• Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by pwilson

  1. I'm pretty sure I bought the standard non-organic coir but I'm also pretty sure that it wasn't shrink wrapped so it's possible that their supplier has changed. I know this isn't a great deal of use but I've been using the stuff I bought for two years now with no adverse effects at all. Obviously it's better to get coir that's not got a high salt content but if you want to be certain just wash the coir before use. That's what Borneo Exotics do. I don't rate Moorland Gold BTW either. It's full of weed seeds (you can buy a heat treated version though) but mainly I don't like it because it's got a very fine texture and needs opening out with quite a bit of substrate. Phil
  2. Hi Richard, I think I'd go for the compressed bricks. Not only are they easier to store and transport but you can rehydrate what you need. Buffering as I understand it, is simply a way to ensure the medium is set at a specific pH level. However, the buffered products don't actually say what pH they are buffered to. Much depends on your water as well. If you water is naturally acidic (i.e. soft) then you can probably get away without buffering the coir. I know a lot of commercial growers use coir use buffered products but usually it's buffered to a specific pH - 5.5 seems a good one for most CPs. This company do sell acidifing products and I'd be tempted to use this in conjunction with a pH meter to set your growing media to a a specific pH. Alternatively chopped live sphagnum does an excellent job of acidifying the product. I tend to use this most of the time. It's pretty easy to get, will last ages in storage, and it will grow if you use it in a mix so you have a never ending supply. The key here is to experiment - and only do it on surplus plants initially. So don't be tempted to repot your prize Sarracenia in a coir mix right away! Another seller that I've used on ebay is this one - http://myworld.ebay....=p2047675.l2559 They sell a lot of coco fibre products, though it doesn't look as if they ship to Ireland. In particular I like their coarse coco fibre and the coarse coco chips which are both excellent products. The coco chips absorb and hold a lot of water without actually getting soggy. If you can find an Irish supplier these are worth looking at. Phil
  3. Richard, I just buy the regular stuff. It looks as if you are right that they don't delivery to Ireland. That's a pain - though it's always worth sending an email to them to see if they can quote you. I've never understood how it can be one rate to Northern Ireland and another to the south! I'd offer to ship some on for you but I think the delivery costs are likely to be more than the cost of the coir. Maybe they have a local distributor. Worth asking definitely. Phil
  4. Dave, Are you saying your wife has a bigger collection of Sarracenia than you! I think you should pull your finger out, blow the dust off your cheque book and go out and buy some from Mike King. I'm sure he's got some spares he can let you have cheap. :-) I found the same thing as you when I tried coir some years ago - that it breaks down quite quickly and turns into a nasty sludge. I think this is at least partly down to the quality of the coir. Certainly what I've got from Fertile Fibre seems remarkably resistant to breaking down. The first Sarracenia I tried in it was two years ago and it's still going strong. You can buy the small blocks of coir from Fertile Fibre btw. I don't have much of a collection these days either but I use the coir to make up potting mix for my veggies too. Phil
  5. Richard, A new thread on what grows well in coir is a great idea. For the record I have Darlingtonia, Sarracenia, Nepenthes and VFT all growing very nicely in coir. Last year I tried an experiment using coir and coir chunks which has been a great success. The coir chunks act to open the soil up but they also hold a lot of water without becoming soggy. I've also been using a coarse fibrous form of coir which has also given good results. I think the quality of coir available now is probably a lot better than it used to be. I tried some quite a few years ago and it was dreadful stuff which started to rot after a few months. The plants hated it. Phil
  6. Dave et al, Buying your coir in small blocks can work out expensive. I buy mine from Fertile fibre. A large block will hydrate to 70l which is the equivalent of a small bag of peat. You do need something quite large to soak something this size in though. I use an old plastic dustbin. Even so, buying these large blocks singly is a bit expensive but if you get a few at a time the price drops dramatically. Even buying two drops the price from £10 each to £7.44. Get four block and the price is a very reasonable £5.60 each. These prices are inclusive of postage too. It's got to be worth a few local growers getting together and putting in a bulk order. I don't grow many plants these days but I'm only just on my second of the two blocks I bought last year. Phil
  7. Really? I never knew this. Do you have anymore details such as where and when it was put there (or discovered anyway). Does the plant thrive under the Irish sun and rain? Phil
  8. Nigel - we always try to educate. If that doesn't work then we treat peat users like criminals. :-) I think the point about conservation is that its far better to conserve the environment the plants grow in than just the plants. We often forget that carnivorous plants are not the only species that grow in peat bogs. Well I do anyay... Peat bogs are host to a wonderful and complex array of flora and fauna which are completely destroyed when the peat is extracted. Phil (The peat anarchist!)
  9. I don't use peat. Haven't done so for a couple of years now and haven't missed it at all. I think I find being refered to as a "peat fascist" very offensive! Phil
  10. To fill in a few more details on this. When the new website was being developed it was always our intention to add in an online members' database. This has many advantages for the committee, and in particular, the membership secretary but it also has some significant advantages for individual members. On line databases do not come cheap because usually they are developed from scratch rather than bought as an off the shelf package. When the website was being developed we did not have the funds to do both at the same time. What I'm not entirely sure about is what you want from a members' only area. This is important because after the last committee meeting I have been asked to start the ball rolling on the database. What the database will do is allow members to log on to their own record and make changes, renew their membership and so on. Eventually it will probably be linked to the seed bank showing past orders, current seed allowance remaining and so on. This may cost too much to implement at this stage though. On line databases tend to be quite expensive and depending on the development costs, this might be something to add later. It would be useful at this stage to see what other expectations are to see if any of them can be incorporated into the project. Phil
  11. I think the lidless plant is the marmite of the Sarracenia world. You either love it or hate it! I like marmite too... :-) I had two completely separate clones of this type of plant. One originated from a batch of seeds (I think it was rubra ssp jonesii x flava but don't quote me on that one). This plant produced heavily veined pitchers but they never formed properly the pitcher being flattened. I think I got the clone pictured from Graham Sadd, many years ago. As I recall, this was also a chance seedling so something must have been in the air around then. Alex - why have you put a c.v. after my cultivar name? It's not needed. The use of single inverted commas indicates that this is a published and registered cultivar. This plant was from a batch of seed custom ordered from Phil Sheridan. The parentage is S. flava var atropurpurea x S. rubra ssp jonesii. I selected this clone because it gets so dark and the cultivar names specifically refers to the nectar drops that form in the throat of the pitcher - almost like tears! The S oreophila x (minor x purpurea) hybrid was one of three plants that were the first I bought from Alan Hindle - many many years ago. I agree that it's a much better plant than it looks in the picture. Take a better photo next time Alex! And finally that catesbaei which is a stunning plant - and I'm not exactly mad on hybrids either! The purpurea parent is S. purpurea ssp venosa var burkii, hence the pink flowers in the hybrid. It's a strong grower but divides incredibly slowly so if you want a piece I'd get your advance orders in with Alex now... Phil
  12. I thought the unknown flava might be the old Slack cross, flava red tube x alata red lid but having looked at the pic on my computer instead of my phone I'm not so sure. I think it might be a plant from a cross I made of two of my best var atropurpurea clones from the Blackwater State forest. The seedlings were quite varied with some coming up lightly veined and others solid red and lots of variation in between. How tall does the alata get Alex? I had a whole load of seedlings from the White's Crossing site in Mississippi where the plants are incredibly varied ranging from all green through red lid and various forms of heavy vein, red tube and black tube all with pubescent and glabrous forms.So that's the most likely candidate though without any specific location data it's just another pubescent red tube unfortunately! Generally the only way to get full colour in these plants is to move to somewhere that gets some sun. Not here - not this year at least! I've never seen a true black tube alata though some get very close (in Mike's greenhouse for instance). And that purple tube flava from Holley is about as good as I've ever seen it. Phil
  13. There are no plans to have a members only section at the moment. To be honest it just created masses of work for Dennis who had to deal with the mound of emails every day from members who had forgotten their password. And also I feel that what we have on offer should be available to all anyway. When we bring in the online database there will be an area where the member can log on to get his or her details. Mainly this will be account details so for instance they will be able to update postal and email addresses. We may have a secure download area there for things like past journals and plantas but at the moment we don't even have these to scan in. The database will also tidy up the seedbank a bit. At the moment you can only order a maximum of 6 packets of seed but there is no check on previous orders so you could for instance place an order for 6 packets in April and another 6 packets in September. Naturally Sheila, our seedbank manager will be up on this and won't allow a thing through! When we bring in the database this will keep a history of past orders so members will not only be able to check on what they've had in the past, but the system will only allow them to order up to their annual allocation. It'll also mean that Sheila will be able to go into members accounts and make seed bank adjustments to allow for the additional packets scheme. Phil Phil
  14. I am pleased to announce that we have finally completed the new CPS website which is now officially live, though in practice, it might take a few hours to propagate the site around the various servers. This site has been long in development, way longer than me or any of the other committee members, the beta testers and indeed the developer had imagined! But I believe we have now a fantastic, up to date and informative site that will take us forward. New features on the site include a history section, online membership, a shop where you can order assorted CPS related stuff, the Seedbank which now has online ordering built in. There is a links section and a brief but informative selection on cultivation, plus an events page and along the bottom of the site a news ticker. The only things remaining are some relative links that I know will need updating and which can only be done once the site has gone live - so if you find any in the next couple of days please don't tell me as I'm probably in the process of sorting them! This is what I have been referring to phase one. Phase two will be to incorporate an online database which will allow us to do cool things like renew online, check memberships, check on past seed and CPS product orders and so on. I don't have a date for phase two but it should be within the next 18 months, depending on when we can secure funding. Phil
  15. Adrian, I'm slightly confused - isn't the PVB luteola antho free anyway? I'm pretty sure the seedlings I sent you originated from Christien Klein though not directly from him so they wouldn't actually be luteoa anyway since this is a cultivar. I may be wrong of course! Christien had a chance appearance of antho free seedlings in his greenhouse. I'm pretty sure the seed was from his own plants though I can't be certain of this. Also I've no idea whether the plants in question had produced normal seed before or if they are/were in fact heterozygous for antho free. Jumping to one of Dave's posts - this is one of a number of reported spontaneous occurances of antho free Sarracenia that has occured in cultivation here in Europe. There is one other grower in the UK who found an antho free S. flava though as I understand it, it came in with a batch of other plants from an unnamed/unknown grower. Phil
  16. Phil Sheridan has carried out quite a bit of research on the matter and it does seem to be a case of simple Medelian genetics. For instance some years ago he bred the antho free S. minor with a regular S. minor var okeefenokiensis plant, then crossed the offspring and sold the seed. I bought a packet and they came up 1:4 antho plants to reds which is exactly as expected. I've made a few crosses myself too and the same thing occurs. That's not to say that it's always going to be the same of course but as far as I'm aware none have occured to date. Here's a link to a paper co-authored by Phil with more details. Phil
  17. Ian, Yes if you cross a Red plant with a Green one then the resulting offspring will appear to be red but 25% of the plants will be heterzygous for the anthocyanin free form. This is because the faulty gene responsible for the lack of red pigmentation is recessive. Genes form new pairs at fertilisation and if one of the genes in the pair is faulty and is paired with a functional gene then that functional gene will override (i.e. correct) the faulty one. I'm trying to use my terms very carefully here! It is only when two recessive genes are paired together that the genetic fault becomes apparent. If you pair up a plant with one faulty gene (heterzygous for antho free) with a plant that has both genes working correctly then the product will be heterozygous for antho free but all the plants will appear to be normal. If these plants are grown to maturity and then crossed with each other then the resulting plants will be produce (I think!) in the following proportions. 25% normal red plants, 25% anthocyanin free plants and 50% heterozygous for the antho free fault. There is probably a lab test to detect heterzygous plants but there is no way from simple observation of the plants to tell these apart from normal plants. And again, as far as I know, there is no way to tell if your plant became sponteneously heterzygous or if it was an inhertited condition. It is a reasonable assumption that there are populations containing heterzygous plants though it should be easy enough to confirm this by examination of seedlings on the site since a proportion will be antho-free even if they don't survive very long. You will get 100% heterozygous plants. You can work out these genetic crosses using a simple table. I'll show you sometime! Phil
  18. Hi Dave, I did hear a long time back that some populations of S. rubra ssp jonesii contained a proportion of antho free plants but I've never had that confirmed. Any thoughts? I'd agree with your comment about antho free plants being naturally selected out in the more southern locations were it not for plants like S. flava var. rugellii which are predominantly green apart from the throat of the pitcher of course. I wonder if these plants still have red pigmentation even in the green parts of the plant which is not strong enough to be visible but acts as a sunscreen. Phil
  19. Interesting stuff! There is certainly something in the idea of red colouration being produced as a sort of sunscreen. Certainly some HV and all red S. flava forms need plenty of sunlight to produce their best colouration. There is a site in the Florida panhandle with many extremely dark forms of S. flava yet seeds collected from this site and grown in cultivation in the UK rarely if ever produce anything like the same degree of redness. The inevitable conclusion is that the plants are reacting in some degree to the high levels of sunlight in their natural habitat. As usual the case is not clear. S. flava var. rugellii produces no red colour in its pitchers no matter how much sun you give them and indeed there is an argument that redder pitchers could be less efficient at digesting insects. A yellow pitcher will reflect more sunlight so in theory the contents could stay slightly cooler and may be less susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections. There's a PhD for someone there! I'm not sure that it follows that plants that produce no red colour are weak growers because of damage to their cells from high UV levels. If that were the case then they should grow much better in northern Europe I guess. What might be the case though is that plants growing in more northerly lattitudes benefit from having no red in their pitchers because they are able to make the maximum use of every photon of sunlight. Phil
  20. Hi Ian, From what I saw when I went round some of the bogs in Ontario I suspect that the Green anthocyanin form of S. purpurea (i.e. S. purpurea ssp purpurea f. heterophylla is quite common in nature. Some bogs I visited had a few of the f. heterophylla plants, some many and some none at all. I found one f. heterophylla plant in one bog where none had been found before. All this leads me to believe that the form occurs quite often in populations independantly and spontaneously. That is, the forms in the various populations are unrelated genetically. Also the original description of the form made by Eaton was from a site in New York State. Presumably the site no longer exists (the form was described some 200 years ago) and is certainly no where near the sites where I found the plants. There may well be evolutionary advantages for the f. heterophylla plants. Generally yellow/green flowers are better reflectors of UV light and especially in low light conditions of winter appear much brighter, particularly to insects viewing in the UV spectrum. The advantage to a plant that attracts insects are obvious, particuarly in the more northerly regions where S. purp ssp purp grows. This is all theory of course though I can say that the f. heterophylla are pretty easy to spot in an open sphagnum bog. The plants are almost fluorescent! It would be fairly easy to carry out counts of trapped insects in red and f. heterohylla plants of course. This is an area that has long interested me. The genetics are unlikely to be simple (they rarely are). In some Sarracenia species for instance there appears to be a link between anthocyanin plants and lack of vigour. The Green S. minor (now S. minor var. viridescens) is one example of this and is almost certainly an indication of different genetics than with certain other Sarracenia species. Again this might be completely circumstantial but it does seem that species that normally produce red flowers do not have a problem with lack of vigour when a chance anthocyanin free form occurs, whereas species that produce yellow flowers mostly do - possibly with the exception of S. alata? It does seen possible to breed out the lack of vigour - the antho form of S. minor was crossed with S. minor var. okeenfenkiensis for instance and most of the offspring are perfectly vigorous. What that says about the genetics is way beyond the limits of my knowledge!! Phil
  21. Thanks for your help. Phil
  22. I've already pointed out that you are wrong and to be honest I'm not sure that there is any point in taking the issue further is there. We will never agree. I am trying to take this thread in a more constructive direction. If you don't want to follow then that's fair enough. The response to Dave's post was an attempt at humour. If you want to organise a meeting in Cheshire then you need to contact Dianne, who is our meetings organiser. You can do this via the CPS website or PM me and I will pass on her email address. Cheshire is a bit too far for me to travel so I won't be able to make it of course. Phil
  23. Meetings only happen where there are local people to organise them. That is why traditionally CPS meetings have been held in the south. Because we had the location and we had local people to organise them. It's as simple as that. Ideally we'd love to have meetings at one of the botanical gardens but the cost is prohibitive. Unfortunately the days when we used to be able to get cheap or free rooms and free entrance for the membership attending, are long gone. Nowadays institutions are more interestested in organising corporate conferences... We have tried to organise meetings north of the Watford Gap before but there just has not been anyone willing to do the ground work. As far as I know there still is no one willing to do the dirty work. You see members only get out of a society what they are prepared to put in. It's easy to criticise but as we've seen with the CPS website, when it really comes down to action, it becomes very quiet suddenly... And for what it's worth, I used to be a member of the British Tarantula Society and the International Herpetological Society, both who held all or nearly all their national meetings in the north! Phil
  24. Oh come one Dave. You could have got a train from London to Birmingham, done your VAT on the train and claimed the travelling as expenses. Plus you would be less likely to have ended up in Smethwick hospital. At one point Dennis thought he saw you in the car park anyway. Which leads me to one of two conclusions. Either you got to the show and thought better of it in the car park. Or you have a double in Birmingham. I think the latter is infintely more disturbing... Phil
  25. As the more or less interim stand-in Internet Officer for the CPS ( ) I thought I'd bring members up to date with the future developments for the CPS website. Non-members should avert their eyes from this point forward... We have of course been aware that the current website needs some err, modernisation. Having said that, it's served us well since Andy designed it all those years ago but now like many a Hollywood star, it's in need of a face lift. New websites don't grow on trees unfortunately and it's a huge amount of work to produce something from scratch. This is something that has put off encumbent Internet Officers for many a year and with this in mind we have decided to commision a new site from a professional web designer. I am aware that there are a number of members of this forum who have offered to help with a new website in the past but mostly these good souls change their minds when they realise the amount of work involved! But also we realise that we have now reached a point where the current state of the website makes it ineffective and with the best will in the world, people helping out in their spare time aren't going to produce the results we need in the sort of timescale we want. I am also aware that there are plenty of "do it yourself" web creation sites out there that we could use for a small outlay. Again, though, I don't think this will achieve what we want, or not easily anyway... One of the things that I am keen to introduce to the website managament is an online management system so the onus of updating the site does not fall on one person. For those who don't know this is a means to allow people with little or no HTML skills to update the content of a website. One immediate use that we have already identified is that it will allow Sheila to produce and update the CPS seedbank on line. Coupled with on line ordering (probably using a simple PayPal shop) this will mean that there will be little or no reason to print and mail out the seedlist four times a year. Not sending out a seedlist alone will save quite a few trees and quite a lot of member's money from the savings in postage and printing. Plus it will mean that the seedlist is up to date within a matter of days, not months. We hope to have the new site up and running in the early part of next year. If anyone wants to be involved with the development of the site, either as beta testers, or just to give comments and opinions on design and content then please let me know and I will add you to a mailing list. For the future, we also plan to have the membership database completely transfered to an online system. There are so many advantages to this that I'm not sure where to begin. But for a start, members will be able to log into their own account to check on subscriptions, change their postal and email address and request logon password reminders. For the committee, it will mean for instance, better control of member's data since only those committee members who need to access information will be given the rights to do so. And as soon as they leave the committee or change their role these rights willl be removed or altered. It will also mean that member's data will be available as soon as it is entered onto the database. And of course it allows committee members to cover for each other more easily. For instance, if Dennis wins the lottery and decides to head off to Australia for a year, one of us can deal with memberships in his abscence. Of course Dennis won't be able to leave for Australia if we go to his house and steal his passport - though Tim and I would never stoop so low... As our post of Internet Officer is currently vacant I am actiing as overseer of these developments and even if we do get a candidate for the post I will probably carry on as overseer - it's a bit daunting to start a new committee position and have to be in charge of spending vast sums of CPS budget. Then again, some power hungry magnate might enjoy the job - always the optimist! Phil