State of the State (and an Update)

I could tell it would be hot and humid today just by looking at the morning sky. Could smell a slight dampness in the air, too. Parts of California will be seeing triple digit numbers this weekend; however, they’re only forecasting 90° here. Except for around Los Angeles and San Diego, California is in an extreme state of drought. We all seem to be cutting back on our water usage but then again, we’ve become used to it. Driving around the neighborhoods I see brown lawns AND yards that have been (smartly) planted with drought-tolerant plants. It’s too late to re-scape now because even “drought-tolerant” plants need regular, deep watering to help them get established. Perhaps we’ll see more re-scaping towards the end of the year because if done right (i.e., aesthetically pleasing) the results can be quite stunning.

Those of us who are confined to container gardening have it good. No water is absorbed into the surrounding ground, so less water is used. Since today’s gonna be a “scorcher” around here I got my ass out of bed at the crack of dawn to get coffee made and start hydrating the plants – indoors and out. While coffee’s brewing I take stock of the (new) CarnieVIL Central to see who needs water:

Then I check all the plants on the table in the dining room, doubling back to the kitchen to assess the carnies on the windowsill. I have a few plants outside the front door so those got a good soaking. By this time, coffee was ready!!!

Normally, my little four-legged shadow sleeps with me but apparently he spent the entire night worrying a cockroach. I found the poor thing in the downstairs bathroom on its back, half-dead. It had crawled under the door to get away from Ramses’ paws. (No, I did NOT give it back to the cat. I humanely put it to rest.) His night-long rampage did not deter him from following me into the Concrete Jungle…

Fresh water for the bird bath: check. Clean and refill the Hummer Café: check. Sweep up bird seed and dirt made from the squirrel rooting around in my Arabian Jasmine plant: check. Give plants a drink: check. Extricate Ramses from a cubbyhole he shouldn’t BE IN: check. All the other houseplants were watered last night so it’s time to finish my coffee and face the rest of this beautiful day.

and time for Ramses to catch some ZZZZ’s

Before you go, be sure to read the update on Steve I posted this morning.
(There’s a really cute video.)

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Today is all about the “Carnies”

That’s right everyone, today is the first
World Carnivorous Plant Day!!!

Before I get to showing-off my personal collection of “carnies”, a brief intro to the World of Carnivorous Plants would be in order. (‘Cause that’s how I roll…)

Carnivorous plants are predatory flowering plants that kill animals in order to derive nutrition from their bodies, but not all plants that trap or kill animals are considered carnivorous. Three factors are used to determine carnivory:

  1. Capture and kill prey
  2. Possess a system to digest the prey
  3. Receive significant benefits from the nutrients obtained from the prey

Most CP’s will grow just fine without consuming prey, but their development is faster and reproduction much better with prey-derived nutrients. Additionally, unlike plants which use their flowers to entice animals for purposes of reproduction (like stapelia and some aristolochia), carnivorous plants never use their flowers as traps. Their trapping mechanisms include: pitfall traps (pitcher plants), flypaper traps (like sundews and butterworts), snap traps (such as Venus flytraps), bladder traps (exclusive to Utricularia), and lobster-pot traps (used by Darlingtonia californica and Sarracenia psittacina, among others).

Carnivorous plants have evolved to grow in places where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients (such as acidic bogs) – which is why you never want to use anything but distilled, reverse osmosis, or rainwater on your CP’s. The minerals in tap, filtered, and bottled water will eventually kill them.

Carnivorous plants can be found all over the world. Darlingtonia californica is native to California and Venus flytraps are indigenous to the Carolinas. Most sundews come from South Africa while the tropical pitcher plants (Nepenthes) love the Southeast Asian tropics from Australia, Malaysia, and India to Madagascar. Australia is the only place you’ll find the squat Cephalotus growing like bands of little trolls, while the vase-like Heliamphora originate from Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil.

Approximately half of carnivorous plant species assessed by the IUCN are considered threatened (vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered) due to habitat loss, geologic events, climate change, severe weather, and many other anthropogenic (directly or indirectly caused by humans) activities. Among the threatened are: Venus flytraps, California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica), Nepenthes attenboroughii, Sarracenia purpurea, Sarracenia leucophylla, Sarracenia psittacina, Nepenthes rajah, Pinguicula ionantha (a type of butterwort), and English sundew.

And now, without further ado, here’s my collection. (Many are way overdue for division and repotting. I’m fixing that this month!)

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Carnivorous Bog (5.23.2018)

Bought this beautiful ceramic container at Home Depot – with the idea that not only would it fit on the windowsill, the Carnies would look fantastic in it!

Sarracenia leucophylla ‘Tarnok’, Sarracenia flava (Princess Flava II), Cape Sundew (Drosera capensis, Sarracenia ‘Scarlett Belle’, and a smattering of Utricularia (bisquamata?).

(I may have to purchase another one of these pots…)

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