Friday, October 25, 2013

Brassavola nodosa Orchid Remount

I've decided to re-mount my "Lady of the Night" orchid (Brassavola nodosa), so I gathered some supplies to get the job done...
...using a wire coat hanger, I made a hook to hang this huge cork slab mount I bought. Lots of room to spread out for sure!

I decided to fix the orchid to the new slab using its' old hook....

...there! Bent it over to ancor it well, but I want it to be tad more securely attched so the roots can't get damaged by stray movements...

...see how it's not flush against the slab? That won't do... I chip away some cork so it can lie flat...

...then I grabbed some copper wire to secure it well. I used fishing line with the last mount, but it was flimsy and hard to work with. Didn't notice this wire had anything to do with welding when I bought it, so I hope there aren't any chemicals on it that orchids don't like.

Secured the wire to the back first...

...then wrapped it round' and round', being careful not to smish or strangle any roots.

There! Mounted the mount to a bigger mount and it looks mighty nice if I do say so myself. The wire is  kinda bright now, but it will eventually patina darker and blend in nicely.

                            Hung it on the closet door near the humidifier to keep it happy...'s hoping it grows well and blooms (sure has plenty of space!  :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Autumn Cacti

My cactus collection is doing pretty well these days, despite no direct sunlight for the past 2 years. Just sheet-filtered southern exposure, not the best conditions but that's the way it goes sometimes.


              My whale-tongue agave has gotten rather large, so it gets relocated to spread out.

 New growth on all of them, a little gangly but I'll take it.

               With the big agave out of the way, the others can be moved closer to the window.

My 'Torch Cactus', Trichocereus grandiflorus hybrids still has these weird "tentacles" coming out of it for about 4 months now. All they do is get longer and increase in number... far they look like this with no sign of turning into blooms. Very interesting, but I wish I knew what's going on. The anticipation is kinda fun though, "Adventures With Housplants" I suppose.

After seeing a Fishook Barrel Cactus cactus (Ferocactus wislizenii) that my friend in Texas has, I decided I needed one!

Very nice! This specimen was discounted due to some "cosmetic damage", but I don't see it. Looks like a great buy to me.

And there are the hooks! It even has some red

Next spring when new growth begins I plan to add supplemental lights so this newcomer can stay healthy and the rest of my cacti can grow thicker and not quite so gangly. But for now I think they are acclimating to apartment life better than I am!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Random Stuff...

Recently a friend gave me this cutting of a "ZZ Plant (zamioculcas zamiifolia), and it's still every bit as alive as the day I got it-yay!

It's in this "nursery area" for cuttings, located in the pot with my Norfolk Island Pine ( Araucaria heterophylla ). Works out pretty well for them...

...I'm even trying to root one of the pine's branches.

Mother pine isn't faring as well however, but I'm hoping she'll perk up with the increased humidity I provide in fall and winter for the nearby orchids. I'm thinking some soil freshening wouldn't hurt either, she's been in this same pot for 3 years or so.
 Looky here-my african violet has formed a seed pod on one of the blooms! I never thought about hand-pollinating violet blooms to get seeds, and I'm curious how this one got pollinated. Perhaps one of those spiders we all swallow in our sleep strolled accross it?
I saw this last week and it occurred to me-I don't think I've ever observed a tree with fruit and new flowers at the same October. Is this odd, or is it just me?

See? Fall color on the leaves, ripe fruit, and new flowers in fall = weird, IMO. (Of course this may happen all the time and I'm just now noticing it, in which case I will quote Gilda Radner's character Emily Litella and say "Nevermind.")

Climate change or brain atrophy, either way fall is in the air. The leaves are changing and that's not all, but life a journey anyhow so this is inevitable whether you're ready or not. Luckily gardening teaches the willing student how to adapt to unexpected weather and such, and I'm still willing as ever to learn and grow. Bring it on, life! :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Worm Bins Update

I haven't blogged about the worm bins in awhile, but they're still going strong. In fact, the tower bin is almost ready to add another level.

Still plenty of activity on the lid, but no sign of a mass exodus-the worms are happy.

I added some cellulose packing peanuts, which are made from natural plant cellulose and dissolve in water. Normally I would put these in the composter outdoors, but I don't have regular access to it right now.
            Topped with shredded paper, so the worms can keep my documents really secure  :)

Topped the paper with some celery scraps. This may look dry, but in 8 years of worm wrangling I've rarely needed to add any water or mist a bin. The worm activity keeps the bin moisture plenty damp automatically-easy peasy!

Here's the original homemade bin, getting very full but functioning very well all the same.

 No worms on the lid. As this bin has become more full I notice fewer wanderers.
First with the cellulose peanuts...
...then the shredded paper...
...then the celery.

I really need to empty this bottom bin of the worm castings, then place it on the top bin to start the worms migrating upward and begin the casting harvest process over again. But I really want to get down to one bin, so I'll look for a new home for this big one. Any takers?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Autumn Phalaenopsis 'Happy Girl'

Here she was a couple weeks ago in her blooming glory. And if that weren't exciting enough...

 ...there's a new leaf emerging!
 Then a week ago the blooms began to drop...

                                                       ...until an entire scape is bare.

 The other two scapes have blooms, and a couple dangling green thingys-more bloom buds perhaps?

                                       This week the remaining blooms are withering as well...

....sad to see them go. The blooming lasted nearly 6 months though, so I can't complain.
And who knows-maybe these buds will become more flowers.

                                                             I can't wait to find out!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Vanilla Orchid Mounts

I recently placed an order online and got these two vanilla orchids along with some accessories...
...I was delighted to get the green as well as the variegated at the same time.

I read that they like a lot of humidity, so I mist them daily until I get them mounted.

For the mounts I purchased two 30" tree fern totems from two different online sources. One came in a plastic bag, padded well and within a box, and the other was bare with cardboard wrapped around it to form a "box". I really appreciate the bag and box, though their shipping cost was $7 more. Definately worth it, IMO.

They are both very similar in size and quality, athough the bagged specimen is thicker.

I picked the sturdiest, most compressed-looking end of each to put the hanging wire through...

...then soaked the other ends in distilled water for a half hour or so.

I got these handy metal over-door hooks at the Dollar Tree, I really love that place! (My red hanging wire was from there as well, they had several colors to choose from.)

There! I used fishing line to attach the mossy roots to the totem, and eventually these orchids will become total epiphytes,  attached nicely by air roots along the stems. I'll leave them horizontal awhile until the process starts, I don't want to risk damage to the stems by tying them down. Like the famous ant, I have high hopes that these orchids will climb all the way up these 30" totems, then someday I want to have a large wooden frame hanging horizontaly over my bathtub and covered with orchids and staghorn ferns..... do a take on this design from the actress Julie Newmar's bathroom. So tranquil and inviting!

                                       Plant life everywhere isn't just a hobby, it's my mission!