Chimaera

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Posts posted by Chimaera


  1. Who knows, not least the people we pay to sort this out for us. At the very least it is likely that CITES listed forms will not be able to be traded without difficult and expensive permits. As this will include all Sarracenia and Nepenthes species, there will be a problem. (I often send CITES listed fish and shark material between museums and this will be a real pain for me). Although this is the least of our worries......


  2. I would think the main problem is that house plants are not fashionable and many people are not willing or able to put in the effort to look after all but the most indestructible. There are 2 excellent garden centres near me in N London who offer really good ranges of outdoor plants but with very poor ranges of indoor stuff; maybe a third small cacti (unnamed), a third showy orchids and a third 'large green' plants. There is sometimes a tray of mixed small carnivores. all looking very sad. This is pretty much the same range as local DIY shops sell for half the price. Cacti and those types of orchids are almost 'decorations' and can be used for a few months in an unsuitable room and them replaced; maybe that is where houseplants are going. On the other hand there is a local company doing small succulents as decor pieces, with nice, hand made pots and charging an arm and a leg for them, but again these are plants that can survive for some time without being treated as plants but instead are exclusive decor items. 

    My local Homebase gets an even worse set of houseplants, but does often have a range of rather unexciting carnivores, so I keep a look out for the 'half price half dead' section and have snapped up some half decent Sarracenia there (In the Summer I got a very large S. leucophylla hybrid of some type reduced from £35 to £2.99 and have managed to rescue the largest  of the 4 grow points and it now looks very nice.

     

     


  3. 20 hours ago, Picavorus said:

    Quite feasible, as I know a few people not far way who are in Lancashire and have similar TDS levels.  We never have to de-scale any appliances either.  

    If you look at a geology map of the Peaks you will see 2 main rock types; the Dark Peak is made of Millstone Grit- this is sandstone and shales with virtually no carbonate or other solubles in them, so runoff into the reservoirs with be low TDS and probably rather acidic. In the White Peak you have Carboniferous Limestone, a totally different beast made of soluble calcium carbonate so runoff and aquifers there will have a really high TDS and probably be alkaline. All those caves are the result of water dissolving this limestone, so as caves are made the material goes into the water.


  4. I was in a similar situation a year ago and have gone from 4 types then to about 30 now. I got really interested in the many shapes (especially) and colours of Sarracenia pitchers and started trying to get one at least of each main morphology- flask-like (pursuer and hybrids), small and hooked, clump forming trumpets , tall trumpets, and added a couple of different vft colour forms and some different Drosera growth forms (rosette forming, clumping (capensis  etc), forked (binata). I also have some of the native species of Drosera and Pings with the idea that these should be easy to keep.

     

     


  5. 2 hours ago, Ezza said:

    Poured with rain here in Devon yesterday filled both butts to brim,just as well as the RO unit I bought from a company on Ebay came with no instructions,big thanks to "Stu" for advice on pipe colours,now just have to source the filters before butts run dry again.

     

    Nothing in the SE; 20% chance tomorrow and 40% on Thursday....


  6. On 6/29/2018 at 11:18 AM, David Ahrens said:

    Thanks Stu for your advice.

    Chimaera, I use an Ecowater distiller in the flat. It runs off one US gallon in about 4 hours. Distillers can be more expensive than deionisers but they are not wasteful with water. They are a bit power hungry though. I have had mine running all week and have a 25 litre container of water to take around to my wife's.

    Thanks a lot, I'm looking into options. 


  7. Anyone with suggestions for a low price, simple RO unit that can easily be attached to a hose? I am using about 2-3 litres of water a day  (I only have 6 seed tray size water baths) so only need a low quantity, so price and simplicity is key. Went to "borrow" some distilled water from work and some bugger had broken the chamber of the distiller and not told anyone, so that isn't working now.


  8. 3 minutes ago, Guy said:

    This intrigued me, so I've tried it!

    We have a water softener, so it was possible to test both hard and softened water before and after boiling. The water was boiled in a kettle, just once. Here's the results from my TDS hand held meter. 

    Hard water before boiling 259 ppm, after boiling 268 ppm.  Softened water before boiling 276 ppm, after boiling 311 ppm.

    No idea why the increase was so much greater for the softened water compared to the hard water.  Others may be able to shed light on this.

    It would seem boiling isn't a good idea.  No doubt the increases would have been even greater if the water had been left to boil for any length of time.

    Guy

    Interesting. So the theory is not matched by the results. It may be that your water contains sulphate which is not removed by boiling. I think at least some water softeners replace calcium with sodium; it may be that if you boiled in a kettle with limescale in it you reversed the reaction, with the addition of losing some water. My chemistry is not up to thinking why.


  9. The theory is that most things dissolved in water get concentrated as you boil water off, but bicarbonate is different; you drive off CO2 which is less soluble in hot water and the bicarbonate ions that were associated with it then bond with any calcium present and precipitate out as limestone, so TDS drops until you run out of calcium or CO2 levels reach that soluble in boiling water. If water has magnesium in it (there should be a lot in NE England), this does not bond with bicarbonate the same as calcium and precipitation is different. On various brewing websites the chemistry is explained far better than I can.

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  10. I have been trying to work out if boiling water to precipitate carbonate will reduce TDS sufficiently. Hs anyone with a TDS meter done the experiment? It appears that if there is enough calcium in solution (as should be the case in a limestone/chalk aquifer, as in most of SE England) it should be possible to get bicarbonate down to 80 TDS, at which point atmospheric CO2 levels prevent it going lower. So by this, boiling water and letting the carbonate precipitate out would work for water for the short term at least. 

    Does anyone know if this is true or not?


  11. Having just started a collection I am always happy for additions to it, so was really pleased to get some 'passengers' with other plants. I bought a 'starter set' of plants from H-C in the Winter (that have all surpassed my expectations of how good they are) and recently notices a few seedlings in the compost, so pricked them out. Associated with a S. purpurea were 3 nice little Sarracenias. I guess they are the same as the host, but could the hooked ends suggest S. psittacina or a hybrid of it? In the pot of a Drosera filiformis are a dozen seedlings; one has long leaves and is presumably the same species, the others are round with short petioles. Do leaves change shape as the plant grows or does this mean I have a round leaved form like D. aliciae? There was also a tiny clump of possible Utricularia but I think I killed it by moving it.

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  12. I am guessing that they have 2 real problems other plants do not, firstly they do not want to risk eating their own pollinators so flowering earlier than pitchers is good, also most plants can get nitrated from the soil as soon as they start to grow, pitchers need to rely on what is stored from last year until the first pitchers can catch more nitrate. If there is flower or seed production, it leaves little nutrient for pitcher growth.


  13. Just been thinking about why subtropical Drosera and Serracenia would evolve to be so Winter hardy. I would guess that it is because they had to survive the last ice age (too recent for much speciation since), Most animals and plants could survive by moving with the climate belts away from the poles, but increased aridity would have been an additional problem for carnivores.  So for Serracenia whilst southern Florida stayed warm, it also got very arid and no good the bog plants, so bog specialists were restricted to northern Florida and the Gulf Coast where winters were probably far colder than now. So even species that now never see a frost in the wild would have only survived by being frost hardy. The same could be true with S African Drosera; whilst the Cape area got colder, expanding deserts and savannah to the North would have trapped the Drosera in a far colder area than now, so only the hardy survived.


  14. Just started collecting a few carnivores, and looking for suitable plants for an unheated greenhouse (in southern England), it seems that a there is variable advice about the hardness of some species. As we (in UK and some of northern Europe at least) have just had an exceptional cold snap late in the year, it would be interesting to see what survived or otherwise in unheated greenhouses or outside this winter. I was surprised that a D. capensis survived being frozen solid (even iff all the top growth died off).


  15. 21 hours ago, Argo88 said:

    In my experience, only with ventrata, is very useful to help plant producing pitchers to plant a stake to sustaine the plant in the pot (like with a tomato’s plant)... a lot of plants of garden centers are sold in hanging baskets without stakes, and the plants don’t make pitchers... another thing... my nepenthes x ventrata never made pitchers in winter... only when there are long days (hours of light) they make pitchers... to my friend that grows them with artificial lights and temperature control they make pitchers all around the year;-)

    I'll repot and stake it then, thanks. It is the shorter, erect, stem that is forming pitchers, not the longer, drooping one


  16. hanks, that is great. As these things go, 2 days after starting this thread I noticed one of the tendrils had thickened up and developed a 'felty' texture; it now has a 1cm proto-pitcher on the end and a second tendril seems to be doing the same. The other plant is getting very long though; is is worth cutting it back to encourage more base growth? It seems to quite like being in the bathroom; humid, west facing and with slightly textured window glass cutting the worst glare. maybe it was the threat of the greenhouse that made it buck up its ideas.

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  17. I don't know about Cps, but in Rhododendron it seems that calcium is not a problem, indeed calcium shortage is very damaging. It is raised pH that killed them, and you can add gypsum to give calcium with no problem. I also don't see mineral phosphate as a problem unless anyone knows otherwise; it is not very soluble and is apparently phosphorus is not an element Cps get from their food.


  18. I know this is a common topic, but exactly what in growing medium is and isn't acceptable for carnivores? Clearly calcium carbonate and high pH, and nitrates are out, but not sure about other salts. The reason I ask is I am a palaeontologist and regularly sieve sand from Morocco for small fossils and end up with a lot of sand left over once the fossils are removed (I have 15 kilos in my office at the moment). This is calcium carbonate free but contains small amounts of gypsum (Calcium sulphate), iron oxides and a quite a lot of mineral phosphate (mostly fragments of dinosaur bone; not very soluble). Any ideas?