Monday, February 24, 2020

A pair of Amazona vittata. the puertorican amazon calling from a tree near their nest

It has been an unusually rainy 24 of February.  Normally this month is one of the driest ones of the year.  But the arrival of a cold front ushered non stop rain and drizzle that has lasted the whole day.  In some parts of the island the rain has set records that had stood since the 1940's.  It has been a rainy and cloudy afternoon.  Every afternoon, I do a round to check the captive breeding pairs.  I do this every day during the breeding season, at a specific time.  The captive parrots become habituated to my presence and are not alarmed when I go by.   Some wild birds have territories inside the aviary and they also become habituated to my presence.   This pair is perching in a tree near to where their nest is located.  You can hear their calls and also the calls of other parrots who are near.  Their calls serve to mark their territory and to warn other birds away.   There was another pair who had a territory close to that of this pair.  The male of that pair died.  In an unusual turn of events, this pair tolerates the female in their territory rather than chasing her away as they do with other birds.  You can see the widowed female arrive after second 18 of the video.  The male is a captive bird that was released a few years back, you can see the antena of his radio transmitter.  The is lacking a few feathers from the top of his head, probably he lost them in a territorial fight.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Acacallis cyanea Lindley 1853

A plant product of a sibling cross.  I saw iit in the collection of a friend who says it grows well for him and blooms frequently.  He grows it in a warm, humid environment.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Bulbophyllum romyi B.Thoms 2015

I saw this plant this orchid yesterday.   I was told a shipment that arrived on the island labeled as Bulb fascinator, turned out to be all Bulbophyllum romyi.  This is one case where I am sure nobody is complaining.  The color of this orchid makes it very hard to get a good photo.  I had to use the phone camera to capture the incredibly dark lip.  When I took photos with my DSRL camera, the flower comes out red, beautiful, but highly unrealistic.  The plant I saw is still young, I was told that when it gets bigger the flower will be even more impressive.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Coelogyne rochussenii de Vriese 1854. Beautiful and with a powerful fragrance

I brought this plant about five years ago.   Initially it didn’t do well.  For reasons that I could not decipher the new growths kept dying from rot.  This is a very unusual thing to happen to a Coelogyne in my garden.   None of the other Coelogynes I grow, Burfordiense, mayeriana, parishii and an unknown one similar to schielleriana, has ever lost a new growth from black rot.   After the plant had initiated, and lost several new growths I decided that it was just not doing well in my growing area in the mountains of Puerto Rico.  I took the plant to my other growing area, which is in the lowlands near the northwest coast of the island.  It is warmer and drier that the other location.  Since the plant didn’t have that many roots and no new growths, I put it over a pond, where it would be in a humid environment but without the constant wetness of the other area in the mountains.

The plant slowly began producing new growths and thankfully they didn’t rot.  I was not paying too much attention to it since I worried that I might have been killing it with kindness.  The plant spent years over the pond, including staying there during two hurricanes, which didn’t have the slightest effect on it.

Last week as I was walking in the garden, I noticed that it had some green growths, I initially thought they were young pseudobulbs, but on closer inspection I found out they were inflorescences.  I was delighted.  The plant produced an inflorescence las year, but it was short and not impressive.

I took the plant with me to the mountains so I could enjoy the flowers.  The flowers opened today, the 22 of October.   Initially the fragrance was slight.  But by 10 am the fragrance was powerful, in fact so much so that it was cloying.   It is a nice fragrance, but as I stood close to the two inflorescences, it was so strong I could almost taste it.   In the afternoon, the flowers started to close and the fragrance abated considerably, by night fall I could detect no smell.  Many of the photos I have seen in the internet show flowers that are partly closed.
I plan to grow this orchid into a specimen plant.  It grows well with little special care.  My suspicion is that I was watering it too much.   It seems to like environmental humidity but not being wet all the time.  I plan to use a flat plate to grow it to allow it to ramble at will, the conical pseudobulbs are separated by stolon that is a few inches long.  This means that this orchid will escape from a typical pot in one or two years at most.

Saturday, August 17, 2019