Orchids (And More) From Al

One of the pictures from my phone I posted yesterday was from Al's Orchid Greenhouse (it was a photo of an amazing water feature with tons of orchids, gesneriads, Tillandsia and other bromeliads, and other fun humidity-loving plants.

I took a buttload of photos at Al's, but few were very good. I am out of practice, I think--I haven't been carrying my camera around with me everywhere like I did in 2009, because 2010 saw me with a frequently effed-up left collarbone and use of only one arm (which preferentially carried coffee, not the camera). I can blame the recent decrease in blogging to the incredible lack of photography--I have only single-digit-number of blog posts without a photo or video, because I think they all need some sort of eye candy (what, my keyboard diarrhea isn't enough for you?!), so fewer photos equals fewer blog posts.

That statement is a load of bull, really. It's just a cop-out; even when I have a lot of photos, sometimes they just don't get posted. I went back through my drafts and saw stuff from as far back as July that I had uploaded into a post but hadn't written anything about. Partially because they weren't plant-related at all, but also because they would be thousands-of-words posts, and I just haven't had that amount of time. Maybe I will, at some point, blog about the beer I brewed in October or the cooking class I attended in Nova Scotia (that white chocolate risotto I learned how to make there has quickly become a standard in my culinary repertoire!).

But, in the meantime, I have new plants! Not pictured here are various Hoya cuttings (H. curtisii, H. pubicalyx, others) that I'm trying to root in different media--one was prepotted, some are in moist vermiculite under cover for extra humidity, some are in vermiculite with no cover, some are in a mix of moist sphagnum moss and perlite, and one (a long cutting with tons of aerial roots) was stuck directly into a pot with African violet soil and perlite. Now that I'm getting more into gesneriads and succulents, I have learned the importance of excellent drainage. (I could learn the importance of watering when it's appropriate, but that's too much like work, so I modify the plants' environment to accommodate my overwatering tendencies. It has helped a great deal so far!) I also didn't take a photo of an "African bulb," the various Episcia cuttings I'm rooting, the crazy Chirita "cutting" (which was more than two feet long, because the actual plant was the size of a large dog with leaves bigger than dinner plates), and a thing that is supposed to be a fern but looks nothing like one because it has heart-shaped crazy succulent leaves and a vining habit.

This is an unnamed orchid that Al grew from his own seed, from what I remember him telling me. The label says "Rrm. Orchidom Red Love x Tolu. (Wimpy x Sniffen 'Jennifer Dauro.' I'm trying to figure out what the hell that means in real-plant speak, but orchids like this one are almost as different to real plants as, say, Chinese is to American Sign Language. This list says that Rrm. stands for Radrumnia, which is a cross between Rodriguezia and Tolumnia--which is abbreviated "Tolu.," I assume, but did not find that in this list. I don't know whether "Orchidum" is a hybrid name or some other crazy denotation. This is new waters for me!

Anyway, I'm calling him Radrumnia x Tolumnia "Charlie," because I can. I don't like the craziness with which orchid parentage is described--the names are way too long! (I don't know why "Charlie," it was just the first name that popped into my head, and hell, it seems a good enough name, right?)

In any event, the blooms are beautiful.

I killed the Ceropegia woodii cuttings that Kyoko gave me in the summer, so I nabbed this prepotted one from Al's. Hopefully it'll do better for me because it already has roots (presumably).

I also have cuttings from this Hoya curtisii, which looks exactly like the Ceropegia woodii to me (except the internode length is much shorter on the Hoya. Also, y'know, flowers.). My mom would love both plants for their leaf shape. She would also kill them (I learned well from her! Actually, she was pretty darn good with plants--as long as they weren't ours.).

I liked the look of this Sarcoglottis sceptrodes (left) because it is almost reminiscent of a well-variegated lancifoliar Chirita to me. Also, it's flowering. This picture was taken in early January, shortly after I got the plant from Al; now, the flower spike is about six inches tall.

Also visible in this photo is one of my Aloe that is being resuscitated after a mealy bug/scale double-whammy through which it lost its root system to rot (sigh) and my Bulbophyllum gracillimum that I had the bright idea to mount on sphagnum moss attached to the pieces of wood I got from my first-ever three-part prune during Master Gardener training. I'm not sure if they like this much. At the same time, they moved from next to the window to under the fluorescents, so I'm not sure what is making them more upset--the mounting or the light or the temperature difference.

This little buddy is only slightly visible in the above photo--he's Dendrobium loddigesii. And he's variegated! He brings out the Lorraine in me ("Gosh that's cute!").

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One Response to Orchids (And More) From Al

  1. Watch the watering with the Tolumnia cross! they really really hate too much moisture. I'm not sure how much is too much because I've never had the guts to try one, but they sure look awesome!

    If you can figure out what makes a Sarcoglottis sceptrodes happy let me know! and if it dies off on you it'll probably resprout so don't panic. Mine's in the middle of doing this as we speak.

    Bulbophyllum generally prefer to be mounted but again not a plant I've tried.

    And finally that Dendrobium is awesome.


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