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Everything posted by Chimaera

  1. Latest image from NASA. No cloud over land, but smoke from fires. The plankton are loving it though!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Thanks. They are all such lovely little plants. And the Drosera are growing surprisingly fast; the largest have gone from 5mm to 15mm diameter in a couple of weeks. I gather you treat Utricularia a bit like moss; let it fill the surface of pots of other plants and appreciate it.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. 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.
  8. I thought it was just me being ill-prepared; I have about a week's worth left in a barrel, then its weighing up using boiled water against buying deionised water. Maybe I should organise a barbie for Saturday; it will rain then.
  9. 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.
  10. Sounds like a great idea.Maybe it could be reciprocated too; there may be pure strains of rarer forms in collections in Europe that are not present in collections in the US.
  11. The RHS are carrying out trials of Sarracenias at Wisley and elsewhere and will publish the 'garden worthiness' of them (https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/trials-awards/plant-trials/current-rhs-plant-trials). I will keep an eye out for the results. They did an indoor one (https://apps.rhs.org.uk/planttrials/TrialReports/Sarracenia 2013-2015.pdf).
  12. 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.
  13. 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).
  14. I'll repot and stake it then, thanks. It is the shorter, erect, stem that is forming pitchers, not the longer, drooping one
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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?
  18. Thanks a lot, it is a waiting game then...
  19. At risk of Nepenthes specialists rolling their eyes with this old question... I have been given a "supermarket" Nepenthes, presumably ventricosa or a similar hybrid, that has already had the 'first batch' of pitchers removed before I got it, and is now growing fast (grown from 20 to nearly 50 cm in 4 months) but not forming pitchers. There are tendrils with a terminal 'club' on the leaves but these eventually shrivel rather than form pitchers. It appears to be 2 plants within a small l' hanging pot' and is in a west facing bathroom (alongside various orchids). Can I encourage pitcher growth or does it happen when the plant wants to? Should I repot and divide it and move it to another room, or maybe move it to an unheated greenhouse for the summer once the weather gets warmer? Can I encourage each plant to branch rather than grow as a single stem? Charlie
  20. Is the idea of keeping temperate carnivores less wet in Winter for any real biological reason (I assume most northern bogs are at their most flooded in Winter; they are in the UK), or is is for horticultural reasons so plants are easier to handle and it keeps fungal diseases down?
  21. I would also suggest go to RHS Wisley which is not too far away; it is more about gardening than the plants themselves but has some really nice stuff.
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