a snow cover all winter, I wouldn’t worry about it, but if you live in a place where the winter temps fluctuate above and below freezing and snow cover isn’t a guarantee… its a good idea.


Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Before… After!

Well its been a while since I’ve posted anything here.  Sorry for that!

My bog “repotting” was a success!  After many hours of work, I was able to replace the top 12 or so centimeters of media and mix the new stuff in with some of deeper soil.  Each plant (clump) was removed, divided and a portion of it replanted.  Many thanks to all the people who purchased up most of my extras!  I hope they all found good homes and do well for you.  The best thing! This will last me for another four or so years!!!

Here is what the first bog looked like before…


And here is the same bog after the replant.  Its been a slow recovery, but all in all everything is looking good.  If you notice, I top dressed the surface with shredded, natural, cedar bark. Hopefully this will help keep the weeds down.


I didn’t take before and after photos of the other bogs… pretty much the same story.

Here are just a few random shots of some of the fall foilage.  This first one is an AF version of the cultivar bug scoop.


Here is my DCXL apparenlty both of these are DCXL from tissue culture, they’re both big, but the coloration is different.  Not sure how they could be clones?

dcxl alata afbugschoop redcat purp leuco hummer


Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Another Guest Bog!

So I visited a friend and a fellow Niagara Falls Sarracenia grower the other day to see his bog garden… As you can see in the photos, its quite large and uses the same contruction method I used pretty much.  You can see the drains that are installed to remove excess water after heavy rains.

Although he had some plants in there, he needed many more to fill it up, so after visiting my plants sale this summer, he has offically a full bog garden… This is going to look amazing in the years to come.  He has also muched it, as did this year.  I’m hoping this significantly reduce the weeding.


Here is another view


His back yard is very nicely landscaped and boasts a beautiful water feature, a natural place to add a bog garden.  He plans to build another bog in a different location in his yard.



Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Guest Bog Blog

A friend in Montreal sent me some photos of his outdoor setup.  According to Pascal, he lives in Zone 5b and he endured temperatures around -30C all winter.  Intead of mulching this year, he decided to pile snow on his bogs.  He lost a few plants but not many.  He also noted that it was a slow start this year, cold and a lot of rain.

As you can see, his plants look to be doing well!

bog1 bog2


Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Bog Number 2 – DONE!

Another couple days of hard work… but I cleand out the my second bog garden.  Again, big shout out to Dad who again, offered tremendous moral support, bagging skills, tag making and cataloging skills!

So here is the before photos of Bogs 2 & 3.  Densely overgrown… well actually a downright mess.  Many of the plants were not getting adequate light burried beneath masses of flava and other tall species.


Below is bog2 finished… and you can see bog3 in the background being strip mined of all vegetation. Oh, that red flava looking thing you see in bog3 is a flava ornata x flava atropurea cross.  Amazing plant gets all red, with even redder (if that’s a word) veining! Really cool!


Here is a better photo of the plant removal process. Some of the clumps of oreophila were 40 – 50 cms across!  Hence the shovel!


As you can see there is lot of weeds that need to be removed.  As with bog2, I removed about 15cm of media.  Again, I dug to the bottom, and the media smelled fresh all the way down… so I’m thinking I can easily wait 5 years or maybe even 6 before I do this again!

I imagine the reason the media is so fresh is that I don’t keep these bogs sopping wet.  You can see the drainage spouts that are about 10cms down, this drains any excess water from heavy rains… however, I don’t water these bogs very often if at all.  The soil remains moist but not waterlogged! I really think one of the biggest issues with new growers is they like to keep the plants too wet! The roots need air people! Too wet and they drown! Anyway, I get side tracked.

The plants removed!


So once the top media was removed… three bags of silica sand and 2 bales of peat moss were added and mixed into the old media, raked out and is now ready for replanting.


Now at this point, I learned a bit of lesson. It would have been better to wet the peat/sand at this point… granted it was somewhat damp as I mixed it into the wet stuff… but because it was mostly dry, I had to water it, and water it, over and over to get the media moist after I planted it

So here is the finished product.


and the same photo as the opening photo in this post, but of the bogs cleaned up


I know… it looks like crap… leaves mangled and laying all over!  However, I think it important to leave the leaves (leave the leaves! – english is weird) on as they provide photosynthesis and food for the plant as it establishes.  Once new leaves are produced, I will go through and clean these up!

The last step is to mulch!  One to help keep in moisture in the heat of summer, but two, to help keep weeds at bay.  So I’m going to pickup some UNTREATED cedar mulch… no colors, not composted, nothing… just plain old cedar mulch.  I will spread this over the surface of the bogs.

Oh and just for fun, I took a photo of my flytrap bog in flower!



Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

It’s Time for a Change

THIS IS NOT A NEW POST! I just reposted it as a blog entry! Somehow I posted it as a new a page that showed up on my site! Not sure how to move it, so I just copied and reposted! – Sorry

Ok…Well I’m officially a “BAD BLOGGER”. I can’t remember how longs its been since I posted anything… I’m pretty sure its been over a month. My spring flowering show was beautiful as always and there were no losses of Sarracenia… considering the super cold winter… that’s great news. Some plants were set back, especially purpurea var burkii (S. rosea) and my leuco’s, but they are all coming back. As you can see things are growing strong!


As I mentioned, this is the year that I’m going to change the soil. It is going to be a huge undertaking, but it needs to be done. Since I will have all the plants removed, it will be good time to divide, thin out and clean the plants before they replanted.

I’m planning on tackling one bog at a time and will document each step of the way. I’m hoping to start tomorrow, but they are calling for storms, so I’m not sure if the weather is planning on cooperating… in the meantime, I’ve got my supplies. I also picked up a pile of plastic bags and pot tags.


I’ve got 6-100 pound bags of silica sand and 6 bales of peat moss. Not sure how much I need to do this job, but I should have enough to do hopefully two bogs with what I’ve purchased already. I’m not planning on replacing all the soil, but rather removing the top 15 or so cms (6 inches) and mixing in new peat to refill the bog garden…but more on that as the project progresses.


Hopefully tomorrow I will get started.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment