About Me

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I am just an orchid hobbyist, trying to grow and bloom these wonderful plants. Most of the orchids are in the greenhouse, and the rest are under the patio attached to the main house.

Friday, August 29, 2008

08/29/2008 - In Bloom Today - Howeara Lava Burst 'Puanani' AM/AOS-HOS

These orchids were a gift from a friend of mine some time ago. They did not bloom the first season that I received them as they were probably still adjusting to the greenhouse conditions.

This year is different however, as you can see from the pictures below.
These two orchids (along with some of my other oncidinae orchids) are grown in semi-hydroponic culture or S/H.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

08/28/2008 - Back after two weeks

I took my family to the Bahamas for two weeks for some R&R and the orchids were on their own during that time.
The greenhouse has enough automated features to keep the temperature and humidity in check, so I was not so concerned with the orchids there.
None of the devices failed, Woohoo!.
The mister timers, thermostat-controlled exhaust fan and assorted mechanicals all worked great despite being left alone for a couple of weeks.
The patio orchids however, needed someone to come in every few days to water them.

I am happy to say that all the plants are doing well despite being virtually unattended for two weeks.

It looks like some critters are still coming into my backyard and digging up my bulbs outside of the greenhouse. I am now looking into purchasing an electronic pest repellent to see if it would help.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

08/06/2008 - Mounted Orchids

Mounting orchids is more than just slapping on a plant to a driftwood. It takes careful attention to detail to make sure that the plant's growth habit complements the driftwood's shape and scale.
The mounted piece should become a homogeneous entity. Plant and substrate should be viewed as one living creature and not a bunch of building blocks that you can dismantle and reassemble at will.
It is also important to understand the properties of the wood being used. Mounting an orchid to a wood that easily rots within six months is rarely a worthwhile excersize.

Here are some of the orchids that I have mounted on driftwoods, to show their progress after one year or so.

Dendrobium (NOID) on a dense river driftwood. July 2007.

This is the same piece in April 2008.
Notice that the inflorescence's arch is consistent with the arch of the driftwood. Coinsidence? or careful pairing of the plant and substrate? you be the judge :)

Here is a recent photo of the plant. July 2008.

Here is another dendrobium (NOID) mounted to a dense river driftwood. June 2007
I tried to orient the plant so that the direction of new growth faces towards the left side the driftwood. My hope is that the orchid's new canes will crawl across the remainder of the wood.

Here is a recent photo of the plant. July 2008
So far the plan seems to be working.

Cattleya guttata mounted to a similar dense river driftwood. June 2007
Cattleya roots tend to ramble on, so I mounted the plant in a higher spot than usual to give the roots room to roam.

Here is a recent photo of the mounted orchid. July 2008
It has only been one year but the roots have already reached the outer edges of the driftwood.

Other works in progress:

Dendrobium (NOID) on a dense river driftwood oriented vertically. July 2008
This was a keiki mounted a few months prior to this picture. The roots have already taken hold of the driftwood.

Two Cattleya aurantiaca orchids mounted on a dense river driftwood. July 2007.
I intended this to be a compound piece, with two identical plants in the upper and lower sections of the driftwood.

This is a recent photo of the mounted Cattleya aurantiaca. July 2008.
Only the lower orchid survived, and I decided to keep the upper section empty.
Even with our best efforts, some orchids are bound to die. Thats just the way it is.

08/06/2008 - Just some eye candy

Here's a collage of current and previous bloomers from my garden.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

08/02/2008 - Orchid Detox: Fertilizer feeding

As scheduled, I performed a fertilizer feeding on all the orchids with a balanced fertilizer at 1/2 tsp/gal.

At this point, I believe that I am the one suffering most from "supplement withdrawal" as I was so tempted to add in those other trace ingredients in my supply container.
I must stay the course though, in the name of science!

08/02/2008 - GRRRRR! Moles!

Not orchid related, but still very aggravating when this happens to your garden.

Moles, voles, gophers, whatever those devious creatures are, they have dug burrows under my backyard and ate the roots of mature blooming aloe vera plant and a two year old banana tree.
I noticed when I was inspecting the garden this afternoon that the aloe vera was tipped on its side and the banana tree was leaning at an extreme angle.
I first thought maybe the winds did it but we did not get any high winds yesterday or last night.
Once I touched the aloe vera plant, it just fell over and saw a hollow chasm where the roots and stem should have been.
I then went to the banana plant and gave the top leaf a gentle tug, and the entire plant came with it. Again, the entire base was missing.

I dont have much experience dealing with these vermin but it looks like I will need to start reading about them and the control methods.

Friday, August 01, 2008

08/01/2008 - General greenhouse notes

1. It was very hot today (95F outside) and the greenhouse plants were quite dry. So I decided to do a full watering early afternoon.
The plants' leaves were dry by the time I did my last inspection at 7:00PM.

2. I had two 30gal plastic tubs (I think they are 30gal) that I used to store water and just act as a small scale heat sink and moisture battery inside the greenhouse.
I was beginning to smell some foul odor in the water so I decided to drill a hole along the side of each tub to drain the water. Once the water drains, I will clean the tubs and seal the holes and refill with clean water.

08/01/2008 - Some random pictures around the greenhouse

Here are the two oscillating desk fans that help with air circulation in the greenhouse.

Maxillaria tenuifolia recently repotted into a 6" wood basket.

Blc. Magic of Mishima 'Volcano Queen'

Dendrobium Blue Violetta

Cattleya Hawaiian Wedding Song 'Virgin'