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August issue of The Irish Garden








Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal

Last Post 2 hours ago

Early Birthday

09 July 2009 17:28:42
sarracenia & darlingtonia

sarracenia & darlingtonia

There was much excitement at my house today when a delivery arrived at 8a.m. Normally no delivery man can find our place without phoning for directions so it took us completely by surprise to get a ring on the door at 8a.m.

It was my birthday present of carnivorous pitcher plants. What excitement! There was a tall thin box and, once the top was opened, I could see a really large pitcher plant peeping up. In fact the sarracenia I received was a whopping 93cm tall! There was also a small darlingtonia and a very sorry looking nepenthes (going to ask for my money. But the sarracenia specimen is magnificent, with flowers as well as pitchers.

I was disappointed, however, that the sarracenia compost mix I had ordered was clearly not enough. After some indecision and consultation of the specialist book that had come with the plants, I realised that I could make the sarracenia mix myself. So down to the garden centre I went for perlite, moss peat, orchid bark (for the nepenthes mix) and a glazed earthenware pot in a light colour (darlingtonia). I got the moss peat at the Farmers' Co-op in the end.

Home again and it was time to pot up my new purchases, which had all arrived bare root. I also potted on my sarracenia from Bloom as it was obviously in a mix of peat alone. And after a good watering with rainwater (refrigerated rainwater in the case of the darlingtonia), it was time for a photo or two.

8pm Note

Just in case anyone things I am suffering from teenage boy syndrome, I should clarify that I think sarracenia and nepenthes are very attractive plants (and of course unusual). Next year's challenge will be to incorporate sarracenia and darlingtonia in an attractive bog garden. By the way, the large sarracenia ate a bee this evening!


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Drumanagh Drumanagh 09 July 2009 19:28:31

Opening presents before your birthday!!!! Well I never! Just kidding. They look fantastic. I'd never heard of darlingtonia - will have to look it up! Happy Birthday in advance!!!!


Rachel Rachel 09 July 2009 19:59:08

Thanks, Alison


Jacinta Jacinta 09 July 2009 21:18:36

Wow Rachel, that pitcher plant is something else. I saw a similar one at Bloom and was nearly tempted. But I wouldn't know how to look after it.


Rachel Rachel 09 July 2009 21:33:32

Well I didn't know how to either, Jacinta. But I was determined to find out. I think if something grabs your interest, you'll go all out to learn how to cultivate it. It's down to interests in the end.


trug trug 09 July 2009 21:37:08

Your hints paid off! It does look an intriguing plant. The children are fascinated by it eating a bee. I was explaining, "...well it's carnivorous, so that means it eats...". Child who cannot stop finishing your sentences for you then supplied "PEOPLE"! Lots of giggles all round.


trug trug 09 July 2009 21:46:10

Just been having a look at your photos of the carnivorous plants. The children want to know, do the 'lids' close when an insect goes inside? (I don't know the answer). The only carnivorous plant I have seen is the sundew, a little wild plant which catches tiny insects on sticky saucer like pads which look like little suns. Very cute.


Rachel Rachel 09 July 2009 22:05:58

Hi Trug. My teenage son was the first one who said I should get one of 'those' plants. I looked at them and thought they were exotic and beautiful too so eventually did. The lids don't close. The insect goes in (smell, sight?) and is caught through something sticky secreted from the plant walls. The bee this afternoon kicked up a hell of a ruckass, buzzing away inside the pitcher, but couldn't get out again. Eventually he gives up and falls into the digestive acid below (like in a stomach). Shame it was a bee and not a spider! I hate the little yucky plants that look like live fly paper or even the sickly white sarracenia. It's not carnivorous plants in general that attract me, it's the combination of attractive and exotic - take away the attractive element and you can keep it! By the way, they're very fussy, as plants go.


Jacinta Jacinta 09 July 2009 22:18:54

Are they kept over winter in a heated greenhouse, or the house?


Jacinta Jacinta 09 July 2009 22:22:44

Just got J.:Parker catalogue in 'Amateur Gardening' magazine. Your Dracunculus vulgaris is in it. Did you have that outdoors? I was so impressed with it in your photos. I really have to get one. Its so different.


Rachel Rachel 09 July 2009 22:42:26

Sarracenia are kept in a cold greenhouse or outdoors overwinter in Ireland. If they don't get the winter cold they die. The tropical (hanging) pitcher plants, nepenthes, are indoors only. Sarracenia are from America. Nepenthes are form Asia so they have completely different requirements. Dracula - I grew him outdoors. I had 4 tubers/roots originally about 5 years ago. Last year two flowers. This year it's one. But I've never mulched or fertilised or anything (only staked) so they're worth a go. I'm getting more this autumn. The flowers really don't last for very long but they're a good talking point when they're there.


Gismo1981 Gismo1981 10 July 2009 09:44:35

Wow I am intrigued, they are gorgeous especially the sarracenia, must start dropping hints myself. hope you have a lovely birthday.


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