I will be on spritual retreat for a few days.
But Richard, what could be more spiritual than a life among the orchids?
It is not that I need something more spriritual than the orchids, it is more that I am human. A fresh perspective is what is needed.
I will be with a good friend at a location new to me and with a group of men I have never met. All I know about them is that they are there for the same reason as I am.
Prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening for the answer. Sometimes it is necessary to ask to know God's will in a slightly different way. That is what this retreat will do for me.
And when I get back I will have a new experience to help me appreciate the connection with God that is available through orchids.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Encyclia profusa grows in Colombia. It is warm to hot growing and is fragrant. It is well named; the spikes are full of flowers and put on a good display.
This plant picture is two years old. I will take a new one soon, after I repot it. Both of those new growths bloomed last year and there are two spikes in bloom this year.
They have been open for quite awhile. That is one of my favorite aspects of true Encyclia species. Usually I grumble when the botanists reclassify species, but in the case of Encyclia they may have got it right.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
In my Napa greenhouse I use very little bark, primarily for plants I plan to sell soon. All my collection plants are potted in either rock or sphagnum moss.
Sonoma is another story. With a more normal greenhouse environment almost all the plants are in bark.
I like the Rexius Orchid Bark because it is well graded and there is very little dust. It is kiln-dried fir bark and it holds up well.
I buy 2 cubic feet at a time through the orchid society. The first thing I do is to transfer it to gallon size zip-lock bags. The bags go into a bookcase that I have for supplies and tools. When I need bark I just grab one of the gallon bags.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Here is a REAL rescue challenge. It is a piece of cork 10 inches x 22 inches and it looks very rough. Even though there is some sentimental value and in past years has bloomed well, my first suggestion was to toss it out.
I changed my mind when I got it down and saw that there was a new growth. A little light stressed but going strong. It had been hanging horizontally near the roof of the greenhouse and not getting watered well enough for a long time.
Note: Mouse over the picture to see the new growth.
The plant is the cross (Lc Bonanza x Blc Norman's Bay) x (Blc Norman's Bay x Blc Herons Ghyll). I found pictures of all three parents and they are each gorgeous. This must be spectacular.
I have decided that the best course of action is to simply inprove the quality of care for a few months and try to determine what is alive. Then we can decide what to cut.
I suspect we will end up with two potted plants, but we shall see. No rushing with orchids.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Maxillaria ochroleuca grows in Brazil as well as Ecuador and Colombia. Cool growing.
This is the first time the plant has bloomed for me. That's always exciting. Conditions are not ideal for cool growing plants, but I have it in a relatively cool, bright spot. I was worried that it may never bloom since the minimum temperature has been higher over the last year. I am trying to work with some of the hot growing plants I have.
Hooray for micro-climates!
Monday, May 25, 2009
At the time I had only a few orchids and was growing indoors. I tried different ways to increase humidity and fooled around trying to get it to bloom.
Once it was in the greenhouse it started growing instead of surviving and after a few months it bloomed. Since then I have tried other hybrids and species with varying success.
This last winter I reduced the water quite a bit and the Masdevallia plants suffered while most of the rest of the collection did better.
I have decided to phase out the Masdevallias and keep a half dozen hybrids that do well in my conditions. Masdevallia Angel Tang is one I will keep.
If you want to try a Masdevallia any of the 'Angel' hybrids would be a good choice.
New listing of plants for sale on eBay at 1:00pm.
Auction ends Saturday.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
The first visitor came five minutes after starting time and there was a steady flow of visitors until closing time. I think everybody had a good time, I know Lillian and I did.
In fact we had so much fun that we decided to have another in about 10 years.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
The genus Pleurothallis contains More than 1000 species growing in all parts of the subtropical and tropical Americas. There are very diverse plant forms and culture requirements from moss-like plants to large ranging plants of several feet in height.
Pleurothallis eumecocaulon grows in Costa Rica and Panama in tropical forests in the 2000 to 4000 foot altitute range. It is cool to hot growing and is a shade plant.
This plant is in a bit of treefern so I just put it in a pot of sphagnum and I will let it grow for awhile. There was a flower on Saturday which was too far faded to take a picture.
Our open greenhouse is tomorrow. Today I will spend a bit of time cleaning and arranging, although it is already in pretty good shape. I hope you can make it. Directions are in the SCOS newsletter.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Encyclia polybulbon (often listed as Dinema polybulbon) grows from Mexico to Nicaragua and parts of the West Indies. It is miniature, grows cool to hot and is fragrant.
I have only had this a month, and I dropped the pot onto the driveway bringing it home. I could see a spike forming so I left it as is, broken pot and all. I wanted to see the flower and to get a picture. Now I am going to mount it, possibly divide it first.
I have another plant Encyclia polybulbon 'Kyung Sook' HCC/AOS, and as one would expect, there is a color variation between them. I will keep each picture with its own plant. This is a very fast-growing plant and I will have pieces to sell or trade.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Oncidium sphacelatum grows from Mexico south to Venezuela in low altitude rain forest. It is warm to hot growing, but does very well intermediate. It is giant sized and grows long, pendulous spikes of 6 feet or more.
When I got the plant it was badly overgrown and in serious need of dividing. I took it apart 7 months ago and I have been growing the pieces bare root in baskets. They have been watered and fed of course, but most of the pieces are pretty small and I was surprised that any spikes developed.
Lillian has a few of these too, so there will be about 20 Oncidium sphacelatum spikes in bloom for the open house on Saturday.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Laelia lobata grows in Brazil on the coast. It needs very bright light and is hot growing.
When I read about Laelia lobata growing on rocks in full sun, I wasn't sure I could bloom it. I placed it high up in just about the brightest spot in the greenhouse and hoped for the best.
It has four flowers, all of them nicely formed. Since the flowers have just opened they should still be nice for the open house on Saturday
Monday, May 18, 2009
Bulbophyllum sumatranum grows in Sumatra needing low light and high humidity. Blooms in the spring.
I have only had the plant for a little over a month and it is already back in bloom. There are three new flowers. It is right to the edge of the pot and I will keep an eye on it to see when new growth starts.
Lillian and I are having a joint open greenhouse this Saturday. Details are in the SCOS news letter.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
We had the SCOS potting party yesterday and it was great. I brought two plants and Lillian brought one. There was a shady work area, a refreshment table and chairs to relax and chat.
Lillian did the best as far as adding to her collection goes. Besides three nice Cymbidiums (with name tags) she got a very nice division of Cattleya Empress Belle.
The party was a great chance to get to know the orchid society members better. I had a great time and am looking forward to more events outside the meeting.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Mormolyca ringens grows from Mexico down into Central America. It is warm to hot growing and does well in a basket. The plant can flower all spring and summer.
I got this plant seven months ago from the SCOS member sale table. I took this picture a couple of days after getting it. It had a flower open and another spike, and looked as if it bloomed quite a bit, more than once from mature pseudobulbs.
Although it is my practice to repot all plants soon after they arrive, I didn't do this one. I had already started a reduced watering schedule and I put it off. Yesterday I finally took a look at the roots and divided it.
I separated it into two 3-pseudobulb pieces. One piece has a lead and ok roots. The other had some roots on one of the pseudobulb and no lead.
With the warmer weather and increased water I hope that this plant perks up and starts blooming again. In summer the conditions in my greenhouse are quite tropical with the overhead foggers on quite a bit.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Maxillaria callichroma grows in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, blooms in winter, cool to hot growing.
As with all plants bought in bloom, the proof is in the re-bloom. It is always a question about what will survive my environment which is very wet. There was a period of adjustment, but the plant is doing great with more flowers than last year.
Outside of peeking at the roots, the health of a plant is seen in the new growth. Each pseudobulb should be at least as large as the previous generation. Somtimes a change of environment can cause a real setback, but it doesn't seem to be the case here. There is a new growth starting and the leaf and pseudobulb from last year are the biggest on the plant so far.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The other night Bruce Rogers visited the SCOS meeting and gave us a high-energy talk about the joys of Sobralias. The genus has about a hundred species that look very much like bamboo. They are terrestrial and grow in tropical areas of Mexico and South America.
This is my Sobralia elegans. I know practically nothing about it except that it is small and hot growing. I have it in pea gravel and ignored the advice not to disturb the roots. I have had it maybe four years and look for buds once in awhile. I think I saw some but never saw the flowers, which might have come and gone while I was having lunch.
I got another at the raffle. The tag was broken off so I am not sure exactly what it is. It is 33 inches tall and had a fading, beautiful yellow flower. I emailed Bruce for additional information. He talked about it, but I don't listen at the speed he talks, so I need a repeat.
Of course I am ignoring the advice not to disturb the rootball. When I snipped the pot to get the tag, it snapped open. The roots are very tightly packed and I will open them up and just deal with a year of sobralia sulking if I have to.
UPDATE: After another look at how tight the rootball is, I chickened out. Instead I up-potted it about two inches and filled with pea gravel. Next spring I expect that the inside will have rotted out and the whole thing will be easier to deal with.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Bulbophyllum facetum grows throughout the northern island of the Philippines in the mountains. It is warm to hot growing.
The main thing that has to be done right in mounting orchids is that the plant not be able to move on the mount. Any aesthetic considerations come below that in priority.
The person who made this mount did a great job with rule #1. Those rubber bands don't cut the plant and are easy to put on.
Looking good when the in-laws come by? Not so much. They are already commenting about how few orchids are in bloom, they don't need to see this too.
As I may have mentioned I am *NOT* a form-over-function guy, but that doesn't mean a little extra effort to make things look good isn't worth it. That's why I hide my attach points as much as possible.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Bulbophyllum leopardinum grows from India to Thailand at high altitudes. It is cool to warm growing and likes shady conditions. It can bloom spring, summer or fall. The flowers are short compared to the plant.
I have moved it each year since I got it about 3 years ago. It is definitely a mature plant and I could never get it to bloom until this year.
Aside from the thrill of getting it to bloom, I am a bit underwhelmed. The flowers hide under the leaves and don't last very long. The biggest problem is that it is not Bulbophyllum leopardinum.
I got it from a grower grows a lot of hybrids, so I don't even know it is a species. Just at this moment I can't generate any enthusiasm for looking for a possible match.
Monday, May 11, 2009
The genus Cymbidiella (Cymla) contains 3 species from Madagascar. They need constant hot, humid conditions with lots of water year round and good drainage similar to growing a Phaius. Here is an interesting article about Cymbidiella.
Cymbidiella rhodochila grows in Madagascar. AKA pardalina. It is hot growing and needs bright light and regular watering and fertilizer year round. It is fragrant and blooms in late spring.
There was a Cymbidiella rhodochila in bloom and the SFOS last week. I'm glad I saw it to learn that my plant is not blooming size. It has been very slow growing even though I have moved it to just about the warmest and brightest spot in the wet part of the greenhouse. There is new growth just starting.
Maybe next year.
The SCOS potting party is next Saturday.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Bulbophyllum odoratissimum grows throughout Southeast Asia. Cool to warm growing, very nice fragrance. Feed and water throughout the year and it will bloom in spring and fall for you.
When I see a plant for sale I ask myself a few questions. Is it a species? Do I already have one? Can I divide it? How much does it cost?
I am a collector, not a reseller so I never buy a plant unless it adds to the collection. I am also on a pretty tight budget, so I am looking to get free plants by dividing, keeping a piece and selling the divisions. That's why I bought the Bulbophyllum odoratissimum.
I made the divisions, putting some of them in a community pot to grow for awhile. The other day I got them out to mount and I discovered that I have turned them into rescue plants. The roots were all dead and some of the pieces are completely dried up. I have three left. They are mounted now and I just have to wait.