Small Spectacles

The panoramic view of a landscape. The Olympic Games. A sunrise or sunset. Fireworks on the 4th of July. Great wars. An erupting volcano. The Sistine Chapel. Redwood forests. The cinematic showmanship of Cecil B. DeMille. All can be considered spectacular spectacles.

spectacular
n. an elaborate and remarkable display on a lavish scale

But for me, well, I prefer spectacular on a SMALL scale. I like to zoom in, observing close-up rather than far away. I am reminded of a 1996 documentary (Of which I own a DVD copy.) entitled “Microcosmos“:

Take a meadow in France that appears to consist of nothing but grass and show us what wonders there are to be seen if you lower your eyes and look at the very very small… Filmed from a bugs-eye view and accompanied by beautiful soundtrack, the movie took three years to film. “One great movie to restore your sense of wonder.” Indeed. It is Magical. Nature is Magickal.

I ordered this Ludisia discolor (Jewel Orchid) back in July. Sometime in October I noticed a tiny green leaf sprouting from the soil of its 2″ pot. Fast-forward to November 30th and it presented itself as a miniature begonia! (A “twofer” – two plants for the price of one!)

Or take this Heliamphora minor which I got last January. On October 27, 2021 it began to develop a flower stalk which grew up and out of CarnieVIL.

Finally, tiny orange mushroons have sprung up next to my Darlingtonia californica.

Grandeur on a micro scale.

We might think we are nurturing our garden,
but of course it’s our garden that’s really nurturing us.

– Jenny Uglow

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Downtown Campbell

Earlier this week we spent some time in downtown Campbell (CA). My stylist is in Campbell so it was natural that we should stop at Sushi Confidential after my hair appointment. It’s my favorite sushi restaurant.

After an additional order of tamago (and a large sake) we were ready to walk-off our meal. Next stop, Spellcraft. Billed as a boutique shop “for the modern mystic”, Spellcraft has a huge selection of both houseplants (!) and crystals – all presided over by a large, black and brown goat’s head. Since he doesn’t have a name (I asked.) I have christened him “Philippe”. (Anyone who’s seen The Witch will get that reference.)

It’s an airy place and I discovered a number of unusual plants that I HAD to have…unfortunately, I was on a budget and chose my ONE selection very carefully:

I have one Angel’s Wing begonia that’s doing very nicely, but I had read that Rex Begonias can be, well, tempermental. They need high humidity but with good air circulation; otherwise, they are prone to powdery mildew which can spell DEATH to a plant. Fortunately for me, my bedroom has both high humidity (my Nepenthes are thriving) and good air circulation. It also came in my favorite color combo: black and purple.

(But, OMG, they had a Ctenanthe lubbersiana and several large Begonia Maculatas. I have been looking for C. Lubbersiana in particular, so I have to go back there with $$$$ in hand!!!)

I am usually drawn to purple-colored crystals such as amethyst or stones such as jasper. I like both rough-edged and smooth – it all depends upon the energy I get from the stone/crystal itself when I “fondle” it. But that day I was drawn to these blue crystals called Aqua Aura Quartz.

Photo does not do justice to the color. It’s more on the blue-side of aqua.

Aqua Aura can bring prosperity, even possibly wealth. (I’m down with that!) It can also stimulate your throat chakra, which will enhance your communication. (I’m fondling it as I write this Post.)

It will give you the inner truth that you seek. Some people spend a lifetime coasting through their lives, wondering about truths about themselves but never having the courage to uncover them. The aqua aura quartz will help you realize the truth about yourself. Even the ones that you refuse to know or believe.

Known as the stone of the mind, aqua aura quartz is very helpful when directing your energies. It can give you direction and help you concentrate. It can also increase your mental abilities. It will give you mental clarity, amplify your thoughts, and develop your spirit. Which is why it’s most commonly used in healing and meditation.

Aqua aura quartz can help you access the truth of your emotions. It can also help balance emotional extremes, making sure that your emotions are aligned and cleared.

Aqua Aura is an outstanding tool for people wishing to increase their psychic skills and awareness. It’s used to empower and enhance telepathy, clairaudience, clairvoyance, psychic healing, and automatic writing as well as other modalities. This crystal can also balance the effects of feminine and masculine energies. It can help in the alignment of your etheric body with your emotional body, as well as activate your soul energy.

[source]

Well, it appears I was psychically drawn to this crystal. Sometimes you just have to follow your gut and listen to that little voice inside you…

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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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