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Showing content with the highest reputation on 10/26/2014 in all areas

  1. so very true, I have been scattering verbena seed, poppy seed (orientale) and foxglove seed in every field roadside and grassy area I can find, on 3 separate occasions I have been "challenged" by a member of the public as to what I am doing and as soon as I explain they join in! there are at least 3000 plus bee friendly plants now growing around every spare inch of my sons school field, my lawns next year will be covered by wildflower meadow on a roll, mainly because im sick of grass but also for the bees. last years guerrilla gardening involved 200 plus tree seedlings and foxgloves have transformed an otherwise shitty looking dumping ground. I still have a lot of seed to go save those bees!!!
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  2. Hello my friends Red micro teeth 'giant' New
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  3. Hello again, after some days, here we go with the next update of the hybrid-photos. Starting with the one, I´m very proud of: Pinguicula nivalis x moctezumae ... is a cross of the tiny P. nivalis and the long-leafed P. moctezumae, which I did in early 2010. This plants stay very small, around 4-5cm in diameter, but have the long leaf appearance from the moctezumae. In the center, it is hary like the nivalis and the leaf colour can turn into light brown. Unfortunately I missed to photograph the only flower it had up to now. The form was nivalis-like but it had a light pinkish touch in colour. Pinguicula 'Tina' Pinguicula 'Weser' That´s all. I hope you enjoyed the photos and could get an idea from how the Pings can look like when they have enough light. In the meantime I did some new and interesting crosses. I´ll post them as soon as they show their characteristics. Best regards, Christian
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  4. And now - Dorsera hamiltonii seedlings!
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  5. Here is something that you winter-growing droseraphiles may appreciate. A couple of weeks back I noticed signs of life stirring in several of my tuberous drosera pots. Most were from rosetted species just starting to break the surface with vegetative growth. One pot in particular caught my attention. It was my lone D. zonaria 'large form' that has been growing quite well for me going on three years. To my utter astonishment this pot was beginning to produce flowers! For a moment I thought I had mixed up the pot labels but quickly confirmed that this was, indeed, my zonaria. Up until now I had never had this species flower for me and had never even seen a picture of one flowering! From what I have read flowering for Drosera zonaria is a rare event. I located my macro lens and decided to document this event. Here are the results so far. Apparently the flowers are produced long before vegetative growth commences - September 29th October 5th October 14th More to come later in the season!
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  6. I go out of my way to save ladybirds, they are voracious predators of pests especially aphids. your plants are better served by letting that little eating machine run free.
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  7. Cheers Corky :) Wow, i can't believe we've had so many weeks of hot sunny weather, hence i've been outside working nonstop and therefore not taking any photos. So, time for an update ! At the start of this thread i said that not only was this going to be my first ever greenhouse, but i'd be diving feet first into making it a (hopefully) ideal intermediate/highland nepenthes enviroment at the same time, with practically zero experience, googling and learning about each step as i decided what needed to be done next.. And so obviously it would be a big learning curve for me and also experimental, with mistakes made and lessons learnt along the way. First mistake, i kind of severely underestimated the average daily light levels in the Northwest of England, and so the shade netting from the front of the greenhouse and the double doors, plus the sunny side of the roof, has been removed to lift the gloom. And then a few weeks later, this bloody heatwave hits and we have to walk round with sunglasses on to avoid the glare ! So really, the shade netting could do with going back on the doors and roof as long as this sun keeps shining. I need to come up with some kind of velcro system so the shade netting can easily be removed or replaced on the doors when the weather gets silly. Plus it was a neater job around the edges when it was covering the messy cuts i made to the bubble wrap underneath. All this because i realised the greenhouse is facing south east not south. No signs of any plants suffering heat stroke yet, so maybe the extra shade netting was overkill in the first place. Second mistake, siting a greenhouse under the next door neighbour's sycamore tree is a very very bad idea if you intend running guttering to harvest rainwater during spring and early summer. The sheer amount of dead flower heads that fall from this tree resembles a locust plague of biblical proportions. The water in the four barrels was bright yellow, caused terrible floating scum, stunk like hell, and made the water useless at over 260 TDS. And on top of that, i had the equivalent of 100% shade netting on the roof. Then the guttering got packed solid and overflowed so i decided it all had to come off. Well, i didn't know it was a sycamore tree when i started the ground clearance, it was February i think and i wasn't paying much attention to the surrounding trees. And a matter of weeks after i removed the guttering, the neighbours hack 50% of the branches off the sycamore, which not only means far less flowerheads next Spring, but also more incoming light ! We're planning now to use the guttering on our 12x10 shiplap timber shed and hook a further water butt up to it for general garden watering, it was expensive and can't be allowed to go to waste. Anyway, i'll talk you through some update photos..... I've fitted two Vortice Vario 150AR fans in the greenhouse, controlled by a thermostat. When the orchid autovents open at around 25c, the two fans come on too. It was hard work trying to purchase a branded affordable fan in the UK that also offered good moisture protection plus could be hardwired in reverse. And it HAD to be no bigger than 6 inch (9 inch casing diameter) to fit in the glazing above the double doors. I actually had a good bargain, and found too of these fans on fleabay, brand new with instructions but unboxed, by two different sellers, a matter of weeks apart. I think i saved between £150 and £200. So the first two photos show the exhaust fan, mounted as high as possible for maximum heat extraction. And here's the intake fan, which comes on at the same time as the exhaust fan. I decided to mount it low in the back corner of the greenhouse, as this is by far the coolest outside part of the greenhouse as it's in permanent shade all day. The concrete fence panels in close proximity also help keep the air surprisingly cool and damp here. The only problem i've found, is during heavy rain, the fan gets very dirty on the outside from rain splashback off the pavers. The angle of this splashback just happens to go straight up through the downward angled vents of the fan, allowing dirty muddy water to build up on the inside of the fan. It's actually quite clean inside after two months use, and not as bad a sounding problem as i make out, but i see a potential build up happening and i'd like to make things as maintenance free as possible. I just need to devise some kind of open cover for the front, maybe cut a 2ft square of 4mm polycarb and screw the bottom two corners onto the side face of the concrete block, bending it slightly and screwing the top two corners into the uprights of the greenhouse. This will create a gap of about 3 inches in front of the fan, and the sides will be open of course. What do you think ? It's the simplest solution i can think of that would do the trick i reckon. And it will be out of sight anyway. I've also fitted a 4ft IP65 T8 housing. I opted for a 4100k daylight 20w LED tube instead of the old traditional 36w fluorescent tube, for the obvious savings on electricity, plus the better quality light. Installing a LED tube in a standard T8 housing involves snipping wires and bypassing the ballast as it's no longer needed and the circuit wiring to the LED is different anyway. A simple job and not as scary as i first thought. The starter (if fitted) also needs to be removed. I purchased a Ledlam tube which has a 140 degrees projected angle of light, some cheaper LED's may only have an angle of 120 degrees, i've learnt. Next is a general view of the inside front of the greenhouse. You can see where the shade netting has been removed from the front panels, doors, and right upper roof panels. This has let in much more light during our more common gloomy days. Unfortunately, the ugly rough cutting i did of the bubble wrapping is now exposed on the doors. You'll also notice that the right side of the greenhouse still homes some of my partners plants and flower/veg seedlings and i'm perfectly happy with that while the space is unused, as long as her plants are happy with the high humidity needed for my conditions. The long term plan is for this to be a nephouse only with plants climbing both sides, and so i think i will need to shade net that side of the greenhouse exactly the same, from floor up to the top of the lower roof panels, leaving the upper panels unshaded (as i did a few weeks back) and remove the shade netting from the currently covered upper roof panels of the current side, opening up the entire roof space instead for light. If you understand what i mean. I'm not sure the light coming in then through the roof panels alone will be enough during the darkest depths of winter, but then again, the sun is way too low on the horizon for our garden at that time of year. That's the plan anyway, what do you reckon ? This is the other end where all the exciting (but very expensive) stuff is going on. Hence it's slow going. The IP65 consumer unit is in and live, but not everything you see mounted on the back board is connected up yet, where other items are still needed. Some things are running on temporary timers from the extension reel plugged in the house, like the temporary indoor 1.8kw heater that helped get the chilly greenhouse day temps of 16c up to around 19 or 20c back in April / early May. It's an eco model kinda fan with a mini thermostat that slips it into economy mode to top the temperature up slightly when needed. Or something. This heater is on a timer to stop it operating over night. Don't panic, it's well sheltered under the potting bench from the misting system and the 12 inch Hydor Typhoon does a great job from keeping any wetness away from everything on the back board, even the IP rated stuff. Bugger, could have saved a fortune there lol ! This fan is intended for 24 hour air circulation run through a timer with alternating 15 minute on/off operations constantly over 24 hours.This is my starting experiment point anyway. However, the fan is currently running constantly 24 hours plugged directly into the extension reel while i await purchasing another expensive IP timer that won't get wet. Oh well, better safe than sorry, eh? The potting bench can get a little bit wet in places, but that has been covered with a sheet of stainless steel donated by a metal fabricator mate i've acquired since moving up here. And here's a close up of the automation gadgetry so far, fused spurs everywhere ! (my sparky mate, also recently acquired, likes to play on the safe side. To my expense lol). The solenoid that operates the misting system is controlled by a very expensive waterproof timer, that operates............ just one 15 minute cycle in a 24 hour period, currently at 9pm at night. The price of dedicated automation. Originally, i envisioned this timer having many cycles a day, helping cool during the day and raising humidity. Then the cost would have been justified. But once the solenoid was made live and i seen how much of a soaking my neps got from my cheap misting nozzles (as warned to me by Dave Evans many weeks back, which can potentially be very bad for rot). I paniced at first, but then read about the watering/fertiliser methods of the guy over at nepenthesaroundthehouse.com and how his nepenthes increased in leaf growth and pitcher size when he reduced watering to a single drenching with a hosepipe each evening (sorry i don't know your name, if anyone can let me know, please do). Since i adopted this guys system, i too have also noticed an increase in leaf and pitcher size. But that could also be partly down to me giving them all their first caffeine fix adminstered a month or so ago, plus the gradually improving conditions as controllers get added. Below the misting timer and solenoid is the cooling thermostat that controls the exhaust and intake fans. It has a 5 metre sensor probe which i've run into the trunking, through the black conduit top right, and it breaks out half way along the greenhouse, quite low to where the nepenthes are sitting. Under the cooling thermostat is where the heating thermostat will go once purchased. I've opted to go with Simply Control again and purchase their Tropical Thermostat, a dual box affair featuring a thermostat and a seperate timer, which controls the 10c night time temperate drop at night. Nice bit of kit, but again very expensive (for me, currently). And then a very expensive heater needs to be bought before winter sets in. It's a race against time on a low income, but i hope it's going to be so worth it in the end Whilst the greenhouse can't progress as fast as i'd like due to cashflow limitations, it does give me plenty of time inbetween update phases to get work done on the garden, and in roughly six months, it's gone from this...... to this...... So that's basically everything covered that's happened since i updated last back in mid May. Your thoughts and comments on the nephouse are always welcome. Thanks for reading.
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