As I said in my last post, its been a while… so I’d like to highlight a few things before I sign off for the winter months. I got a couple of new “non carnivorous” plants in my bogs this year. I can’t say enough on how nice it is to have companion plants in the bog gardens… a fellow cp grower on the east coast set me up with a new bog orchid.
Spiranthes odorata. I’m pretty sure that’s the genus. Anyway, why is this plant so cool, because it blooms at the VERY end of the season. Mine came into bloom late in October and continued to bloom into December! Along with the white “candle stick” of flowers, my favorite fall time bloomer was flowering as well Gentiana autumnalis. This one is “new” one… kinda, its a bluer form of the plant than the ones I had previously. Its really a beautiful blue color and this photo doesn’t do it justice. Again, it blooms all thought late October and November… Always so nice to see as the season comes to a close.
So, finally as mid December approaches its time, like every year to put the bogs to bed.
This year I took the “weed whacker” and cut everything down to about 20cm’s high. I know in the past I’ve said that cutting things down with the weed whacker is a bad idea, and it is if you cut plants down to the crowns. Looking at the aftermath, I’m thinking that left enough phylodia on the plants that need them, and left all the leaves on the “everygreens” like psittacina and purpurea that really need to have their leaves left on them. Remember, these leaves photosynthesize in the early spring… without them, the plants get a really weak start, so its important to leave them on. Also plants that have psittacina and purpurea in them as hybrids benefit from not being cut to the ground as well.
Now comes the pine needles. I have always covered my bogs with pine needles since I first moved my collection from the greenhouse to fully outdoor cultivation.
The first year I moved the plants outdoors, I was very nervous. After all this is Niagara Falls, Ontario (Canada), not Apalachicola Florida (USA)! It gets cold here and the ground freezes solid down at least 20cm and some winters 30-40cm. Daytime highs in January – Februrary can be down right bitter and nights can dip into the low -20C for days at a time. But even in more milder winters… its still much much colder than where you find these plants in the wild. So I covered my bogs with a thick 30cm layer of pine needles. Each year, that layer seems to get thinner and thinner… and I haven’t noticed any serious issues with overwintering.
This years pine needles a only forming a thin cover, pretty much resting on the cut down plants. Remember the main reason for these in my estimation is to stop the cold and drying winds from blowing over the surface of the bog and freeze drying everything! That said, my friend around the corner left his outdoor bogs completely uncovered and they did fine last winter… so I’m begining to wonder if all this work in needed! I know it seems crazy, all species of Sarracenia living outdoors in a zone6b climate completely unprotected! Again more food for thought. Maybe a layer of burlap over the bogs and a windscreen around them… or just a burlap over them… In any case, I’d be interested in hearing peoples experiences and their outdoor wintering methods. I guess more specifically, people who use minimual protection on their outdoor cultivation!
In the meantime… I’ve put my pineneedles on the bogs and layed them to rest for another season. I wish everyone a joyous and happy holiday season, and all the best in 2017.