" To plant trees is to give body and life to one's dreams of a better world " Russell Page

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring cleaning

Spring has definitely settled in so there is some cleaning an re potting due!

I have sampled over the years a small family of 4 Phalaeanopsis Orchids which once the flowering time was over, just found their way into a shallow basket where they happily thrive - producing way more (healthy) leaves than flowers...
I had many other orchids too, but I had to find out that I am not really an orchid person - or maybe they don't fancy the climate of my living room and I am not too eager in transforming it into a hothouse either. So gone are the Dendrobiums, Miltonias and Catleyas I frequented for a short period.

But Phalaenopsis are tough girls and as I told you, they happily produce new luscious leaves and even keikys - those tiny orchids babies and everything. It's just the flowers they are less eager to repeat, but hey, gardeners never loose hope!

So here I decided to re pot and clean them and settle them on a shadowy terrace for the coming summer.

 So this is how they basically looked like before the whole operation started.

I decided to add some sphagnum moss and a bit of bat guano to the regular bark, just to see if they like it better than the plain bark I used before. The bat guano was recommended by a website specialised orchid products...

 This is how they looked like once I discarded the old bark.

I empirically mixed the bark with a handful of moss and a dash of guano... since everything happened in the kitchen I went on exactly the same way I do my cooking - using a lot of free inspiration!

And this is how they look like once they have been re potted and bathed with luke warm water to clean the dust and some annoying mealy bugs... This one is 4 years old and has bloomed twice since I have her, but I would love to convince them to get a bit more industrious on the blooming issue.

The whole program will be continued with Orchids fertilizer 20-20-20 and some nutritional complements (phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and algae). Well see how it goes.

If anyone should have some tips about growing orchids at home - and making them bloom, please share your tips with me!

For the ones in Italy, I highly recommend two absolutely fantastic Orchid growers: Orchideria Morosolo on the Lago Maggiore and Nardotto e Capello near Ventimiglia which not only have an incredible selection , but who are absolutely lovely and passionate about their work!