Tag: plant photography

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

A trip to Butterfly Valley (aka Darlingtonia country!)

You may be surprised to learn that I’ve never seen wild carnivorous plants before this trip! California is a huuuuge state, and the nearest wild habitat to me is about 3.5 hours away by car.

Sometimes I’m envious of my friends in the Midwest and the South, who seem to be surrounded by bogs filled with sundews,¬†plushy sphagnum and pitcher plants galore. The nearest wild growing carnivores are in their backyard or a short walk away. But then I remember I live in California. Ahh, trade-offs.

But last week I finally made the trip to Butterfly Valley Botanical Area! It’s hard to keep my mouth shut about how truly amazing it was, but I’ll try to let the photos do most of the talking. ūüôā

First sign!

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Second sign! We were glad these were here. We had no idea if the area was going to be marked, if the plants would be visible from the road, or if we’d have to hike for miles.

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area
This was the trailhead where we stopped and got out. The pamphlets read that the Butterfly Valley Trail was a two-mile loop that would come to a meadow filled with pitcher plants. The husband and I aren’t super avid hikers, but two miles didn’t seem like a big deal.
Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

 

This is the sign that gave me chills in the middle of the day while it was 95 F degrees out.  We walked maybe 1/10th of a mile when we came to this.

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

 

As the trail continued past this sign, the first meadow looked to be nothing but a grassy field. As we kept walking, the second meadow area didn’t look like much from the trail either. It kept nagging at me, though, so I went off the trail for a closer look.

And there they were!

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

The live Darlingtonia in this first area seemed small, and highly outnumbered by last season’s dead growth. The ground also felt dryer than I expected.

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

 

This little guy had the reddest coloring we saw on any plants there. Nearly all other pitchers were completely green. Some had a decent amount of reddish tone on the head and tongue, but no pure red tongues like this one.

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

 

We kept exploring the meadow and noticed the pitchers definitely got bigger where the ground was wetter.

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

 

Lots of lovely Darlingtonia flowers too!

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Around this point, I started hunting for sundews. I knew there were Drosera in Butterfly Valley, and possibly pings.

Initially, they were easy to miss unless you were specifically looking for them.

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Drosera rotundifolia, I’m guessing? At first they seem pretty localized to this one slightly muddy patch.

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

But then I found my meandering husband, told him I found them, and tried leading him to this same muddy patch, but found a different one.

Every speck of red is a sundew!

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

 

We continued on. The ground got muckier and the plants got amazinger.

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

I’m pretty sure I said, “HOLY SHIT” loud enough for the whole valley to hear when I saw these sundews. Have you ever seen Drosera look happier and dewier?

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Happy, red sundews as far as the eye can see!

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

 

And can’t get enough cobras, of course!

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Also, some kind of gorgeous lily! Can anyone identify it?

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

 

I can’t even begin to describe how surreal it was to see Darlingtonia growing wild. Not just to see them, but to be surrounded by them. I’d kneel down to take a picture of one. After lowering the camera, I’d look to my right and see tons more pitchers. Then I’d looked to my left and see more.

I’m not a religious or spiritual person, but it was a deeply moving experience for me. Imagine what it was like for the first botanists to find them! Seeing these strange plants in the wild, taking samples back, opening them up and examining their contents. Then coming to the realization that these plants are eating.

Also just as an interesting side note, I’m one of those people that gets eaten alive by biting insects and has awful allergic reactions to them. Aaaand we forgot the bug spray! I expected to become a miserable, itchy mess of hives, but I wasn’t! I left the trip with only two bites. Silently, I’m thanking the carnivores for protecting me.

That about wraps Butterfly Valley and my first trip to see wild carnivores! As a little bonus, here are some other interesting flowers and plant life from the area. Of course, I don’t know most of them.

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

Butterfly Valley Botanical Area

butterfly-valley-carnivorous-plants-2016-1

butterfly-valley-carnivorous-plants-2016-2

Thank you all for reading! Any chance you get to experience carnivorous plants in their wild homes, DO IT! Seeing the Darlingtonia and Drosera living happily with no human hand involved was worth the whole trip for me. ūüôā

The husband and I are hoping to visit North Carolina at some point, so wild Dionaea might be next!

Thanks again for reading! See you next time!

Nepenthes. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show & Sale recap!

And it’s over, just like that! The BACPS show & sale is the most anticipated event of the year for many Nor Cal growers, myself included.

It was great to be a part of the show this year, not just an attendee. I’m already planning¬†for next year! Perhaps a sales table to myself, we will see.

Onto the pictures! I was trying to conserve my camera battery, and so wasn’t able to shoot every awesome plant, but think I got a pretty good sampling!

The Sarracenia selection couldn’t be beat!

Sarracenia table. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Sarracenia table. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

I briefly babysat this this gorgeous Nepenthes veitchii at the club table.

Nepenthes veitchii Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Nepenthes veitchii Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

Some of the best plants were on display out in the hallway.

Crazy huge Drosera regia!
Drosera regia. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

Love the spots on these Sarracenia minors.

Sarracenia table. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Nepenthes. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Nepenthes. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Heliamphora. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Nepenthes. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

The color contrast on these Nepenthes ampullaria! I’m in love.

Nepenthes. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

I couldn’t get a wide enough shot of this massive bowl of Cephalotus follicularis, so I settled on making it look like a Ceph landscape.

Cephalotus. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Cephalotus. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

And the SHOW! Oh my goodness, the show!

Nepenthes. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Nepenthes. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Nepenthes. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Nepenthes. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Drosera spiralis. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Nepenthes. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Utricularia. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Darlingtonia. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Sarracenia. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Darlingtonia. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

These red Nepenthes albomarginata were a personal favorite of mine. Such adorable pitchers.

Nepenthes. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

This massive pot of Darlingtonia californica won first in Best in Show. Very well deserved!

Darlingtonia. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

My kind of planter for a Pinguicula gigantea!

Pinguicula gigantea. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Piranha plant. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Nepenthes painting. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Sarracenia table. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Sarracenia table. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Darlingtonia. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

Super adorable Genlisea lobata x flexuosa flower! I have this same hybrid and am suddenly super inspired to make it flower. The owner of this one had it flooded in a glass jar, so I may do something similar.

Genlisea. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

This little flytrap wasn’t my entry, but I’m super proud nonetheless! I gave it to a fellow BACPS member at one of our socials when it was a teeny tiny little thing. The traps were maybe a quarter inch long at the time. Clearly, she took amazing care of it and won second plants in the flytrap category!

Venus flytrap. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

Impressive stem on this Drosera capensis entry!

Drosera capensis. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

I just diagnosed myself with Pinguicula cyclosecta envy.

Pinguicula. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Pinguicula. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

Nepenthes. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

 

Nepenthes klossii, one of the two side-opening Nepenthes species. I don’t think I’d seen an N. klossii in person before!

Nepenthes. Bay Area Carnivorous Plant Show and Sale 2016. By The Carnivore Girl

To say the show was carnivorous plant overload is an understatement, though that isn’t a bad thing! I’m super proud to be part of a group that gathers such amazing participation around this hobby.

I also have to shout out to the LOVELY blog readers, followers, and customers I was able to meet in person at the show. I mean, anyone can takes photos, write word-vomit and put it on the internet. But knowing that my photos and word-vomiting is really reaching, helping, and inspiring people to learn about and grow these plants is such an honor! It was truly wonderful meeting some of you. ūüôā

As always, thank you for reading and checking out the photos! If you enjoyed them, please share this post via the buttons on the left. I’ll see you in the next post!

Carnivorous pitcher plant flower. Sarracenia "Hummer's Hammerhead".

How to tell if a Sarracenia flowers is pollinated

This will be a quick post, but one that I hope is useful to you readers! Sarracenia ¬†are among the easiest carnivorous plants to hand-pollinate and hybridize. With patience and care, it’s fairly simple to create a brand-new, genetically unique plant. Many growers have registered their hybrids named after their spouses, children, or in remembrance of people who passed away. It’s quite romantic, actually!

Hand-pollinating Sarracenia is a pretty simple process. This post from The Pitcher Plant project explains it really well. In this post, I’m only looking to expand on Brooks’ information a bit and provide some more visuals!

So it can be a good six months or more between pollinating the flowers and harvesting the seeds. That’s a long time of not knowing! The clues are the ovary of flower. Go back up and read the post I linked above if you have no idea what I’m talking about!

After the pollen is spent, and all the flower petals drop, you’ll be able to see the ovary clearly.

This is what a pollinated ovary looks like:

Pollinated Sarracenia flower by The Carnivore Girl

Notice the ovary is round and covered in a scaly texture. It’ll start to look like this about a month after pollinating. By early fall, it’ll start turning brown.

To compare, here is an un-pollinated ovary:

Sarracenia flower un-pollinated by The Carnivore Girl

Notice how the shape is more sunken-in and not as round as the pollinated ovary. It also has a smoother texture, and not the bumpy surface.

Final notes:

  • Just because a flower was pollinated, doesn’t mean it’ll produce viable seed, if any seed at all. I’ve cracked open swollen ovaries to find big, fat nothing inside. Sometimes, you gotta try more than once, if you know what I mean.
  • Deformed flower parts, and trying to pollinate past the fertile window will decrease your chances of successful pollination.
  • Timing is pretty important. Flowers have a very short fertility window after opening. I’d say you want to pollinate no more than two weeks after flowers are fully open and dropping pollen.
  • If you apply pollen to all five stigmas, and do so several times, your odds of getting seed is pretty good.
  • If you have lots of natural pollinators like bees, you may have some surprises on your hands! Some people like the control of hand-pollinating, but unknowns ¬†are fun too.

If you’re new to pollinating Sarracenia flowers, I hope this post has been helpful to you! Please share it via the buttons on the left if you think other people will find it helpful too. ūüôā

Catch you next time!

Sarracenia Adrian Slack x Judith Hindle by The Carnivore Girl

Sarracenia in the full swing of Spring!

Hey everyone, thanks for checking out my Venus flytraps in the full swing of Spring¬†last week! As promised, here’s the Sarracenia’s spring show!

This is especially exciting for me, because I got many new Sarrs later last year, just as they started to go dormant. So this is the first time I’m seeing their spring growth!

Sarracenia do like to take their sweet time putting out flowers first, then pitchers. It’s an awful tease that lasts like two months!

Sarracenia North American pitcher plant flower by The Carnivore Girl

 

Here’s the flower of one of my classic beauties, Judith Hindle x flava var. atropurpurea.

Sarracenia North American pitcher plant flower by The Carnivore Girl

Fully opened! I love the veins on the petals and that gorgeous range of colors!

Sarracenia North American pitcher plant flower by The Carnivore Girl

Just for fun, here’s a shot of the flower from last year:

The flower of a carnivorous North American pitcher plant. (Sarracenia Judith Hindle x flava var. atropurpurea.)

 

I’ve had Sarracenia oreophila x purpurea for the same length of time as Judith Hindle x flava atro, but this is the first time I’ve seen it flower. Looks like the petals have been painted with a watercolor brush!

Sarracenia North American pitcher plant flower by The Carnivore Girl

And the first oreophila x purp pitchers! Ah, how I’ve missed you!

Sarracenia oreophila x purpurea by The Carnivore Girl

 

Like usual, my regular purpurea was one of the first to pitcher. I love a fresh purp pitcher!

Sarracenia purpurea by The Carnivore Girl

Here’s another lovely purp hybrid (Leah Wilkerson x Brunswick Beauty) that I enjoy seeing the fresh details before it matures and goes super dark.

sarracenia-pitcher-plant-purpurea-hybrid-1

Here’s a more mature pitcher, to compare how much it darkens.

Sarracenia x moorei x purpurea hybrids make some beautiful ruffled hoods!
Sarracenia ‘Leah Wilkerson’ x ‘Brunswick Beauty’

Sarracenia flava “Extreme Red Throat” is freshly opening and showing off that distinctive marking already!

Sarracenia flava "Extreme Red Thoat" by The Carnivore Gril

 

Flava x catesbaei has some gorgeous fresh coloring too!

Sarracenia flava x catesbaei by The Carnivore Girl

Sarracenia flava x catesbaei by The Carnivore Girl

 

Early this year, I bought plants from the one and only Mike Wang, who was amazing enough to send me a Leah Wilkerson x Adrian Slack!!!! Not enough exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was one of the first pitchers to emerge, and is currently the tallest. I’m estimating it’s close to two feet tall. The rhizome isn’t even that big! Just a super stunning plant. I can’t wait to see how it grows throughout the season.

Sarracenia Leah Wilkerson x Adrian Slack by The Carnivore Girl

Sarracenia Leah Wilkerson x Adrian Slack by The Carnivore Girl
Sarracenia Leah Wilkerson x Adrian Slack by The Carnivore Girl

 

Sarracenia Leah Wilkerson x Adrian Slack by The Carnivore Girl

Sarracenia Leah Wilkerson x Adrian Slack by The Carnivore Girl

Sarracenia Leah Wilkerson x Adrian Slack by The Carnivore Girl

Sarracenia Leah Wilkerson x Adrian Slack by The Carnivore Girl

 

Here’s another stunner from Mike. This one is Adrian Slack x Judith Hindle (man, those two get around, am I right?? :P)

Sarracenia Adrian Slack x Judith Hindle by The Carnivore Girl

Sarracenia Adrian Slack x Judith Hindle by The Carnivore Girl

Sarracenia Adrian Slack x Judith Hindle by The Carnivore Girl

Sarracenia Adrian Slack x Judith Hindle by The Carnivore Girl

I am just slightly¬†mesmerized by this hood. Don’t mind me.

Sarracenia Adrian Slack x Judith Hindle by The Carnivore Girl

 

Thank you all for looking! These are my best looking Sarracenia at the moment. The leucophyllas, minors, and other hybrids are coming up slower, but will likely have their own post in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

If you were as mesmerized by the plants as I am, please feel free to share this post via the buttons to the left! I super appreciate it. ūüôā

Thanks again, catch y’all next time!

Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

Venus flytraps in the full swing of Spring!

Hi, everyone! It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged. March was a fairly hectic month, but I’ve got lots on¬†blog calendar for you in the coming months! ūüôā

First up: Let’s check out the Venus flytraps! They’ve been putting out sweet traps for over a month already.

Fused Tooth is making typical-looking traps right now. In my experience, they fuse toward the end of the season.

Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

Those pink cilia, though!

Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

Also feeding themselves for the first time in months, and biting off more than they can chew.

Fused Tooth Venus flytrap by The Carnivore Girl

Here’s the same plant last summer when I first got it:

Fused Tooth Venus flytrap by The Carnivore Girl

 

And last fall. Fully fused goodness!

Fused Tooth Venus flytrap by The Carnivore Girl

 

Here’s a pot of young typical flytraps putting out good growth and coloring up nicely!

Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

 

Here’s Bristletooth, just looking sexy!

Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

 

Here’s a freaky looking one, but can you believe it’s Justina Davis?? I know! These came out of tissue culture, which may have given it these freaky traits! Interesting how even cloned cultivars can look very different from each other.
Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

 

Here’s one of my new favorites, FTS ¬†Werewolf Spawn! I still intend on getting the original Werewolf one day, but right now I’m enjoying the hell out of this puppy (hehe!).
Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

 

FTS Maroon Monster is looking dark, sexy, and mean! I’m seriously considering entering this baby into the BACPS show this year.

Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

 

Speaking of sexy and mean, DC XL is looking that way too! This is still a young plant, and it’s making average adult sized traps already (about an inch or so long).

Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

 

Pink Venus is my other most impressive looking all-red Venus flytrap lately! The all-red ones seem to grow a bit behind their greener siblings.

Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

And lastly, FTS Crimson Sawtooth, my all-red pride and joy, is not far behind!

Venus flytraps by The Carnivore Girl

You may remember most of my flytraps suffering from a mite attack last summer, so I’m watching like a hawk for those bastards. The plants looking healthy and strong this year, so hopefully they stay that way!

Thanks a bunch for looking! I hope all your plants are looking great right now too. In the next blog post, I’ll have a ton of Sarracenia photos! Those came out of dormancy a bit later than the flytraps, and they’re finally opening for business and looking stellar.

Any questions or comments on the flytraps, please leave a comment below! Catch you all next time!

Maria, owner of TheCarnivoreGirl.com

2015 in Review: My First Full Year of Plant Blogging!

And we’re at the end of another year! What a fun, plant-filled year it was. I enjoyed¬†looking back while doing my 2014 Year in Review post exactly one year ago, so why not make it a tradition? Here’s a quick recap of ¬†adventures in 2015! Make sure you read through¬†the end… I have some big news to kick off 2016!

Read more

Learn how to treat mite damage on Venus flytraps

Sad & Ugly Plants? How to Spot & Treat Mites

As a fairly experienced grower of five years, it was embarrassing.

This past summer, my Venus flytraps weren’t thriving like they had the year before. In fact, they looked REALLY¬†bad. I gave them a dose of a systemic insecticide that helped wiped out my mealybugs earlier this year (imidacloprid). No improvement.

When I had more dead leaves than live ones, I knew I had a problem I had to tackle fast.

This is what my plants looked like. ūüôĀ

Learn how to treat mite damage on Venus flytraps

My once-gorgeous FTS Crimson Sawtooth looked like crap. ūüôĀ

Learn how to treat mite damage on Venus flytraps

New traps were dying before fully developing! I wanted to cry.

Learn how to treat mite damage on Venus flytraps

Learn how to treat mite damage on Venus flytraps

 

From what I read in books and searched online, my best educated guess was spider mites as the culprit. I took photos of my damaged plants and posted in the FlytrapCare Forums to get feedback from other growers, and my suspicion was confirmed. I had pretty gnarly mite damage.

The bad news: Mites are tough, and many systemic insecticides don’t work on them. To truly take care of them, you specifically need a good miticide. And the best miticide on the market is expensive and comes in a huge quantity.¬†

This is where I really want to sing the praises of FlytrapCare.com. Their store offers small doses of miticide at an affordable price. They are all $19.95, so you might as well buy Avid, the best one.

This is the dose of Avid that I received. Yes, that tiny little bottle can create five gallons! More than enough for me!

Avid Miticide available in small doses!

As mentioned in the description, Avid is effective on mobile life stages of mites, but not on eggs. To best eradicate all life stages, apply once every three days, for a total of three applications. Avid is a toxic pesticide, so be sure to use proper protection and read the label when handling it, even in small doses! 

And, oh man! I saw my flytraps bounce back to life almost immediately! Check out these shots from last week!

Red Venus flytrap cultivars, click to see more!

Red Venus flytrap cultivars, click to see more!

The traps are alive! No more 90% dead leaves!

Red Venus flytrap cultivars, click to see more!

Red Venus flytrap cultivars, click to see more!

 

You can see some of the old damage on these typicals. I’m waiting for the whole leaf to die off before trimming!

Dionaea muscipula, Venus flytrap.

Dionaea muscipula, Venus flytrap.

So how do I know if I have mites? 

Mites tend to attack when the weather is hot and dry, which was definitely the case here in California! If you have damage that looks similar to mine, and hot, dry weather to match, chances are good that you have them. The mites themselves are very hard to see and nearly microscopic. They look like tiny red or white specks. Spider mites may also weave web-like structures around your plants.

I’m bummed that my flytraps aren’t as glorious-looking as last year, but this was definitely a valuable lesson! I know what to look for and can hopefully stop damage sooner next time! This is also my wake up call to take preventative action against pests during dormancy this year.

Final note: I don’t receive any kind of commission from Flytrapcare.com. I wanted to share¬†what worked for me, and hopefully you guys will benefit from the info too!

If you did find this post helpful, please share it with the buttons to the left! Everyone should have the knowledge to treat plant damage at an affordable cost!

Thanks for reading! Til next time,

Maria

Sarracenia. North American pitcher plant.

Sarracenia Insanity! My pilgrimage to the Asylum

If you’ve searched carnivorous plants online at all, you may have come across a blog known as The Pitcher Plant Project.¬†My pal¬†Rob Co is the owner of said blog, and the greenhouse in which he houses his plants is affectionately known as The Asylum (I love it!). My friend Megan¬†is also a friend of Rob’s and visited the area last weekend! The three of us got together and spent a few hours in carnivorous plant insanity paradise!

It’s been a dream for me to visit a personal collection like at the Asylum since I first got into carnivorous plants. Please enjoy my MANY photos from the visit below!

Read more

Start ’em young! 5 Carnivorous plant books for kids!

Many people first experience carnivorous plants as kids. For a few, the fascination never leaves and carries into adulthood. Others return to the hobby as adults after a long hiatus and maybe having their own kids!

It’s never to early to learn about nature’s coolest and most curious plants! Check out these five carnivorous plant books for kids at various reading levels, and consider them for the young savage gardener in your life!

1. Hungry Plants 

hungry-plants

I really like the illustration style in this book too! Check out the picture below of a Heliamphora with a dinosaur!

hungry-plants-heliamphora-dinosaur

Who knows if Heliamphora really was the same plant back then, but it is cool to think about!

 

2. Plants Bite Back!

plants-that-bite-back

Plants Bite Back! is an older publication (1999) but the basic facts offered are still relevant. This book covers carnivorous plants as well as cacti and other plants with curious evolutionary defenses.

 

3. Plants That Eat Animals

plants-that-eat-animals

A book with large, full-color photographs and great basic information on Venus flytraps, bladderworts, sundews, and more! This is considered ideal for 5-6 year olds.

 

4. Venus Flytraps

venus-flytraps

This book is all about the Venus Flytrap! It includes a “For Adults” section with activity ideas to do with their kids! This another older book (published 1998) but still full of relevant information! It even has a glossary for pronouncing more difficult words!

 

5. Flytraps! Plants That Bite Back

flytraps-plants-that-bite-back

Despite the ¬†title, this book also covers sundews, bladderworts, and cobra plants! What’s even cooler is this book supports a UK-based charity focused on improving literacy and science education for kids!

I hope you enjoyed this selection of children’s books! Got any more for me? Let me know in a comment below!

Even If you don’t have kids, share this posts with parents you know who want to give their kids an early interest in science!

Parents and adults! Looking for carnivorous plant books to read yourself? Check out the books page!

Cute baby mantis hanging out on a Sarracenia flava!

Do your plants have friends, too? Meet the critters on my carnivores!

After growing carnivores for a while, you’ll notice how many insects they attract! Usually these insects are lured in by the plants’ scents and sweet nectar to meet their fate as food.

Others slightly higher up the food chain notice the insect feeding ground and want in on it, too! The unlucky ones become food too, like these unfortunate spiders.

But a few have either the intelligence or adaptations to live peacefully¬†with the carnivores and not become prey themselves. Here’s a few of the smarter critters I’ve found living among the carnivorous for longer than a single day!

This cute baby mantis made its home near the top of my biggest Sarracenia flava var. cuprea pitcher. Nice choice in real estate, little guy (or girl?)! I love mantids! I really wish more of them hung around the garden.

Cute baby mantis hanging out on a Sarracenia flava!

 

I’m not sure what species this white spider is (any entomologists out there know?), but I’ve seen a couple of them hanging out on the Sarracenia. I know jumping spiders are pretty common carnivorous plant companions, but they’re often too small and quick to get a good photo! These guys are bigger and are more into staying still for the camera.

White garden spider

 

Again, not an entomologist, but this little guy was cool-looking! Look at that eye, and the two tails! Perhaps a damselfly or dragonfly nymph?

Interesting fly or nymph of some kind.

 

These orange and black beetles are pretty common around here. I’m not a huge beetle lover like The Beetle Girl, but his face is kinda cute!

Orange and black beetle

 

Snail! Not an insect, and more of a pest than the above critters, but I do have a soft spot for snails. I don’t usually see them on my pots because I keep them off the ground. This one was found under the lip of a water tray, probably trying to escape the rain a while back!

Garden snail

Snails have cute faces too, so I took a couple shots of its eyes extending.

Garden snail Garden snail

 

What kind of visitors do you get hanging around your plants? Are most of them friends or foes? Tell me all about ’em in a comment!

Cephalotus follicularis

Got Instagram? You NEED to follow these accounts!

A few weeks ago, I made a post featuring my favorite blogs. Blogs are great, but Instagram really has my attention lately! Because it’s so visual, I can really put forth my best photos on there, and see some amazing photos in return!

In this post, I’m featuring my 10 favorite Instagram accounts! Most (but not all) are plant-related. Some include carnivorous plants and some don’t. It was a tough decision, but I chose the ones that will hopefully be of most interest to you, my dear readers!

Enjoy the feature and consider following these fantastic Instagrammers!

@snownyy

Siru is a talented, young carnivorous plant grower from Finland. In fact, she has the largest carnivorous plant collection in Finland! Her photos are just as bright and happy as her plants! I really enjoy seeing her plants on my feed (if just slightly jealous! ;)). She’s also very active on Instagram, often commenting with advice and growing tips for new carnivorous plant growers. She’s definitely one to follow for beautiful plants and lots of knowledge!

snownyy_ig

 

@helenahpornsiri

Helen Ahpornsiri is a botanical artist unlike any other! She uses tiny pieces of fern fronds to make collages, usually of animals. I’m blown away every time I see her photos come up on my feed! Every little detail is so intricate and intentional. Her art is a joy to just explore and look through.

 

@naorinmoon 

Nao is a photographer from Japan who creates some beautifully atmospheric images. Most have botanical subject matter but not all of them do. The aesthetic is very airy and filled with diffused light. Really inspiring and beautiful eye candy!

  A photo posted by nao (@naorinmoon) on

 

@youknowsbenny

Paul is a carnivorous plant grower from the UK, and creator of the widely used #carnivoroustagram hashtag. His feed is filled with bright, clear photos of the craziest-looking Dionaea cultivars! He also grows stunning Cephalotus, Darlingtonia, Sarracenia, and Drosera.¬†I’ll be honest, I basically live vicariously through his feed! Good thing he’s also a nice dude who’s always helping by answering carnivorous plant questions!¬†

 

@tornsweater

Adam’s account is a very interesting peek into his life. He shows everything from his stunning Cephalotus grown under LED lights (among other cool plants), his bearded dragon named Typhon, his frogs in their vivarium, and most recently, the senior pup he just adopted! I don’t follow many “lifestyle” Instagram accounts, but I really enjoy¬†seeing life through Adam’s lens!

 

@seedtostem

Seed to Stem is one of the few things that makes me wish I lived on the east coast! This boutique from Massachusetts is the kind of place where I would spend aaaaalll of my time and money. They have cool plants (of course), and tons of decor, jewelry, and many more curiosities with a rustic, vintage aesthetic. Totally my kind of vibe. 

A photo posted by Seed to Stem (@seedtostem) on

 

@jenerlys

Jennifer is a designer and nature-lover from Portland, OR. Where better to be in love with nature, right? Her photos of the Pacific Northwest are breathtaking, but my favorite thing about her feed are her botanical arrangements, often created in lovely, symmetrical mandala forms! It’s so cool to see geometry and symmetry in natural forms through her eyes. I’m definitely inspired to look at nature in a different way, thanks to her!

A photo posted by Jennifer Erlys (@jenerlys) on

 

@sarraceniacrazy

If I were to guess, probably about 20% of my Sarracenia collection has come from this guy! He doesn’t have a website, so I have plug his IG. ūüėČ Eric is a grower from Kentucky, and he is definitely Sarracenia crazy (though there are flytraps and non-carnivorous plants in there too)! His feed is filled with seedlings and adult plants that exhibit a huge range of traits and colors!¬†

A photo posted by eric (@sarraceniacrazy) on

 

@mellowist

I love this account! It’s all about plants, primarily¬†really cool and unusual-looking cacti and succulents. However I also love seeing the unique pottery, planters and figurines hanging out with the plants! I tend to fail miserably at succulents, but these photos always make me want more.

A photo posted by @mellowist on

 

@lovelydeadcrap

And finally, an account dedicated to an aesthetic near and dear to my heart! @lovelydeadcrap features moody photos of dead plant matter. Nice to know I’m not the only one who loves macro photos with muted tones and crunchy textures! Use the hashtag #lovelydeadcrap for a chance to be featured on the account!¬†

How did ya like these IG accounts? Which ones were your favorites? Tell me in a comment below! If you love them as much as I do, share this post to give these folks some extra following!

And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram too! See y’all there!

FTS Crimson Sawtooth. A red cultivar of Venus Flytrap with short, jagged teeth. Click to see more!

Special treat! Plants you’ve NEVER seen before + UJB!

Venus flytrap in a thrifted ceramic container. Click to see more!

Time for another special Urban Jungle Bloggers post! With this month’s theme, I took the opportunity to challenge myself and post some plants that haven’t appeared on¬†this blog yet. You may have seen some of these on my Instagram if you follow (hint: you should!).

This month’s UJB theme was #plantcolorpop and what a challenge it was for me! I favor neutral, earthy colors¬†in almost everything, from the backgrounds of my photos to my clothes. My favorite color is green, so I love bits¬†of bright green here and there but overall I’m not a “color pop” type of person! ¬†Still, I welcome a challenge!

For these colorful backgrounds, I used colored cardstock paper I had for making cards and crafting.

Utricularia nelumbifolia was by far my favorite plant with the blue background! This is an epiphytic utricularia from Brazil! Nelumbo is a genus of aquatic plants, most often known as lotuses. The blue really lends that aquatic, lotus-y feel!

Utricularia nelumbifolia, an epiphytic bladderwort with lotus-like leaves. It's also a carnivorous plant!

 

I also shot this typical Venus flytrap on the blue background, but I actually prefer it on the pink background! (Scroll back up to see the first image of this post) That is pretty shocking, as I’m NOT a girl who likes pink at all!

Venus flytrap in a thrifted ceramic container. Click to see more!

 

I liked the contrast between FTS Maroon Monster’s leaves and the greenish yellow background.

FTS Maroon Monster. A large, robust, red cultivar of Venus flytrap.

 

I like how this little flytrap really blends in with the background, but the planter it’s in stands out so strongly! (Psst: Win this plant + tons more in my latest giveaway! Click here!)

Venus flytrap in a thrifted ceramic container. Click to see more!

 

Some of the red Sarracenia looked really nice on a different green background! This one below is a young “Reptilian Rose” (Thanks, Rob!) You can see the hint of a pointy, funky lip on the right pitcher, but these divisions are still a bit small to display those crazy, reptilian traits! Maybe in another year or two, but I do love the red color they’ve become!

Young pitchers of Sarracenia "Reptilian Rose". North American pitcher plant hybrid.

Another young Sarracenia division diggin’ the minty green background! This one is “Lamentations” x ¬†flava red.

Sarracenia flava red x "Lamentations". North American pitcher plant hybrid.

 

FTS Crimson Sawtooth, you are beautiful against any background color. Be still, my heart!

FTS Crimson Sawtooth. A red cultivar of Venus Flytrap with short, jagged teeth. Click to see more!

FTS Crimson Sawtooth. A red cultivar of Venus Flytrap with short, jagged teeth. Click to see more!

FTS Crimson Sawtooth. A red cultivar of Venus Flytrap with short, jagged teeth. Click to see more!

FTS Crimson Sawtooth. A red cultivar of Venus Flytrap with short, jagged teeth. Click to see more!

 

I was genuinely surprised at how many plants actually looked really good against the pink background! Here’s Utricularia livida! You can see the shape of the flower very nicely against the color pop.

Utricularia livida. A carnivorous bladderwort with tiny, delicate flowers. Click to see more!

Utricularia livida. A carnivorous bladderwort with tiny, delicate flowers. Click to see more!

And last but not least, here’s a shot of my smallest Sarracenia “Hummer’s Hammerhead”! I don’t think I’ve shown these guys on the blog since I first got them, and they were all headless. They’ve come a long way since then!

Sarracenia "Hummer's Hammerhead". A North American pitcher plant hybrid.

Thank you for checking out this #plantcolorpop challenge! I hope you enjoyed it. ūüôā

Check out the Urban Jungle Blogger community here! Also check out the lovely founders, Judith and Igor.

Which color background did you like best? Let me know in a comment!