Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hurry up, Spring!

So, after battling through December and most of January trying to keep the cold out and the heat in, I think we have something that works.  The solar pool cover and bubble wrap seems to be working a little, and my honey got a thermostat for the heater so I don't have to keep running out to the greenhouse to turn the heater on / up, off/down.  Its hard to say if it is working yet, since we just got the electric bill for December, but that includes the Christmas lights / decorations we were running, too.   I'm hoping we don't have another $300 plus electric bill, or I'll lose my mind!

In the meantime, the orchids just keep chugging along.  Since its cooler weather, most of them are not in active growth, but a few of the Phals are spiking, the Twinkles are finishing up, my Noid Oncidium is putting up another spike, and the Latouria Dendrobiums that I have are beginning to open.

 Dendrobium Bruce Gordon

Cymbidium Magic Flora 'Red Falls'

Bc. Yellow Bird - I took pictures of this one a couple of days apart to show the color changes.  It will eventually turn canary yellow, and I'll post pictures of that when it gets there.

This is a new one that I picked up at my orchid society meeting.  Its a Dialaelia Mizoguchi 'Princess Kiko'

There are three spikes on that one, and they are about 2 feet long each!  15-17 buds, and they are in the process of opening now.  I'll post another pic when its all open.

So, that's it for now, I'm at work and should probably get back to it.  LOL!!

I'll post again soon, so until then Happy Growing!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Getting the hang of things

Well, I think I am finally getting the hang of posting to the blog AND growing my orchid babies!  I had a couple of new bloomers this past weekend, and got some delicious pictures to post.

The biggest challenge for me right now is keeping the greenhouse warm enough without blowing up my electric bill.  Its been cold here, people!  I mean, very un-California-like weather.  If I don't turn the heater on, the greenhouse can dip down into the 40's, and that's not going to help any of the plants.  My husband bought me a solar pool cover (its kind of like really heavy bubble wrap), and it keeps the temps from dropping too low, but I can't cover the doorway with it because I wouldn't be able to get in without making a mess of things, so he used some regular bubble wrap and insulated the doorway with that.

I've been able to turn the heater off during the day, but even then the temps drop to the mid-to-high 50's in the front of the greenhouse while the back stays in the 60's.  This created another situation, because the back was cooler than the front for the first few months so I put all of the cooler growers back there.  Now I had to move a few to the front and some of the ones in front had to move to the back.  Its a dance, but one I will gladly participate in, because I am really loving this little hobby of mine.

I've got spikes and new growth going on all over the place, and I think in the spring it will be beautiful in there.

So, I'll post my newest bloomers now.  First up, the Oncidium Charlesworthii

Angraecum didieri

This is the Cochlioda vulcanica that was opening when I last posted.  I love this one!!  Pink is one of my favorite colors, and the blooms are so delicate looking.

There's more coming, so I'll be back soon with more pictures!  Until then, Happy Growing!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ahh, its been crazy around here for the past couple of weeks!!  Christmas has come and gone, New Year's has come and gone, and here we are in 2013.  I wonder how long its gonna take before I can write that instead of 2012.

Its wintertime, and there's not too much blooming in the greenhouse right now, although I do have some spikes on most of my Phals, and a couple of my Onc. hybrids are doing a little something.  I have some Dendrobiums that have buds, but they are taking FOREVER to open!  I can't wait, though.  They are spectacular!

Here's what's going on right now:

This is a NOID that I picked up at the Ventura County OS meeting raffle.  It is one of my favorite, even if it doesn't have a tag.  I love me some red!

Epc. Siam Jade 'AVO'.  This one had 3 buds on it, and 2 of them blasted.  (Boo hoo).  Same thing happened last year, so there's something I"m not doing right with this one.  I hope I'll figure it out next time around.

Cattlianthe Donna Pasenen.  I've been battling mealy bugs and scale on this one for a few months now.  I don't want to use harsh chemicals, but the organic stuff and home remedies haven't been effective.  I'm going to give it one last go, then I'll have to break out the big guns.  In the meantime, I had three more buds on this one and they all opened perfectly.  I'll update the pic once the petals and sepals are completely unfurled.

That's it for now.  I am currently waiting for my Cochlioda vulcanica to fully open, and the Angraecum didieri bud is HUGE, so it should be open in a week or so.  I can see the spur unwrapping...so exciting!

The red NOID pictured above decided to shoot another spike up.  Its just peeking out of the leaf axil now, so it'll be weeks before it starts opening.

But for me, the most exciting thing happening is the Phal hieroglyphica that I got last year.  IT started a spike last January which stalled, then in late October that spike started up again, and there are like, 3 or 4 subspikes off of that one, then 2 more new spikes coming in!!  If they all bloom together, it's sure to be special.

I have to get back to work now, but I'll be back soon with some updates.  Until then, Happy Growing!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cyms and Twinkles

I am very pleased at the growth going on in the greenhouse right now.  I have new growths coming in on most of my Bulbos, which have been a struggle for me, and spikes everywhere.  The whole place should be a blast of color come Spring time.

I have a couple of bloomers right now, and some others not far behind.  First up, the Oncidium Twinkles.  I have a 'White Shower' and a 'Pink Profusion' currently blooming:

Here is the 'White Shower'

And here is the 'Pink Profusion'

Then, I have a Cymbidium division that I received from a member of the Orchidgeeks forum that I belong to.  This one is called Cym. Caitlin 'Pink Delight'

I have another mini Cymbidium that is currently throwing out 8 spikes, and I can't wait until they are all bloomed out!  Its a Magic Flora 'Red Falls', and I got that one from another Orchidgeek buddy that had fallen out of like with it.

You know, I don't think I've said much about Orchidgeeks.com.  I found it by trying to find information on reblooming a Cymbidium that my nephew, Baron Jr., gave me for Mother's Day a few years ago.  I looked on a few other orchid forums, but this one was much easier to navigate, and the people there seemed so friendly.  I got a lot of great advice, brought my plant and my mom's back from the brink of death, and developed a new hobby / addiction.

The forum is like a meeting place for orchid growers.  There are many experienced growers that post pictures of the plants they have in bloom, and then there are those of us new to the hobby that come there to seek advice or growing tips.

Well, while you are searching for the information you need, you see all of these gorgeous flowers and you have to have one!  So, you go online and find a vendor that sells the one you want, then while you are there, you see all these other beauties and next thing you know, your shopping cart has 3, 4, 5 orchids in it.  ( You gotta make the shipping cost worth it, right? :-D

I've made a lot of friends there.  Some I've met in person, some I keep in touch with via email, and some I just chat with in the private message section of the forum, but all are amazing people.  Maybe people that grow flowers just naturally have a great attitude.  I'm still working on mine...LOL!

I've found that I can't wait to check out what's going on in the forum every morning, and after coffee, its the first thing I do - grab the iPhone and log on.  It never fails to satisfy.

OK, I have to get back to work, but I'm sure I will have more to post soon.  Until then...Happy Growing!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Now that Thanksgiving is over...

I was able to get back into the greenhouse and take care of some serious business.  There was a show in S.B. by the Orchid Society of S.B. that my OS as invited to do a display table for.  I sent up a few plants for the display, since this is kind of a down time for most orchids and they needed a boost.

I was told there wouldn't be any judging, but when Rich from my OS brought my plants back, my Prosthechea Green Hornet 'ISO' had a 3rd place ribbon on it!!  Woo hoo!!  This is my first ribbon ever, and I hope the first of many more to come.  I think I"m getting a little bit good at this orchid growing stuff, and a lot of my babies are rewarding me for taking such good care of them.

Since my last orchid post, I've had a couple more bloomers:

This is Bulbophyllum longissimum.  The bloom were 9.5 inches long!  Here's a shot of the top:

I had another one that had started a spike, but then the whole spike, along with a new growth, turned brown and dried up on me.  Hmmm, the plant is in a tray that sits in water, so it didn't dry up...gonna have to watch that one.

This is the second bloom on my Phalaenopsis bellina.  I love this one, because it smells so good!
This one had a much better form than the first one, so I hope subsequent blooms will get even better.  I repotted this one, as I noticed quite a few dried up roots that needed to be trimmed off, and a couple of slugs have been lurking in a couple of my pots.

Here is Mama's little winner with its ribbon:

This Cymbidium belonged to my mom.  She got it from George Hatfield when my husband and I took her with us to check out his greenhouses.  Its called Hungarian Rapsody #2

Brassavola nodosa, called the Lady of the Night because its scent come out when the sun goes down.  Something munched on half of the bloom, but there are two more coming, so hopefully they will be intact.

The whole plant on its mount

and finally, Ascocentrum pumilum.  I got this one almost exactly a year ago, and its a cutie.  A micro-mini, it takes up very little space in the greenhouse.  I think I'm going to have to look for a few more of this genus.

So, that's it for now.  I have a lot of spikes coming in - the Twinkle 'Pink Profusion' is starting to open now, so I should have some new pictures to post in a couple of weeks.

Until then....Happy Growing!!

Seriously lagging...

I'm still getting used to posting on my blog, so I hope you all will bear with me.

Thanksgiving was, in my opinion, a HUGE success! The food was great, my husband's family was amazing, everyone was happy, and my house was full.

I met two of my husband's cousins, Rod and Randy, and their respective spouses, Heather and Cindy, for the first time.  Randy and Cindy were passing through on a road trip to check out some bands they liked, but stopped in to have Thanksgiving with us.  Randy helped my husband fix my apple peeler, slicer, corer just in time for me to be able to make my Upside Down and Caramel Apple pies.  I'll tell ya, if they hadn't been there, I'd STILL be peeling apples!  LOL!

Cindy was really nice.  She's really tall, just like Randy, and just seemed like a happy person - lots of good energy coming off of her.

Rod is super smart and really nice.  On Friday, he asked if there was a Best Buy close by, and had my father-in-law take him.  I thought he was just taking advantage of some Black Friday deals, but no....he came back with a bag full of universal remotes for each family member!  (I guess he wasn't impressed with the 4 remotes we used to run our TV and components, LOL!)  He spent a couple of hours programming it for our stuff and VOILA, we only need 1 remote now to run our TV, Blu-Ray, Amplifier and Direct TV DVR.  He said he's had this remote for 5 years and loves it - I can see why.  Its pretty awesome.

Heather.  This woman is a firecracker!  She's gotta be 5'0" or less, but cracks a whip like a pro!.  IN fact, she has whip-cracking app on her iPhone that she used on a regular basis to get Clan Campbell motivated and moving.  It was hilarious!  She's got a huge personality packed into that little body, and I have to say I really liked her a lot.

Randy and Cindy left Friday night, but the rest left on Saturday.  We had a gigantic group breakfast in Simi Valley, and my husband and I invited my in-law's best friends to join us as a surprise.  Check out this group shot:

So, with everyone gone, there was a lot of clean-up to do, but not this weekend.  I"m telling you, I was TIRED!  I'd been cooking since Monday, and I was not going to clean the house, too.  My honey was very understanding, and didn't say a word as I feel asleep on the couch for half the afternoon.  Sunday I had to work, so I spent a couple of hours each night during the following week trying to get the house back in order.  Thanksgiving down, Christmas to go!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I forgot I had a blog!

I almost forgot I had started this blog until my 1 follower reminded me the other day.  There's been so much going on that I don't know if I'm coming or going.

My husband's family is coming in from all over the place for Thanksgiving, and although I'm a little stressed out about cooking for over 40 people, I'm sure it'll be great.

THEN, I threw my back out a couple of weeks ago, and have been going to a chiropractor to see if he can straighten it out.  I've never been to one before, so am not sure what to expect.  It seems to be getting a tiny bit better, but by nighttime, I'm just about done.

His office is kind of odd, for me.  He runs it like an assembly line, and he is constantly telling his staff what to do and what his expectations are - right in front of the clients!  On my first visit, I heard him bitching out one of the girls on the phone.  Her fault for having it on speaker, but he has a real potty mouth!

I do enjoy the roller table, though.  I'd love to have one at my house so I can get on it 2-3 times a week.  Its so relaxing.

SO!  On to the good stuff!  My orchid babies are still making me very happy.  Since I Moved most of them into the greenhouse they've been growing and thriving, just as I'd hoped.  I have new growths, some spikes, and a few blooms.  Of course, there are some bugs in there, too, so I've been spraying my Safer Soap on everything, but may have to go to some big guns soon.  Mealy bugs are gross, and I think I may have some spider mites.  We have a pest control company that comes out and sprays the perimeter of the house every 2 months, and I spoke with our technician, Kelli.  She said she would be more than happy to spray the greenhouse, too, but we agreed to do some research on both our ends to see what would kill the bugs but not harm the plants.

Here are some pictures of what I've got going on right now:

Encyclia garciana - this one seems to be a pretty easy grower.  At least from a semi-newbie's perspective.

Ascofinetia Cherry Blossom 'Carmela'

This is just a cutie-pie!  I love it, and it gave me three spikes.  It was my Mother's Day gift to myself this past May.

Oncidium clowesii

I got this one from a silent auction at the Orchid Society meeting two months ago.  

Prosthechea Green Hornet

I have two of there - 1 potted and one mounted.  The potted one seems to be growing better than the mounted one, but both are in bloom right now.  In this picture, the one I'm holding is the mounted one, and it just said Green Hornet on the tag.  The one on the right is a Green Hornet 'ISO', and the bloom seems to be a little smaller, but it is more prolific.

close up of the 'ISO'

Well, that's it for now, but like I said, there are quite a few spikes going on right now, so I'm looking forward to some blooms in the next few weeks.  Until then, I guess I'll post about the new orchids I have coming in!  LOL!