Monday, March 30, 2009

Sweet Peas

Ever since moving here to Pittsburgh eight years ago I have not been able to grow any blooming sized Sweet Peas, my favorite flowers. :( This year, it's been a bit chilly so I found a pack of Renee's Garden ( Windowbox Sweet Peas - Color Palette Cupid in my seed box. They are dated for 2006 so may not be all viable, but they are seeds afterall! Some will grow I am sure! I planted some in a big planter in my backyard and some in the two planters I have up front. I didn't have enough for it to go all the way around so I just did the front and one side of each pot. Hopefully I will get some blooms this year! They are supposed to be frost tolerant, and only 8-10 inches tall. While I don't have full sun as they prefer I am hoping I will at least get SOME flowers! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Paph Roots

I thought semi-hyroponic was the eco-friendly answer to all this fir bark problem, but Paph. Green Glory was telling me another story! The poor guy is on the brink of death with no roots and barely any green top. As I looked at all my other plants that are going through the same symptoms I decided to transplant all my slipper orchids back into bark. The problem was finding enough pots since I have pretty much recycled all the pots that I had collected over the years thinking I would not need them again! Boy was I wrong! I did manage...there are a few plant (4?) that I haven't done or missed. It was quite tiring sterilizing and repotting all these plants. I still need to sterilize all those clay pebbles, but I need buckets and strainers!

Many were losing roots once I had unpotted them. Glad that I had caught them in time that they still had some live roots to grow with though and I repotted the ones that had been in the SH the longest. Those were generally the worst off. The pic above is of a Phrag. bessae X. It has a TON of roots as you can see, but there are only 3 main roots that are attached to the plant! Another Phrag. bessae X that I had bought as the same time as this one only had 2 main roots, but the same thing...massive amount of roots from those two. Only problem was that while I was cleaning off the dead leaves from the plant I accidentally broke off the WHOLE root system!!!! :( :( :( Had to re-wire it for re-rooting again. Luckily this is a healthy plant, so I expect a full recovery, while Green Glory I have my fingers, toes, arms and legs crossed that it makes it!

I am quite disappointed that SH did not work out the way I had hoped it would. It was keeping the plants way too wet. So it looks like back to bark it is! Some plants do well in it though, but not all!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Orchid Show 2009: Orchid Reflections

What a great show this year it was! I didn't do the society exhibit, which was really nice! Especially in light of the fact that my grandma passed away early in the morning my time St. Patty's day...I was definitely not feeling up to setting that darn thing up let alone much else! I got to get there late, which probably saved me some money! I was a little nervous that we'd have a bad weekend since it was sunny, but the sales were the best that I have seen in the eight years that I have been a member! I helped one of our vendors sell and none of us were able to go to lunch until 3pm on Saturday! Our feet, ankles and backs were really complaining by the end of the day!

I entered 3 plants into the show, one of which whose spike blasted apparently. :( But the other two got 2nd place ribbons in each of their own classes! I purchased a Phalaenopsis (Phal. for short) Zuma Pixie, Dendrobium (Den. for short) Aussie Chip, Paphiopedlium (Paph. for short) lowii crossed with another Paph, and a Paphiopedlium vietnamense! That is controlled purchasing in my book! The only other thing I bought was $50 in orchid supplies. At the end of the show, I was gifted with a species Phalaenopsis and a new Den. atroviolaceum cross!

I brought a Paph that hadn't been doing well in for the "Pros" to look at. Sadly, all the roots on it had died :( Dennis and I took it into orchid ER for an emergency operation only to find out it had no roots. So we cleaned it up...took it home, re-wired it with some fake roots for anchoring and brought it back in the next day w/ a new smaller pot as Dennis gave me some Diatomite or whatever it is called and we potted it back up. I watered it with a rooting solution and placed it in a spot with less light. Hopefully the roots will re-grow and I get to save this plant. It was a plant that everyone had their eyes on when I first had dibs on it! So please keep your fingers crossed! I really liked it too!

While I look forward to the show each year I am glad it is over. It was great to see all our vendors again. They become some good friends sometimes and you learn a lot from them!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friday, March 20th is Officially Spring!

But down in my basement my orchids are already telling me that! Two of my Paphs are spiking! One I have never seen bloom before so I am excited! Lots of spikes coming, but of course, none in time for the show next weekend! I think there are a total of 6 down there in spike, 1 is ready to bloom up in the livingroom, two are blooming, and one is going out of bloom! Guess my "old" lights aren't too old that they are still blooming plants! Just when I thought I might not want to grow anymore plants for awhile....they give me a reason why I grew them in the first place!

Need to find time this week to put down some corn gluten outside!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Orchid Death and Birth

I went to install my new lights today since the power surge a few weeks back ruined them. Afterwards I watered all my orchids only to find out my reliable blooming small Ascocenda died. I suspected something was wrong last week since it was all of a sudden losing green leaves. Today they all fell off and the tell tale signs of a possible bacterial infection. Oh plant down! Hopefully the other one blooms for me this year!

My Paph delenatii is about to bloom. A Tolumnia I got from Main Street Orchids is blooming! I have one in bud...almost in bloom and another that never spiked. Masdevallia Snowbird is in bloom and is holding its last bloom. There is also a mini Dendrobium is in bloom and fragrant. Forget the name of the plant.... A few other orchids are in spike! Guess my bulbs aren't too old! But I will change them out this fall to get the maximum amount of light for winter.

Weather is warming up! It is exciting :D