Sunday, July 24, 2011

The growing carnivorous plant family

Went to the nursery that sells some carnivorous plants today. Because visiting there a couple weeks ago just wasn't enough, obviously. Ended up buying more nepenthes and some other things, including one of the red venus fly traps I'd admired last time I went there. The two nepenthes I bought are nepenthes ventricosa x carunculata var Robusta, and nepenthes "lantern." The "lantern" thing I think is the name for nepenthes Rebecca Soper, but I'm not totally sure. Whatever it is, the colour is great.

Also bought a drosera adelae, which I think I'll have to re-think the potting options of, if the leaves do grow up to a foot long. It's not as attractive as other droseras, but it is interesting. There were also a couple of sarracenias that I picked up.

It's fun to have a place that stocks these kinds of plants in the local(ish) area. The lady at the counter was saying that local public schools buy a lot of the stock because kids find it a fun and interesting educational tool. Which is pretty awesome, when you think about it.

Storm clouds



Thursday, July 07, 2011

No, the gateau is for misplacing his helmet last week...

I'm not very good at farewells.

I tend to get all awkward and be like, "Well, see ya!" *scuffs floor with shoe while trying to not say twee farewell-type things or get all emotional*

So I often bake things instead. Baking being the international language of hello/happy birthday/farewell/I'm sorry/love you/pretty much anything else you can think of having an international language for that revolves around baked goods. Last night, I made a Black Forest Cake and chocolate trees to accompany it to farewell one of my bosses (who was also my favourite boss, but shhhh, don't tell anyone!). She's moving on to another job, and some of the other people in the office and I had been talking about what we could do as a farewell.

Going out to lunch was one thing.

Cake also seemed like a good plan.

Cake is almost always a good plan. Unless it leads to peasants deciding to cut your head off when you say things like, "Let them eat cake." But thankfully, that sort of thing is rare in Australia.

After making dinner last night, I set about baking the cake. Nothing too strenuous, just chocolate cake. Mix, bake, cool, cut, fill with cherries and jam, ice and apply trees. The trees are deceptively simple to make. Just melt the chocolate and then drizzle the chocolate around until it looks tree-shaped. It was a crazy amount of fun, and I love how each one is really, really different. And you get chocolate all over the place, but that's fun too.

Took the cake to work without the trees applied to it this morning (and only approached one corner like a rally driver until I remembered, "ICED CAKE IN A COOL BAG ON THE BACK SEAT! ARRRGHHH!" and drove really sedately after that). After lunch, T and I sorted out the cake and took it into the office of the boss who's leaving.

It was pretty well received. But cake usually is! :D

Still doesn't make farewells any easier though. I know she'll still be working in the area and we can catch up, but I will miss her being at work. She was loads of fun to work with, and I learnt a huge amount from her.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Nepenthes addiction

So I have this thing for nepenthes.

Well, carnivorous plants in general.

I'm willing to admit it - there is a bit of an addiction there. But I thought I had it under control (there's a 12 step program for nepenthes dependency, right? Right??). It was working well until today - I only had one greenhouse for them, there were two plants, they were happy, I was happy.

And then this afternoon, when I was heading out to do some shopping for things I forgot to get on Friday, I thought, "Hey, while I'm heading out, and since it's such a nice day, why not go to that nursery and see if they have any more pitcher plants? They probably won't, but it'll be fun to check it out."

Drove down there, went in not expecting there to be anything much, maybe just some alatas/ventratas. Same old same old.


They had a lot of different nepenthes! Nepenthes heaven! <3 They were all hybrids, but I couldn't care less. They were interesting and cute and I... Well... I bought some. And a sarracenia. And a sarracenia purpurea. You know, as you do whenever you go to a nursery and leave with a load of carnivorous plants and nothing else. The venus fly traps also looked tempting - they were different to the ones usually available in nurseries, but I figured I'd show some restraint. There's always next time!

Anyway, when I got home, I spent about an hour repotting them, talking encouragingly to the little plant that doesn't look all that well (I actually bought it because it looked so sad...) and putting them in the greenhouses. Hopefully they'll do well. The two larger plants should be fine, although I am planning to buy some bigger pots for them soon and repot them - I think they're in a mix of coir and soil and peat moss. I think I'll probably keep a bit of that, but mostly use sphagnum moss in repotting. The baby nepenthes are all in larger pots with sphagnum moss now too. Just not sure how the baby nepenthes tobaica x ampullaria will do.