(Propagation) Air layering

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Credit: Hub Pages

I find that plants which are harder to propagate through cuttings have a higher rooting chance through air layering. And, to increase the chances of the stalk rooting, I like to use a knife to make a cut through the stalk, usually about quarter- or halfway. Then, I smear rooting powder on that open wound, and bury that portion in the soil, and pin it down.

Apparently, open wounds on the plants (and open wounds nearer to plant nodes) encourage rooting. The rooting powder should encourage it a lot further.

I am trying this on my lemon verbena right now. I shall report any progress I have.

(Photography) Infrared attempt

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A deliberate attempt at longer exposure to create the motion blur in the infrared shot.

(Gardening happys) Sunbird, spiders

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1 A sunbird startled itself by not seeing me and landing on my plant barely 20cm from my face. Then it saw me, flew backward and kinda hovered, and then chirped at me vigorously like it was scolding me.

2 Finding a small family of tiny spiders barely 3mm across licing beneath the leaves of some of my plants. Cute little critters. I left them alone.

/end happys/ =)

(Propagation) Venus flytrap

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Many people I know are quite wary about propagating any sort of carnivorous plants. They’re worried about the hows, and whether the plant will suffer from root shock, how long new plantlets will take to grow, and all that.

For venus flytraps, the dionaea muscipula, one doesn’t have to worry so much, as the plant isn’t that susceptible to root shock. Of course, all due care should be taken to make sure that one doesn’t jar the roots too much.

For ease of propagation, you may want to uproot the whole plant carefully and clear the soil from the roots first, so that you can see what you’re working with a lot better.

Holding the plant’s stalk firmly with one hand, use the other to tug on a leaf of the VFT, pulling downwards so as to tear off a part of the stem with it (the slightly whitish part). This will allow a much greater rate of success in rooting. Cut off the flytrap’s head to conserve energy for the leaf.

Prepare a clear container and fill it with about half an inch of peat moss. Wet the peat thoroughly so that the moisture is even throughout. Make sure that the peat is wet enough to mimic a bog condition, but not so wet as to cause excessive rot throughout. Place the white part of the leaf pulling slightly into the peat. After you do so, cover the container and leave it in a place with bright shade, out of the way of direct sunlight.

Plantlets should form in about a month or two from where the white tip of the pullings touch the peat. You may chose to repot them with care at this stage, and gradually expose them to stronger sun.

(Growing conditions) Plantain

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When a local gardener posted about ‘plantain’, I was a little awestruck. A banana is a herb?

Upon more enquiry and research, she was referring to the plantago major, the greater or common plantain, which is a plant so reputedly resilient to almost-all growing conditions that the Native Americans called it the ‘white man’s footprints’ because Europeans brought the seeds of the plantain along with them when they colonized many places, and America was one of them.

According to a general Google search, plantain does well in any kind of soil, even in very compacted ones. It grows from a rhizome, but can be propagated very easily from seeds. Also, it seems to take any sort of conditions from bright shade to full sun very well.

Within less than three to four months of sowing the seeds, my plantain is now about 10cm tall, and is sending out flower stalks, upon which I can already see seed heads forming.

There are many uses to the plantain. One can use the raw leaves as part of a salad (however, the older leaves can be rather tough, bitter and fibrous); the leaves can also be used as a compress for insect and snake bites; and it can also be used on open wounds as the plant and leaves contain a chemical which acts as a powerful coagulant.

One website even suggested this healing salve: “In large non-metallic pan place 1lb. of entire Plantain plant chopped, and 1 cup lard, cover, cook down on low heat till all is mushy and green. Strain while hot, cool and use for burns, insect bites, rashes, and all sores. Note: used as night cream for wrinkles.”

Care: Any type of soil mix
Sunlight: Preferably full sun; however, it can grow well with four hours direct sunlight, and do slightly less well in constant bright shade
Propagation: By seeds

(Photography) Growing out of the box

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Minor editing of one of the pictures of the trees I’d shot at Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin.

(Article) Diet of Contaminated Insects Harms Endangered Carnivorous Plants

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Adapted from Science Daily

Scientists in the UK are reporting evidence that consumption of insects contaminated with a toxic metal may be a factor in the mysterious global decline of carnivorous plants. Their study describes how meals of contaminated insects have adverse effects on the plants.

Full article here

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