Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Field Trip: California Carnivores

A couple weeks ago I decided to take the hour trip to California Carnivores to use the gift cards I won at the BACPS Show back at the end of June. It's not too far, but it was a hot day, and the AC on my car is out. I was definitely happy to finally arrive.

California Carnivores sign.
The quirky sign and wonderful drought-friendly landscaping at California Carnivores.
Outdoor bogs at California Carnivores.
Lots of Sarracenia basking in the blazing sun.
California Carnivores is located in Sebastopol, CA, a bit north of San Francisco. It's a really nice little town, comprised primarily of nurseries, antique stores, and apple orchards. California Carnivores is mostly a large greenhouse, along with some outdoor bogs/growing areas.

It's also got the nicest display of carnivorous plants probably on the West Coast. I made the mistake of trying to buy a couple display plants – embarrassing! (Sorry Damon). This post is mostly focused on their displays, which were really something special. Got quite a few pictures!

Heliamphora at California Carnivores.
I don't know enough about Heliamphora to identify these, but they were in bloom and beautiful.
Utricularia longifolia in bloom at California Carnivores.
Utricularia longifolia putting on quite a show with some Sarracenia hybrids.
These (and several of the other more delicate plants) were growing near the wall of the nursery that was basically a huge swamp cooler. The cool, damp air was really nice, especially considering the temperature outside was in the low 90s F (~33 C). I wore a long sleeve shirt, which was a mistake.

Sarracenia flava var. rubricorpora at California Carnivores.
This Sarracenia flava var. rubricorpora was almost 4 ft (120 cm) tall. Wonderful!
Drosera binata var. multifida f. extrema at California Carnivores.
I think this hanging basket of Drosera binata is probably the extrema form. Lots of branching and red color.
Cephalotus follicularis at California Carnivores.
Amazing color on these Cephalotus follicularis.
Brocchinia reducta at California Carnivores.
Brocchinia reducta, a rare carnivorous bromeliad.
Darlingtonia california at California Carnivores.
These Darlingtonia california had wonderful coloration, and were BIG. The head was about the size of my fist.
Drosera erythrorhiza ssp. squamosa at California Carnivores.
Drosera erythrorhiza ssp. squamosa should really be asleep for the summer by now.
In addition to the display plants and the regular stock (i.e. lots of Sarracenia, South African sundews, VFTs, various Nepenthes, and others) there was a section with some Rare and Exciting plants. The first that caught my eye was Sarracenia 'Adrian Slack'. These not-so-large specimens of the prized cultivar were going for $125. I wish I had a better Sarracenia setup (although I probably wouldn't invest in a rare cultivar like this for a while). My girlfriend asked why these were so special compared to other S. leucophylla and I had to do a lot of explaining.

Sarracenia 'Adrian Slack' at California Carnivores.
The rare plant table is also the helpless yearning table.
These VFTs, however, required no explanation. Look at those silly little cartoon traps! Alas, I can't remember the name of the cultivar, or the price.

Wonderful new Dionaea muscipula (Venus Fly-Trap) cultivar at California Carnivores.
If I had a better VFT growing environment I would have totally snatched these up.
We also had a peek at one of their indoor propagation areas, with loads of plants getting prepared to be sold someday. Looks like a lot of work, but probably pretty satisfying work.

Propagation/growing area at California Carnivores.
Carnivores for days!
It was a really fun trip, and I'll definitely be back later in the season, when Damon said they'll probably have some Drosera slackii available. I don't know if I'll be able to make it to the potluck BBQ this upcoming Saturday. I hope so! Gotta get my AC fixed first though. The plants that I brought back with me (which I'll post about later) did not enjoy the hour-long ride in a baking hot car.

One thing I noticed going through these pictures – the quality of light in a greenhouse like that is really ideal for picture taking. No harsh shadows or weird colors. Just pretty plants!

Bromeliad and Tillandsia display at California Carnivores.
This bromeliad/Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) area is quite evocative.

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