Monday, April 09, 2007

April Snow Showers...

...bring no May flowers.

As a new homeowner, I impulsively purchased and planted some tulip bulbs in the fall. With the warm temperatures, leaves shot up. As you can see from our Easter scene above, snow and cold temperatures have threatened my flowers. Some of the worst affected have been cut and are sitting inside in a vase, where I hope to have colors emerge.

In further plant news, I have been in the business of distributing pitcher plants. A graduate student in our department finished his research with them and I have taken it as a personal mission to give as many away as possible (he started with around 100, and I was enlisted somewhere around 50). With one sitting on my counter, it's easy to lasso volunteers as they show interest in my plant; by now, it seems half the faculty have at least one. The stash has steadily decreased -- I took pride in distributing twenty in two days last week (excluding the gentleman I referred who went straight to the source and collected ten more for his personal greenhouse).

For those of you ignorant of all things pitcher plant, it is a carnivorous plant (our construction guys were sold on a couple with that information). Natural habitats are bogs, so one favorable quality is that they need to be in saturated soil -- no real worry for overwatering.

At the top of their leaves, there are downward-pointing hairs. Once a creature finds itself inside, the hairs make it difficult to emerge, leaving an exhausted creature condemned to the lower section. The plants secrete an enzyme that can digest little critters who find themselves so caught. Periodically, these plants will send up a shoot that can flower; the one shown above would normally have a pinkish bloom, but mine has been in some indirect light, causing the green to remain.

Even with my amateur sales pitch, many have found happy homes. Now don't you have a sudden desire to visit me at work for one of the remaining plants? If you're a long distance from me, perhaps you can visit a greenhouse to secure one for yourself.


David said...

Hey Faith

Your pitcher plant looks like it is doing really well - that's a healthy looking flower. Only one other one from the whole batch is flowering as well as that.

Luckily tulips are tough. They should still be ok once all this snow melts.

Faith said...

Luckily, you were right about the tulips, David. They are all blooming/ready to bloom.

I'll have to give you and Rachel credit for the pitcher plant, though. After all, it was under your joint care before I 'adopted' it! My office one is also worthy of a picture -- I think that bloom is more spectacular.