Saturday, December 31, 2011
I looked at my fine plant with new eyes. Not only was it beautiful, it was deadly!
As you might imagine, I had a problem leaving live moths in the pitchers, scrabbling helplessly against the leaf's slickly haired sides.
Judging that the plants had more than enough to eat, I saved them.
oh thank you giant primate
One I freed was a lovely Virginia Ctenucha, one of the wasp-mimic moths.
Just couldn't let it sink down into the goo.
Also had two gorgeous Ailanthus Webworm moths, Atteva punctella, one of the larger microlepidopterans, with a beautiful veined orange-and-white rolled wing. They flew away the second they were out in the air. Couldn't get a photo.
Earwigs, wasps, bees, flies, honeybees, syrphid flies, hoverflies--anything that comes to flowers will come to a pitcher plant, apparently, only it's the Hotel California for pollinators.
Even paper wasps are not immune to its sweet, honey-scented charms. It has a competitive advantage in that it's quite hardy and in full, sweet-scented bloom when practically everything else has croaked from the first frosts.
Stick to flowers, guys. These plants are bad news.
Pollinators swarm my Suffolk Pink chrysanthemum just a few feet away. It's the hardiest and latest-blooming of all. It doesn't even get going until Halloween in southern Ohio, and it's a blessing blooming that late. (It's done now; these photos have aged a bit since I took them.)
"Suffolk," in a few different colors, was probably the first mum ever brought to the New World. The foundation stock for my plants (yes, it spreads modestly and delightfully) came from peerless pastel painter and partner in peripatetic hilarity Cindy House, from her Vermont/New Hampshire gardens. (You may remember her spotting the "body bags" outside a Massachusetts restaurant).
A nice, super hardy, willing plant. Not like those nasty carnivorous ones.
I have the pitcher plants in the greenhouse, on the cold floor next to an outside vent, for the winter. Hoping I'm doing right by them. They're just too precious to me now to let them freeze into the pond ice again. Thanks again, Cheryl! All it took was five years and some sphagnum...