Interesting flowering Season

For those folks that are familiar with Sarracenia, you know they bloom in a particular order. This staggering of peak flowering times help to reduce hybridization in nature.  That said, we can still find many natural hybrids in the wild due to flowering time overlap.

S. flava tends to be first in flower, shortly followed by purpurea… hence there is a decent chance for flava x purpurea hybrids to be found… however a species like psittacina is one of the last to bloom, so a naturally occurring psitt x flava hybrid is extemely rare (though has been found in Bay Co. Florida).  While psitt x minor hybrids are quite common as these two species tend to bloom close to each other.

As far as flowering goes… this season has been interesting here in zone6b.  The first few weeks of May were quite warm and flava and purpurea came into flower quite rapidly. Then things cooled down… these early flowers held on longer than normal due to those cool temperatures.  Then things warmed a bit and then all the other species started to bloom. So this year, all species of Sarracenia were in bloom at the same time! except psittacina and minor… however they were close.

Flowering is almost done now…. but it was very colorful while it lasted. Here a couple of photos from a couple of weeks ago.

CJM

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Slow…

So I don’t have any photos to post… cause honestly, nothing is really happening.

As I mentioned, we had a very mild winter, with very little snow and even less cold.  It was indeed a nice treat!  It was so mild infact, that a fig tree that we have planted at the school where I teach suffered NO freeze damage at all! All the leaf buds are growing!  We didn’t wrap or protect the tree in anyway this year! Usually unprotected, it dies to the ground and has to regrow from the roots.

We had a very warm April and things started moving like crazy!  Trees and plants all leafing out a couple of weeks early… maybe even three weeks earlier than normal.  Then… it got cool… Its like May and April flipped here!  Not just here… but most of eastern North America from what I understand.

So… things have been moving super slowly for the last couple of weeks.  I really figured that by now, some of my flavas would be blooming… but they still look to be a couple of weeks away.

The good news is, although its been cool, we’ve had no frosts here, though areas around us and away from the Great Lakes did. So although our spring has been set back some, the plants have not had to deal with any damage from the cold.

The 10 day forecast is promising with some warmer temperatures on the way. Maybe we can once and for all say good bye to the cold!

CJM

 

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It’s spring… minus the snow storm last week!

So that was awesome! Probably one of the easiest winters we’ve ever seen here in Niagara. Very, very mild overall, but the best part… almost no snow. It seams everywhere around us had normal snowfall this winter, but us… no so much. Lots of rain because of the mild temperatures and when it did snow it seemed to miss us!  Well our luck ran out last week. We got about 50cm of snow over a two day period, bringing to an end a nice snowless mild spell.  Good thing is it got warm acouple of days after and its all melted now.

Last evening we were out it was 18C today, we can’t get above 4C, however, I think this is the last really cool weather…  the ten day forecast calls for more “normal” temps for this time of year, which means that Winter is done!!!

That said, when it looks like we are in for spring weather, its time to uncover the old bogs.  Its important to get the cover off before it starts getting too warm… you don’t want things starting to grow or the warmth and dampness to be caught in the needles which will cause mold or fungas growth, you want to get these guys open to the fresh air as soon as possible.  There are no freezing temps at night in the upcoming forecast but even if there were, I’m not worried. The plants are still fully dormant and quite able to handle it. At this point even a freak snow is not an issue.

As you can see in the photo, I didn’t really clean things up… I just roughly removed the pine needles. There are still plenty that need to be removed, but at least the air is flowing now.  In the next couple of weeks, I will be giving the bogs a clean out, but for now… I just want to get them opened up. The other thing too is that the sun is strong now… and you want the plants that have phylodia or the everygreen types like psittacina, purpurea and minor to start photosynthesizing… you can’t do that buried in pine needles!

As you many of you know… I started a zone6b facebook group…  called… yep you guessed it, zone6b!  so if you’re on Facebook and want to join in, just search it up.  Lots of great photos and discussion between other cold climate growers… so far we have 75 members… and we’re growing!

With this official un-needling of the bogs, its officially the 2017 growing season! 🙂  I hope everyone has a great season.

CJM

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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.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1811805395749274/

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

CJM

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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.

spirianthese

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.

gentian

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.

bogcover

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.

bog

Happy winter.

CJM

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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!

CJM

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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.

CJM

 

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.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/975794749215633/

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