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  1. Looks good French! have you brought them out yet? how are they looking? for anyone interested, I also have a "fridge method" guide, posted here: I am no longer using the fridge specifically, im using a basement stairwell instead of the fridge, but otherwise its all exactly the same..keeping the plants at a steady 35F (+2C) all winter. I actually havent removed my plants yet! they are still slumbering away in the stairwell..its been 4 solid months now since I have laid eyes on them..I plan to keep them down there another few weeks..trying a new method this year.. Scot
  2. Heather, no problem! :) im happy to help! and I will take you up on your offer to visit! perhaps next summer when plants are back in full growth.. my wife and I drive down your way all the time..(my parents live in the southern Finger Lakes area.. so I drive down through Canandaigua/Naples a lot..) and if you are ever in the area up here and want to stop by, let me know! im out in the western suburbs of Rochester, Spencerport-ish.. Scot
  3. Heather, the basement sounds good! I would rather see 35F (+2C) than 55F (+13C), but I bet in the dead of winter when its 10F (-12C) outside it will be 40F (+4C) in the basement, especially since you have no heat source down there.. I would get a thermometer and keep it down there with the plants, and check the temp on unusually warm or cold winter days, maybe move the plants near a basement window if its staying a bit warm. with no light, I would shoot for 40's rather than 50's..although 50's is probably fine if thats the best the basement can do. yep! but not yet..give them more time outdoors, its still too early.. if there is frost forecast in the next few weeks, just cover the plants with a sheet.. I "put the plants to bed" when nightime lows are staying below freezing on a regular basis..usually early November. make sure the spagnum isnt too wet, squeeze out all the water by hand so its just damp, then wrap the roots in the spagnum, and bag each rhizome individually in a zip-lock sandwich bag.. (vfts are tiny..several Vfts could go in one bag..the rules arent set in stone) you just want some diversification (multiple bags) in case one bag gets a bad mold outbreak.. mold is a concern (a mild concern IMO), I usually only have light mold growth over the winter, that doesn't harm the plants. make sure the bags are sealed tight, so no water escapes, and you wont need to add any water all winter. you could dip the plants in fungicide, but personally I dont think its really necessary.. and the fungicide is pretty toxic..(wear gloves)..some people use it, but personally I dont consider mold a big enough concern to need fungicide..I have been doing this for 16 winters in a row, and have never once used fungicide.. If you want to experiment, you could leave a few plants out in the bog! if you have enough you want to risk.. mulch the bog heavily (like a foot of pine needles and/or leaves totally burying the bog..sides too) but since its only your first year, you probably wont want to risk any..but in a few years you will have a large enough collection that you wont mind! ;) Im considering building an outdoor bog next spring, and next winter I will probably leave about 10 VFTs and 10 random sarrs in the bog over the winter..see how they do. Scot
  4. Heather, without knowing more about the porch and basement, its hard to say.. if the porch gets enough heat from the house, and its sealed relatively well, it might work fine.. but if its very drafty it wont hold any heat and wont be much better than outdoors.. does it face south? how warm do you think it stays in the winter? If it warms above freezing during the day, but below freezing at night, the constant freeze-thaw would be bad for the plants.. The basement sounds more promising to it heated? (not heated is what we are looking for) is there a really dark damp corner away from the furnace? that might work.. could be cool enough to stay in that magic 35-55 zone all winter, and being below ground, basements are usually nicely stable in temp..if the basement is heated though, then thats no good.. I would pick what you think is the coldest corner of the basement, and put a thermometer down there right the temps over the next few days..we are supposed to have temps only in the 50's all week.. its its also 50's in the basement, you are probably golden..when its really cold the basement might stay in the 40's.. (and its unlikely your basement will actually the porch would..its too well insulated being underground, and gets heat from the house above..) Scot
  5. well, you cant "bring them in"..(referring to the VFTs and Sarracenia) a warm windowsill in your normal "living space" at 70 degrees all winter is much worse than leaving them outside.. You really have two options: 1. Leave them where they are, in the bog, mulch them heavily, and see how they do! they might be fine! you never know unless you give it a try.. 2. Move them somewhere that is cool..but not indoors on a windowsill, which is far too warm. you need a winter resting space that is between 35 and 55 degrees..(2-12C) fridge, cool basement, unheated room, attached garage, etc.. If option 2 isnt feasable, if you have no suitable location, the only choice is option 1.. so do you have any suitable locations for option 2? let us know the choices, and we can help you pick the best one.. If its below 45F (+7C) degrees, light is a non-issue all winter, because the plants will be deeply dormant and will not grow at all.. my plants spend 3 and a half months at 35F (+2C) degrees, wrapped tight in black plastic! totally dark..they always do fine, and come back healthy and happy every spring.. Scot
  6. Heather, the bog looks good! you should be aware that we live in a very iffy environment for overwintering VFTs and Sarracenia outdoors.. ir *can* be done, but its very risky..its possible you could lose plants.. and this winter is predicted to be colder than normal.. personally, I would move them if you have a suitable dormancy location.. Im near you, up in Rochester.. I have some thoughts on dormancy for our climate, if you wish to read it: Im planning to start an outdoor bog garden, possibly next spring. and I plan to attempt to overwinter some plants outdoors..but not many.. the majority of my collection will still be brought "indoors" for the winter (cool, dark dormancy) Scot
  7. I have three "mini bogs" made from large plastic containers.. each one has a drainage tube located about 3" (about 8 cm) down from the surface.. water level doesnt get higher, but it can get lower as water evaporates.. (I dont have any way to monitor the water level..I dont consider it terribly important.. I simply add water if its been awhile without any rain, until water comes out the drainage tube..) This is the third year with this setup..seems to be working fine. Scot
  8. Your plant would do fine outdoors in the winter..even with no "shelter".. it will actually do FAR better outdoors in the long run than it will indoors.. indoors it will likely eventually die..outdoors it will likely thrive for decades.. outdoors in the winter in the UK is very mild, compared to many parts of the world, and its actually very comparable to the native climate of most Sarracenia. a few frosts, or even some occasional snow, is not a problem.. most people in the UK overwinter their sarracenia outdoors with no problems at all.. (I am right about that? am I not? I dont actually live in the UK, so im just going by what I have read here on CPUK.) Most of the UK is Zone 8 and 9..same as the south-east USA.. you are lucky! I would love to have your mild winters for my CP's.. IMO, your plant would be MUCH better off outdoors 24/7/365.. it might *seem* like its better off indoors, but you are probably "killing it with kindness".. indoors is actually far worse.. Scot
  9. Webpage updated! page for Spring 2009 was just added. Sorry for updating this CPUK thread so late, adding a bunch of posts in June.. I couldnt log-on for I just now finished updating..but now im done! ;) I am now officially finished with the "year in the life".. thanks for watching! Scot
  10. And finally..the last update for this little project! :) May 29, 2009 We have come full-circle with the "Year in the life"..February 2008 to February 2009, and a few months beyond.. Its now May, and everything is flowering and slowly coming back to life.. its interesting to note how far behind the growth is this year, compared to last year and other past years, because the plants were outdoors in the cool March/April air this year.. but as I said, I don't mind! its all good. I waited awhile to make this last post because I wanted some good pics to end the series with! ;) the plants generally look pretty boring in the early spring, so I waited for some nice photo potential to develop.. Here you go, the Sarracenia minor clump in bloom! and thats everything for "Year in the life 2008-2009".. thanks for watching! hope it was useful and interesting.. thanks, Scot
  11. Update! April 24, 2009. The plants have been outside more this March & April than usual.. because its been unusually warm this spring! so I have been leaving them out if its warm enough, bringing them into the garage if nightime lows fall below freezing.. This is good because they get good light, but the cold temps (35-45-55 degrees F for a month or so) means they have been growing very slowly, compared to past years when they are indoors and warm in early spring.. but thats fine! I would prefer they are outdoors in bright sun with cool temps, rather than indoors with inadequate light but warm temps.. Here are some pics for late April: I had to put the ugly chicken wire back on. the mother robins are unstoppable..they love the spagnum moss for nesting material. I think the wire mesh is going to be a fact of life for me.. the CD's help, but not 100%. the S. minor clump is sending up a lot of flower stalks! the repotted D. binata clump:
  12. Update! March 14, 2009 Time for a repotting..its overdue. Got some new peat moss: Im going to take some sarrs out of the three large minibogs and make a 4th, smaller minibog, which will contain the "misfits"! ;) then the three big bogs will be mostly all one variety of VFTs.. One bog will be Leah wilkerson and three S. 'excellens' One bog will be all Judith Hindle. One bog will be all Leucophylla. and the forth, new bog will be a mix of sarrs.. and oh yeah, im also separating out the Sarracenia rubra ssp. alabamensis AL-02 and giving it its own pot. The D. binata pot REALLY needs to be repotted! im going to cut the mass in half, seperate the two halves, and re-plant both in a larger pot, to make more room to grow. the binata pot after repotting: And the new minibog: containing random sarrs taken out of the larger bogs.
  13. its SPRING again! The "year in the life" has come full circle! ( I said a year ago..its Spring for my plants, but definately not Spring for me! it is 8 degrees F (negative 13 C) outside as I type this on March 3rd..there is still a good month of winter yet to go) But the plants are ready to come out! I took them out on February 22 this year..a week later than usual, but only because I was too busy the weekend before..actually, I have been considering just keeping them in the stairwell until April! but im still not sure how that would work..and since the plants have had plently long enough dormancy already (3.5 to 4 months by late February) its fine them for them to come out now.. Another sucessful winter's sleep! everything appears alive! they sit in front of the sliding glass doors until they go back outside for the season (usually mid-April) In the fall, as I was cutting off all the pitchers, I marked a few Sarracenia for re-planting in the spring..I had several smaller plants that were crowded in among much larger plants, and the larger plants were shading them too much, so im going to dig them out and plant the smaller plants into their own container, creating a 4th large mini-bog. They are all smallish "mixed hybrids"..As soon as we get a warm enough day, I will drag the bogs out onto the deck and do the repotting. I want at least a 40 degree day (+4C) to do that! there are no 40 degree days coming anytime soon. These 4 smaller pots are the S. minor clump, a pot of D. filliformis, the D. binata clump (which STILL needs repotting! I didnt do it last year!) :-( but this spring Im going to cut it in half and create two D. binata pots. and the 4th small pot is a S. flava 'veinless' that is going to get repotted into to the new sarracenia bog. So thats all for now! I will update the re-planting whenever I get to it..hopefully in a week or two..I would like to do it before all the plants start serious new growth. then that will probably be the end of "year in the life 2008"! a full year documented. thanks, Scot
  14. November 2, 2008 Putting the plants away for the winter! Probably the single "busiest" day of the entire "CP year" has arrived again.. the annual "putting the plants to bed day".. I always leave the plants out as long as possible..late October or early November.. until nights start falling below freezing on a regular basis.. This year the date is November 2. there have been a few frosts already, I just left the plants out in the first few light frosts, its fine, they can handle it. but we did get a few lows during the last few weeks that dipped down to a around 27F (negative 3C), so I did move the plants into the garage for those nights. First step.. about a week ago I took the plants out of their water trays, and I tipped the bogs on their side to drain: I do this so the media isnt soaking wet all winter..I want them to be slightly drier over the winter than during the growing season.. so I give them a week or so to dry out a little bit.. then..the big event..CUTTING away of all the growth! :0o: I do this because the plants are wrapped tight in plastic all winter, they are in pitch-darkness, 35 degree (+2C) temps, and they simply do NOT grow all all. they dont need their leaves, and all that extra greenery would only encourage fungus to grow, so I snip everything away, right down to the ground. the bogs are lined up, ready to go: the scissors come out, and after about 45 minutes of cutting, we have this! All those lovely pitchers, and all the nutritious bugs they still contain, go into the compost pile, to feed next years flower gardens: Now its time for the wrapping.. I use regular black plastic trash bags, stick the bogs in sideways: Twist up the ends of the bag so its air-tight, and tape it down with regular clear plastic packing tape: In addition to the three mini-bogs (which contain only Sarracenia and VFT's) I also have four other pots that need to join the bogs in dormancy. One D. binata clump, a D. filliformis, a S. flava 'veinless' and the big S. minor clump: Open up the stairwell and clean out all the spider webs with a broom: Put all the plants in place: Close both doors..and the plants are ready to snooze away the next three and a half months..they wont be seen again until the middle of February. (I sometimes check the temp over the winter, but its always nice and cool..and even when its 0 degrees F outside (negative 18 C) its still around 35F (+2C) inside their little chamber..its perfect!) the view from outside the stairwell: Its also the day for putting away the rain water collector, it wont be needed again until spring: the "normal" downspout is replaced, and the water bin is cleaned out and stored in the shed for the winter. The "CP corner" on the deck looks barren and lonely: And the trees are ready for winter too: Autumn is a short season around only lasts about 6 weeks, and by November 1st, its pretty much over, and winter is here. And thats it for the 2008 growing season! but its not the end of the "year in the life"! ;) there are still 3.5 months to go in the year.. They plants have merely started their "fourth quarter".. only 75% of the year is over..the remaining 25% is very important to the long-term health of the plants.. now we wait for winter to pass by... Scot
  15. October 11, 2008 Mid-Autumn update! Its now the middle of October..the 2008 growing season only has a few weeks left to go.. Everything is looking pretty ratty and worn-out..which is normal for this time of year.. The poor VFT's! they look terrible! actually..they are perfectly fine! they are supposed to look that way in the fall! If your VFTs are all nice and green in October, you are probably hurting them with kindness.. I only "neatened up" the bogs twice this year, by cutting away the old dead growth.. once in late spring at the end of the "burn season" when the sun-burned indoor growth had been replaced by new outdoor growth..then one more time in mid-summer..maybe July. So right now they have gone a few months without any major tending on my part..all I do is keep them watered and let them do their thing naturally.. Did I say "everything is looking pretty ratty and worn-out"? well..not everything! The S. leucophylla are putting on a fabulous Autumn display right now! showing off those gorgeous "fall pitchers" that the luecos are famous for: Nice! that's the one impressive Autumn display among the Sarrs.. (all the rest look like the VFTs..very tired, brown, and ready to sleep after another great summer!) We have had one light frost so far, a few weeks ago, but I didn't bother to move or protect the plants..I just let them get frosted..its good for them! I wont bother to move or protect the plants unless it going to get into the 20's overnight..32 degrees and one light frost wont hurt them at all.. (the only exception is my lone D. capensis is already inside for the winter) Most nights over the last few weeks have had lows in the 40's and 50's..thats fine. they stay out until nights seriously begin to fall below freezing on a regular basis. I will make the decision to "put them to bed" for the winter when that begins to happen.. we arent quite there yet.. The next update will be a big one! it will be the annual "putting the plants away for their winter dormancy" process.. coming soon..only a few more weeks to go. Scot