Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dendrobium Burana Sunshine x Dendrobium discolor

The influence of Dendrobium discolor is unmistakable in this hybrid.  Unlike Den. discolor, this plant blooms in a relatively small plant.  I love the color and the ease of culture of this orchid.  I grow it outside, under saran shade cloth.  The local climate is hot, not warm, and during the dry season the plants experience much drier conditions than normal.  However this plant takes it all in stride and grows well without any special care.  It is in a terracota pot with very clean and hard bark.  It has been my experience that these orchids resent mightly any kind of media that stays soggy for a long time, this usually results in the loss of roots.

Epilaelia Snow Fantasy x Encyclia alata, the 2014 blooming

This is this plant second blooming in my garden.  The plant still have some way to go before it reaches full adult size.  The Epilaelia Snow Fantasy is a large plant. The Encyclia parent can vary in size, I have seen both small and some impressively sized plants and I had one that would produce up to a hundred flowers in a single inflorescence.  I expect this plant inflorescences to increase in size until the plant has three or four full size pseudobulbs in a row.  It is not clear to me how large the pseudobulbs of this orchid will eventually get.   The best thing about this plant is that the climate in my garden is very well suited to its seasonal growth pattern.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stanhopea wardii Lodd. ex Lindley 1838, first blooming in my collection

I brought this plant a few years ago from Tropical Orchid Farm.  I potted it in a basket with bark.  As most people that knows this genus would have realized, bark is not a recommended media for this species, due to its pendent inflorescence, which can become trapped in dense media.  But I judged that my plant was small enough that it would take some time to read adults size and by that time the pseudobulbs would have reached the edge of the basket and the media would no longer be an impediment to any developing roots.

I gave the plant generous watering, constant fertilizing and it thrived.  Last year the new growths reached the edge of the six inch basket, growths after that had their bases exposed rather than being sitting on top of the media.  A few months ago the latest growths showed two inflorescences, one at each opposite end of the basket.

The flowers are beautiful and have a good size.   In fact the inflorescence is impressively massive considering the size of the pseudobulbs from which it develops.  The flowers opened well but one collapsed quickly, probably due to the stress of being moved from the mountains to the hot coastal lowlands.  The plant started blooming on Friday  24 of 2014, and I feared that because I was going away for the weekend, when I returned they all might have collapsed, so I took it with me, so that I could photograph the flowers when they were freshly opened.

This plant has not represented for me a cultural challenge.  The only special thing I have made for this plant is a custom made basket I made ao I could fulfill the cultural needs of the plant without using a lot of potting media.  The plant is healthy, however it lost many leaves during this year, maybe due to unseasonably dry weather in my locality at a date where it normally rains constantly,

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sobralia decora Bateman 1841, blooming in 2014

This is the second year this Sobralia blooms in my garden.  The plant has been growing well in the warm and humid environment of the Rio Abajo Forest in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.   Although I would not call it a fast grower, it has more than doubled in size since I brought it two years ago.  This plant needs regular watering and fertilizing to produce the full sized canes that bloom best.  The bigger the canes the better the flowering.  I particularly like the fact that all the flowers opened simultanously.  Sadly the flowers are short lived and collapse in the afternoon.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bulbophyllum Elisabeth Ann a pale clone

Bulbophyllum Elisabeth Ann is the cross of Bulb. rothschidianum x Bulb. longissimum.  Different clones can vary in the way that they resemble their parents.  Most people prefer those clones that show the rich red color of the rothschildianum parent.  I have several clones I brought some time ago, this is the most pale of the lot.  Unfortunately the yellow color is not bright and it is noticeable only when one looks at the plant closely, the pink color tends to overshadow it.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Rosella de cabeza pálida, Platycercus adscitus, en cautiverio y en estado salvaje

Fue un privilegio ver esta ave tan hermosa en estado salvaje.  Las vi en New South Wales en un parque en un área urbana.  Era como de ensueño ver un ave de colores tan llamativos y peculiares caminado por el césped de un parque como un pinzón cualquiera, cuando uno se tiende a imaginar aves exóticas en remotas e impenetrables junglas.

Perico princesa, Polytelis alexandrae una especie endemica de Australia

Una forma mutante
La especie con su coloración natural
Esta especie de perico es endémica de Australia.  No se conoce mucho sobre esta ave en su estado natural debido a que habita el interior desértico del país y porque son nómadas.  Esta especie se reproduce en cautiverio y existen varias formas mutantes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bulbophyllum lobbii var, Malacca, blooming with multiple flowers for the second time in 2014

In the past I had tried to grow this orchid without sucess.  In January of 2013, I received this plant and the nominate variety.  Both were treated identically, potted in the same media and in the same type of basket, they were growing side by side.  The nominate type died a low and messy death, the var. Malacca has thrived and blooms very well.  I wonder what is the difference that caused the different outcomes in the cultivation of plants that are essentially identical in their needs.

Periquito espléndido (Neophema splendida), nativo de los desiertos de Australia

Cacatúa abanderada (Lophochroa leadbeateri) nativa de las regiones semiaridas de Australia.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bulbophyllum ambrosia[Hance] Schlechter 1919

I received this orchid as a gift several years ago.  Unlike all my other Bulbophyllum, it has only produced two new growths in all that time.  The plant seems healthy enough and it is sorrounded by other orchids of the same genus that are doing pretty well, so the reason for the slow rate of growth is a mystery.  Some of my friends have this plant and they produce new growths regularly.  My plant had never bloomed and I had almost given up on it.  Yesterday I returned from a vacation and was surprised to find a flower sticking up from the moss in the pot.  The flower is lovely, I hope it blooms regularly in the future.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ludisia discolor [Ker-Gawl.] A. Rich. 1825, a jewel orchid that is very easy to grow in Puerto Rico

Last year a friend gave me a cutting of this jewel orchid.  The initial piece spent a year growing comparatively slowly and producing offshoots.  During this year dry season the plant hardly grew.  But when the rainy season arrived this plant really went into overdrive.  It produced bigger stems with larger leaves than ever before.  It thrived in the oppressive humidity, constant rain and warm temperatures of the wet season.  Right now we are near the peak of the local rainy season and the plant is at its best.  Judging from its vigorous growth in the last few months it is possible that in less than a year it will outgrow its pot.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tolumnia variegata, observations on a plant growing "in situ" on the Rio Abajo forest

As I walk through the forest I often see orchid plants growing in the trees.  Most of them are in predictable places where one would expect an orchid plant to survive and thrive.  But sometimes our expectations turn out to be wrong.  When I have found Tolumnia variegata growing in the Rio Abajo forest it has usually been growing in twigs under the shelter of the canopy.   But last week I found a group of plants growing in a leafless branch of an orange tree.  Far from been protected by a leafy canopy this group of plants is exposed to the worst of the tropical sun for most of the day.  From the orientation of the plant I surmise that the original plant germinated and grew in the underside of the branch.  But all the leafy growths are now on top of the branch, fully exposed to the sun
The leaf fans are flat and are so oriented that at midday only the very narrow top of the leaf is exposed to the sun.  This orchid has a large network of roots that runs for many inches around it in the branch where it is perched.  The leaf fans are comparatively puny compared with other Tolumnia I have seen in the forest and are definitely stunted.  The inflorescences are small and have fewer flowers than plants that grow in more sheltered spots.  However the plant looks pretty healthy and it has several inflorescences on the way.
The plant is growing fifteen feet up in a tree.  I plan to monitor its growth and blooming over the next year.  I am particularly curious to see how this plant fares in such an exposed location during the dry season when a whole month can pass without any rain and humidity can be very low for our location. 

On occasion I have brought Tolumnia plants that have fallen from the trees to my shadehouse which is not far from where this tree is located.  All have eventually died.  I wonder why a plant that lives several years on the local trees around my house perishes when moved to my garden.  Perhaps observing this plant will illuminate this question.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Schomburgkia undulata Lindley 1841 now Laelia undulata

I brought this plant many years ago from Tropical Orchid Farm which is in Hawaii. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Stanhopea panamensis

New growths have been popping out of the sides of the basket,
some three to four inches under the level of the top of the media

Some time ago I put this Dendrobium harveyanum keiki on top of th Stanhopea basket and forgot about it.  The little plant became totally trapped in the Stanhopea root basket, it can't be removed without harming it severely.  Recently it started producing a new cane.  It seems it will survive being in the root mass of the larger orchid.

My plant of Stanhopea panamensis blooms in a somewhat erratic manner.  I never know when an inflorescence will pop out of the bottom of the basket.  But generally it tends to bloom in summer and autumn in the rainiest part of the year.  The media I used of it was the cheapest bark I could find, most of it has decayed and whatever is left is held together by the root mass.  The top of the basket is filled with old pseudobulbs, new pseudobulbs are now appearing from the sides of the basket, several inches under the level of the media on top of the basket.    

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A toadstool in the pot of Miltonia Earl Dunn

Early in the year, during the local dry season, I put a few pieces of very dry horse manure on top of the media of a Miltonia Earl Dunn.  I wondered if the addition of manure would have a positive influence on the growth of the plant.  When the rainy season arrived, the Miltonia started growing but the manure didn't seem to make any difference in its growth rate or the size of the pseudobulbs that were produced.  About two weeks ago tropical storm Bertha passed close to the island of Puerto Rico, it brought with it copious rain.  In two days 7.30 inches of rain accumulated, which is roughly about the same quantity of rain we would get in the months of June and July.  The heavy rainy spell stimulated many plants, Dendrobium crumenatum plants in bloom were everywhere in the island, my Dendrobium equitans plant is full of buds and Stanhopea panamensis developed two inflorescences.  But orchids were not the only ones to react to the increased humidity.

This morning I saw this delicate toadstool growing out of the pot of the Miltonia Earl Dunn.  The toadstool was very delicate, I am sure simply touching it would have damaged the cap.  The toadstool was in pristine condition during the morning before the day got hot.  Today was a singularly hot and dry day.  When I checked the toadstool it had become dehydrated and had collapsed.  My suspicious is that the addition of manure allowed this fungus to colonize the media of the Miltonia.  I occasionally find toadstools in the pots of other  orchids but usually they are quite small and inconspicuous.  This is the largest one I have ever seen.

The Miltonia doesn't show any sign that the fungus is harming it.  Given the warm, tropical conditions that are the norm in my garden, fungus are everywhere.   Even thought themedia has been colonized by this fungus, it doesn't look too decayed and the Miltonia roots seem healthy.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Encyclia cordigera [HBK] Dressler 1964, this is the type known as var. rosea

The color of the leaves is not due to a disease.  The color is a response to growing in a high light intensity area.  The plant is potted in chunks of coconut fiber and small pieces of tree ferns.