Monday, December 27, 2010

The Winter Growing Area

The Winter Growing Area
I have for years now wanted a greenhouse, but alas I have not the space or time for one. Until that changes, I grow outside under a shade tent in the summer and move things in for the winter. My house has an enclosed brick patio with floor to ceiling windows and lots of light. There is a “gravel sink” between the glass and the brick so it makes watering nice.

The winters are cold in my area, the lows have been in the teens the last week and the heat has been on full time. The room is heated from a gas furnace, and it saps the moisture out of the air really quickly. I keep two humidifiers going full time but struggle to keep the humidity around 50%. I keep the low temp above 55 in the winter (average is 58) and like to see the high temp  in the 80’s, but I have to have a sunny day to help get me there. On an overcast day I am lucky to see 65.

There looks to be move in my future, and I would love to build a greenhouse at the next house. I will be staying in VA, but like going further west in the state and the temp will be cooler than where I am now. If anyone other has any insight into greenhouse construction, selection, or any other advice I would love to hear it.
I stole this last photo from the internet, but I would love to have this greenhouse……..

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ornithocephalus bicornis

Ornithocephalus bicornis
I picked this little guy up at the Merritt Huntington Memorial Symposium in October. It was the first time I had ever been to this event and I really thought they did a job with it. There were a lot of vendors selling plants and the speakers were top rate. Among the vendors selling plants were these guys, Orquideas del Valle. They had a lot of stuff I thought looked really good, including a ton of great miniatures.  This Ornithocephalus came in the basket with sphagnum and seems to be doing well. The vendor recommended I mount it to bark or a stick, but I am opting to wait until the spring, or when the plants looks like it is making new roots. I grow it with my cattleyas, which the vendor told me it would like, and so far so good.
I have never had an Ornithocephalus before, and in general it is not my prototypical plant. I am a cattleya man for the most part and they make up the bulk of my collection. However, a club member owns one of these plants and had it in a show and I really liked it. I never thought seriously about owning it until I saw it was for sale for around 10 bucks. How can you say no at that price?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Oncidum Twinkle and Twinkle ‘Red Fantasy’

Oncidum Twinkle and Twinkle ‘Red Fantasy’
I purchased both these plants from my local grower, but to tell the truth I think they got them from Hawaii. I have had them both for a year and this is the second time each has bloomed. The ‘Red Fantasy’ plant is not putting on nearly the show the standard Twinkle is. They are grown under the same conditions, the only difference being I have not repotted the ‘Red Fantasy’ yet, and it was a smaller plant to begin with. I grow both these plants with my cattleya seedlings  at about 2500 foot candles. They seem to be happy there. They are a nice addition to the holiday season.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dgmra. Memoria Jay Yamada ‘Kauai’

Dgmra. Memoria Jay Yamada ‘Kauai’
This is a plant I picked up at the local independent garden center. I was not really sure what a ‘DGMRA’ was when I picked it up, but it turn out Degarmoara (Dgmra.) is a trigeneric hybrid between Brassia, Miltonia, and Odontoglossum. When I got it, it was overgrown in a 4inch plastic pot and had one bloom spike. After the bloom finished and plant produced a new growth with new roots I potted it up in a clay pot and put it out in the shade tent with my catts for the summer.  The plant is now rewarding me with quite a show.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dendrobium ‘Purple Ace’

Dendrobium ‘Purple Ace’
When I moved back to Virginia 3 years ago, I was just getting interested in developing an orchid collection. I found a local vendor and signed up for an ‘Orchid of the Month” program and this is one of the plants from that adventure. At that time I was just collecting a little bit of everything with little understanding of the plants needs. Over time my collections has shifted more to Cattleya species, but I find these Dens play nice with the others. My only complaint is the space they need as they grow taller. For that reason several have been traded away, but my wife loves the color on this plant, so it stays.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A few other C. labiata

C. labiata ‘September Mist’
This is a plant I bought in sheath from a local grower who had it cloned. It was growing in bark and had spent its life up to that point in Hawaii. It had a new growth starting and I thought it looked like just the plant for me. The ride home in the car was not kind to the little plant, and it was very unstable in the pot by the time I arrived. I tried to let it ride for a few days but in the end it got a re-pot. I fear the re-pot may have stopped the sheath from blooming. The new growth looks good, but I am not sure she will bloom for me this year.

C. labiata ‘Oberlin x self’
I picked this plant up at my orchid society auction. It had a sheath that looked like it might have the gusto to bloom, but sadly it has not done well in my growing area. I am not really sure where it came from, but I suspect like most of the plants at the auction it was Hawaii. The sheath is starting to look a little rough, but I have not given up on it. That said I see no buds in there. The new growth it is putting  up looks good and I will repot the plant when it sends out new roots. As a rule, I tend not to grow in plastic pot and tend to like my plants potted with less growing room than this one has.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cattleya labiata

C. labiata alba
This is a plant I bought out of bloom several months back, it did have a sheath but it was empty. Since I have had it in the growing area it has completed a new growth and looks to be putting buds in both. This plant looks to be doing better than some of my other labiata this year. This species is known for its typical double sheath, but this plant had other plans this year. Cattleya are quirky little plants with minds of their own. The grower I got this plant from told me the mother plant blooms of a pseudo-bulb with no sheath at all sometimes.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cattleya mendelii

C. mendelii select 'Minuet' x 'Rybaczyk AM/AOS'
This is a plant I just bought in bloom from these folks, Chadwick & Son. The plant is a little out of cycle for its bloom time in Virginia, or at least as far as I can tell. Most sources site its bloom time as April or May including A.A. Chadwick Sr. here.  But the plant looks great, how could I resist? My hand is in the last one to give scale.


So welcome I guess. To be honest, I am not at all sure why I decided to do this. Time seems to be something I am always short on. But I have really been enjoying reading 2 other orchid blogs, Back Bulbs and Cattleyaphilia (which I think is a much cooler name than The Orchidteer).
My intention at this point is really just to share pictures of my blooming plants and the goings on around my growing area. I am a member of the local orchid society, but other than that I know few people that get excited to see plants. My wife thinks I am crazy too spends the time and money I do on the plants, but she is a great sport about it, and enjoys the flowers of most of my plants.
Thanks for stopping by.