Welcome 2017

Well folks another year is upon us… and I’ve decided to make some changes here in Zone6b.  Last year I was talking about transitioning from WordPress over to Facebook.  However, after thinking long and hard about it… well actually not really long or hard, I’ve decided to do both.

There is a lot of information here that I’ve been posting over the years and the feedback I’ve been getting is the information is a valuable resource, especially to folks thinking of moving their plants outdoors.  At the same time… having a FB Group allows for people to quickly and easily share photographs and best practices and share experiences with other growers. WordPress is a more one way communication, me to you… where FB is open communication between everyone!  Both platforms have their merrits and both I think are worth maintaining.

That said, I will continue to post here on my blog this year as well as share photos and information on my FB group.

If you search up Zone6b on FB you should find the group, failing that, here is direct link.


I hope that those of you who have subscribed here will also join my FB group. Happy 2017!


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Wrapping up 2016

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.


Happy winter.


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Moving forward? Now what?

Well… it has really been a long time since I’ve posted anything here… I feel badly, but its been a busy year… and it always seems when things get busy, the “non-essentials” in your day to day are the first to be over looked… I guess trying to post regularly as been deemed a “non-essential”and therefore has been overlooked.

I have to be honest, I’m finding the process is getting cumbersome and feeling more like a burden these days.  I have take photos on my phone, email them to myself, download them to my computer, then upload to wordpress… ARGH… admittedly, that sounds very lazy of me, I get it!, but with life being a busier place these days I’m thinking I might have to move over to social media and start a ZONE6B Facebook group. Uploading photos is a snap, and posting will be much easier and can be more impromptu. I may have to take a serious look at that over the winter months.  If I decide on that course of action, I will certainly make a number of posts here and let those of you who have been following me here know in plenty of time.

Now after saying that… I’d be interested in peoples opinions on that.  Do you like that idea, or should I just get off my a$$ and make a better effort to post stuff here!


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A FB Group for Cold Climate Growers

Hey Folks… nothing is better for us “cold climate” growers than being able to share experiences and best practices.  I got this note in my comment section, but wanted to make a post and make this link available.



Hello your blog has been a great inspiration for me thank you. If your interested I started a Facebook group for the more northern growers. Here’s the link, feel free to share also if you would like.


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So here we are… early July.  Everything is growing amazingly well this season.  The big divide and cleanup has certainly made a difference on the plants.  As far as maintenence goes, I’ve clipped off all the flowers… Since I didn’t make any hybrids this year, there is no sense burdening the plants with the task of making seeds.

In all the literature, they talk about issues about using “tap water” to water CP.  Well, we’ll have to see how much of a negative effect that will have on my plants.  It has been HOT and DRY here this year.  Very little snow over the winter and very little rain… Without a checking and adding up the numbers, we’ve had about 10cms of rain (if that) since April. Because of that, I’ve been watering my bogs exclusively with tap water.  There is thunderstorms in the forecast for the next few days… but they are only due to daytime heating and humidity, so they can fire up pretty much anywhere… So here’s hoping!


I love flytraps… and they are incredible this year.  I should have put something in the shot for scale, but these traps are all 25-35 mm in since!  AMAZING!  It never ceases to amaze me how well these plants do here in this climate!

I remember a teacher I had in Grade 5 (a long time ago in a classroom far far away…) telling me that he swears he saw venus flytraps growing in a relic bog near here when he was out hiking.  I remember telling him how absurd that was (likely didn’t use absurd, I was 10). First, I told him, they only grew in the coastal regions of the Carolinas and two, its WAY TO COLD HERE!  Well, point two is now mute, but as for point 1, its possible someone outplanted some… who knows!?


I’ve posted about the above plant a few times now.  Its an AF hybrid I made of AF courtii x AF mitcheliana some years back.  Clearly the purpurea parentage has shown dominance… Its not the most attractive thing, but for some reason I keep hoping that its going to do something to impress me.  You can see a white fringe on the leaf in the foreground… maybe in the fall it’ll do something!!!!




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Hands down this has to be my favorite Sarracenia flava EVER!


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37 to 37 in 12!


Let me explain the title… 12 days ago, the low temperature for that night was 37F. There were spots that morning with snow flurries! That was May 16th.  Granted it got up into the high teens (C) that day, but it started of cold. Since then, the last half of May has been exceptionally warm… we hit 37C (98F) this afternoon, crushing the previous record of 28C (83F) back in May of 1991, but since that cold morning 12 days ago, we’ve been very mild for May…

A couple of weeks ago, there really wasn’t much to report on out in the bogs, today I can say the spring show is in full swing!


The flytraps have been growing like crazy… and I don’t know if you can see the tall thin green leaves springing up in spots… I think those are calopogon orchids. I sprinkled seed in there a few years back… this year they are going to flower for the first time!


This is S.x waccamaw.  Look at the deep red color of the pitchers already!  This will be something else I’ll have to follow as the season moves on!


Here is one of the only purpurea ssp purpurea that do well for me.  This one is native to Delaware in the USA. Purpurea from more northern latitudes don’t seem to handle the summer heat here and pooch out… This plant on the other hand does very well.  One of my favorites.


Sarracenia oreophila is another favorite.  This plant pitchers before it flowers, like S. minor. Never was quite sure why.  My guess is that they have a very short growing season, so the pitchers open first to get an early start on eating… before the flowers attract them away from the leaves!


Not what hybrid this is off hand… I suppose I should have checked the tag… beautiful colored flowers through.

And finally (sorry for the bad photo) is a new hybrid to my collection that I made myself last year.  This is an AF catesbaei.  The female parent was the AF purpurea venosa plant and the male was from the SW Georgia AF flava.  The purpurea is quite vigorous of a grower and the flava is quite weak… it produce only 2 or 3 pitchers a season and they are only 30-40 cms in size. So I’m hoping this plant will get the vigor of the mom!

I have a bunch of them… so I’ll grow them out and see which clone(s) is best. This will an amazing contrast to a catesbaei that I’ve posted about here that I made with the pure red Blackwater flava and a pure red NC purpurea venosa.


I hope all you outdoor growers have a great season!


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