Archive for May, 2010

Catt the Garden Girl stands under the cattleyas hanging in the apple tree.

During the last two weeks, the orchids were moved outside – their long-awaited vacation.

The cattleyas were the first to leave. Most of them are now hanging from the apple tree. Several were divided into much smaller plants. (Divisions went to the Orchids and Garden Plants Sale, held May 21 and 22.)

Yesterday I cleaned the orchid shadehouse, an 8 ft x 8ft x 8ft, screened-in box that I built in 2003. It’s the vacation cottage for the slippers, small cattleyas, bulbophylum and misc. (See the photo page for an image of the house.) I built this strange little house as a way to keep the squirrels from digging in the pots and tearing up the plants. The two top panels of the house are detachable. I remove them each fall to protect the framed screens from the thick layers of winter snow. (I learned that lesson the hard way.)

My seven vandaceous plants are hanging from a pine tree over the pond in the big flower garden. This is new. In the past, I’ve had them with the catts in the apple tree. I’m hoping that the new location will increase the humidity and provide enough sunlight for these tropicals.

Not all of the plants are outside. Several catts and two slippers are in spike. I’ll wait until they bloom before turning them out. Plants such as cycnoches, phalaenopsis and pleurothallis will remain within the protection of greenhouse.


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Slc. George Hausermann

When: May 21 – 22, Friday and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Who: Five members of the Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City [OSGKC] are selling orchids and garden plants. See Orchid Sale – May 2010 page for a partial list of the plants for sale.

What: The sale is in conjunction with the Ward Parkway Neighborhood Association’s Annual Garage Sale. Ten percent (10 %) of the orchid sales will go to the OSGKC .

Where: 7337 Terrace St., Kansas City, Mo., Terrace Street is located between Ward Parkway and State Line. The street is two blocks west of Ward Parkway — and two blocks east of State Line.  The house, which is an English Tudor style, is two houses north of the intersection of 74th Street and Terrace Street and on the east side of Terrace.

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The Bulb. echinolabium has bloomed, a giant marionette of an orchid. I’ve waited almost five years for it to bloom. Starting as a seedling in a three-inch pot, it is now a large plant with five inflorescences. (Don’t know that all will successfully produce blooms. Just this one flower seems enough of a miracle.)

See the photo page for a look at the Bulb echinolabium and this week’s other new greenhouse blooms. [Bulb. echinolabium, L. purpurata and Enc. tampensis alba.]

The big project this weekend was completing (or nearly completing) the Wardian Case. I bought the case several years ago as vendors were breaking down exhibits at the KC Lawn and Garden Show. A Chicago vendor dramatically discounted its price because she didn’t want the hassle of packing it in her van for the trip north.

For three years the case served as home for a handful of small pleurothallis and a green frog. A stowaway from New Orleans, the frog happened to be on a reed-stem epidendrum that I bought from a Louisiana vendor one year at an orchid show in the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

After being empty for the last few years, the Wardian case is once again a functioning terrarium on legs. I’ve attached plants to three “growing towers” that I’ve constructed using tubes of hardware cloth stuffed with sphagnum moss. A pvc pipe, drilled with three or four tiny holes, runs through the center of each tower. [See the photo above, right.) I keep the moss moist by pouring water into the pipe. Each week I’ll siphon off the drained water from the plastic tray at the bottom of the case.  

A sheet of plastic grid (see below, right) lies over the tray and is covered with the EcoWeb(tm) described in last week’s post. As a final layer, I’ve spread a layer of sheet moss over the web. (I’m still trying to find a better final layer.) Two computer fans keep the air circulating.

These are the plants attached to the towers: Paph. armeniacum, Mameba Nishiki, Pleu. cypripediodes, Bulb. curtisii ‘Pablei, [L. (Sl. Beaufort x L.briegeri) x S. cernua] and Pleur. ornata.

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The plastic is now off the greenhouse windows and doors. I’ve oiled the windows’ twin tracks so that the louvered windows are back in working order.

All the plants in the greenhouse look as if they are ready for fresh air and long days of sunshine. The lemon tree is now moved to the patio and the cattleyas will soon follow for the annual backyard summer visit.

Several plants continue to bloom. New blooms have appeared on Phal. Fred’s Eden. [See Photos page.] The plant was developed by Fred Bergman, an excellent grower and breeder of orchids, who is a member of the Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City. Bergman’s articles about raising orchids have appeared in several magazines and journals, including AOS’s Orchids Magazine.


The photo on the left is EcoWebtm, a growing substrate product sold by First Rays LLC. The product, which is made from recycled plastic beverage bottles, is intended as a substitute for the world’s rapidly shrinking supply of osmunda and tree fern. I purchased a 20-inch x 24-inch sheet of the EcoWebtm mesh two weeks ago through the First Rays Web site. I’m using it as the flooring in a small Wardian case that I’m building. (More on the case in later posts.)

The leftover mesh will be used to mount some orchids.  I’m interested to see how this recycled material works as a mounting media. I’ll keep you posted.

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