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Archive for the ‘Orchids’ Category

It’s been much too busy in my life lately!  I really HAVE ignored my blog.  I’m sorry about that.  So many things have happened to occupy my time.

First, I’ve been tapped to step into a ‘learning period’, in preparation for taking over as chairman of the Gardening Committee here at Horizon House.  I’ve been gradually getting involved, but that learning curve and responsibility will definitely increase as time goes on.  Wish me luck!

In that vein of endeavor, I’ve been devising schedules for plant watering outside the dining room and supported living areas.  The orchids also needed to have a watering schedule.  People are wonderful in volunteering, but there is a bit of coordination involved!

There was also the grant for shelving to handle all the pots that have occupied the decks on the terraces.  They are not too attractive that way, and are a problem for the staff to clean up around…hence the shelving.  That grant was accepted and those shelves will be in their places come mid-summer.  It should be a welcome and attractive addition.

With my Potting Room group, I planned an “Plant Exchange” day.IMG_1669  Although it didn’t work out too well, people seemed to love the idea.  It was a fun social event, BUT not much was done in the way of plant exchanging!  Perhaps 10 plants changed hands.  But, they want to do it again!  I’m not entirely convinced it was worth the effort!

Then we’ve had a pair of little House Finches that have been nesting outside our bedroom window.  My husband has been photographing, and I’ve been posting all about them here at HH. IMG_1760 IMG_1708 That has been fun.  Yesterday, however, it appears the finches  have abandoned their nest, as well as the one little, pretty, blue egg.

 

 

Other than a nasty cold and a lengthy bout of laryngitis, I think life may now begin to get back to normal!

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We spent a delightful hour yesterday here at Horizon House talking about Orchids.

Our Horizon House receptionist, Cathy H. came and shared a ton of material as well as some good ideas.  She was with us for about 10 minutes and then had to get back to work, but we enjoyed the time we had with her.

At that point, I went over the “Orchid Tips” that I had compiled. You will find them below.

Bill S. was with us as well, and he was also full of good advice, including “You just can’t kill an orchid!  They’re tough as nails!”

Just about everyone brought an orchid and we looked at them all.  Much to the surprise of a couple of people, their orchids had a flower stalk coming!

Here are the Orchid Tips I promised to send to you.

                      ORCHID TIPS
•    Go to an Orchid Show if one comes to town!
•    Light- Leaf color is a good indicator of the amount of light a plant is receiving. Orchids should have bright green,     healthy leaves. Dark green leaves indicate that a plant is getting insufficient light, and yellowish-green or     red leaves indicate that a plant is getting too much light. a
⁃    If you suspect a plant is exposed to too much light, feel the leaves. If they feel noticeably warmer than the surrounding air, move the plant to a location with less intense brightness.
⁃    a basic rule of thumb is to aim for light to medium green leaves. If the leaves are too dark the orchid is not getting enough light. With too much light the leaves will turn yellow or burn. Many orchids will also produce a red pigment when it is getting a bit too much light. The pigment acts like a sunscreen protecting the leaf from burning.
•    Humidity
⁃    Orchids love humidity-put them on a tray with pebbles (to hold them above the water that you put there) but allowing them to enjoy the evaporating water.
⁃    Do NOT let water touch the bottom of the pot.
⁃    You CAN mist them, but use distilled water so the plants don’t get encrusted with minerals contained in the water.  If you do mist, do it in the morning so the plant can absorb it before it cools down for the evening.
⁃    Use a plastic pot since they don’t dry out as quickly as clay.
•    Watering
⁃    Let them dry out before watering, usually once a week
⁃    Water should be as close to air temperature as possible, so as not to shock the roots.
⁃    Occasionally spray with water.  That will imitate their natural environment.
⁃    Avoid over-watering, they will survive with too little water longer than they will with too much.  Never allow them to stand in water.
⁃    Flush the roots with water once a month to reduce salt build-up. (Put them in a sink and pour water over them allowing the water to drain out of the bottom of the pot.)
⁃    If roots are brown, sparse and soggy, they are getting too much water.
⁃    There’s another method, try giving them two (2) ice cubes every week!
•    Fertilize
⁃    (VERY sparingly-half strength) on occasion.
⁃    Orchids will do better with less fertilizer than more!
⁃    Once a month or more often during growth spurts in spring and summer.
•    Repotting
•    They are planted in bark chunks, NOT soil.
•    Allow the roots to grow out into the air, if that’s where they aim.  Don’t cover them!
•    Repot when they outgrow the pot, or when the bark starts to break down.  Probably every other year.
•    Only use one pot size bigger as over-potted orchids often do not bloom for many years.
•    As above:Use a plastic pot since they don’t dry out as quickly as clay.
•    Grooming
•    The only grooming needed is the removal of spent blooms and any dead material. Make sure the spike has dried before you remove it.
•    Many orchids bloom on the same spike and some even continue where they left off.
•    The same applies to the roots.  They may be hanging over the edges, but that’s how they function!  Leave them be!!!

•    Do NOT put on top of TV’s or other warm surfaces; or conversely, under an air conditioner where they will be chilled.
•    A two-week period in the spring and fall, when night temperatures are usually cooler, should initiate flower development.

•    Here’s a blog that might be fun for you to visit.  http://bklynorchids.com/

Many of these are tips I have been given personally, or else I have taken them from the internet.  I hope they prove helpful.

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I finally did it!

I signed up for a room; elevator signs; handed out little cards with the date and time…  We’re ON for a little Orchid Workshop!

Bring your orchid(s) to compare notes.  We’ll look at problems and try to solve them; we’ll look at wonderful specimens and figure out why they are so perfect; we’ll get tips from our “on campus” experts, of which there are a few!  Hopefully, they are able to come, and bring an orchid or two.

We will meet next Wednesday, the 21st of November, in the Social Room (part of the Performance Hall), at 2 PM, here at Horizon House.

There will be tables to set those orchids on, chairs so you can sit to take notes, OR wander around to check them all out…or all of the above!

I’ll bring a list of tips I’ve compiled that you can take away with you.  AND you can scribble your notes right on that paper…  Bring a pencil!

You don’t need to respond, just come and let’s have some fun learning.

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I got a note from Bill S. with more orchid tips!  Hurray!

Here are his comments:

“DO NOT CUT OFF LIVE ROOTS.  AFTER A BLOOMING CYCLE IS FINISHED AND IF YOU

HAVE THE PATIENCE, KEEP UP THE WEEKLY WATERING AND SLIGHT FEEDING. BE PREPARED TO WAIT SEVERAL MONTHS.  CUT THE STEM OR STEMS ABOVE A NODE.

HOT-SHOT FLORISTS USUALLY SELL BIG SNAZZY PLANTS IN FULL BLOOM WITH ALL

THE AIR ROOTS TRIMMED OFF OR TUCKED IN SO EVERYTHING LOOKS EXTRA

NEAT.  THIS IS NOT HOW NATURE WORKS.”

Then I looked on line for a photo of an orchid with all the roots, etc. showing.  I came to a wonderful blog all about orchids.  You can visit it here.    It has some great pictures showing the difference between flower spikes and roots.  I’ve also decided to “follow” that blog.  It looks like a good one!

Here’s a photo of an orchid with all the roots peeking out.  As Bill S. says, LEAVE THEM EXPOSED, even if your eyes and head say to remove or cover them!

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I have had a miserable week.  I’ve had a cold and cough, along with the usual fatigue and just “blahs”.  Needless to say, I never got to the little ORCHID meeting (class).  I haven’t forgotten…as soon as I’m feeling up to it, I’ll move right along.

However, yesterday I ran into Bill S. on my mail run downstairs.  He asked if I could help him with something, as a member of the Gardening Committee.  I said I would, and he asked me to take care of a table full of ORCHIDS!!!!!!!!!!!  Oh, dear.

I told him of my total lack of expertise about orchids, which he sloughed off and told me they were very simple to care for. (!)  Of course, my job will be to keep them alive (not necessarily re-blooming).  I told him about the two ice cubes technique (I had to impress him somehow), and he said that would be a good idea, but these guys needed to be watered once a week with a very minimal amount of fertilizer as well.  I will be taking them into the ladies room, giving the plant a good soak and letting the water run out the bottom before returning each one to it’s place.

I learned a few new things as we walked:

  1. water deeply, so the water runs out the bottom of the pot, once a week (with a VERY MILD dose of fertilizer).  Unlike other plants that you stop fertilizing in the winter, orchids continue to receive some snacks.
  2. He also said to buy the biggest orchid (plant, not bloom) possible.  It will have the best chance of re-bloom.  He agreed with Kathy.  DO NOT CUT OFF THE STEMS UPON WHICH THE ORCHID BLOOMS!
  3. I’ll try to grab Bill as well to talk with us.

Pray for me…  Maybe I should say, pray for the orchids!

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