Gotta Garden

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Repotting the Orchid

Based on the orchid class, I decided I needed to repot my faithful dendrobium. This is my orchid that I've had for several years and is responsible for persuading me that perhaps I just might be able to manage a few more. I have mixed feelings,,,,partly the "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" thing as the orchid has happily resided in the same pot it was purchased in....and now, I am going to mess with fate. I am going on what our erstwhile instructor said...that orchids should be repotted once a, here goes:

The dendrobium's out of pot experience:

IMG_2753 repotting my dendro 022807

Dendrobium and repotting essentials....except twist ties which are needed because nobody told the orchid it was supposed to bone is optional:

IMG_2756 repotting my dendr 2 022807

And. the final product (look carefully, the dog bones have multiplied...imagine that):

IMG_2758 finshed repotted dendro 022807

Well, at least I have proof that it did look pretty good if it doesn't like its new environs...

Here it is in bloom last October (it bloomed twice last year! Jan & Oct!):

IMG_1453  101806 small for flickr

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Snow in the Garden

When I saw this picture, it gave me the idea that it would be neat to follow this same view through the seasons. I'll try to do that! (I just wish I had taken more views....)

IMG_2718 022507 redbud with azaleas

Here are pine trees covered in snow...they shook it off rather quickly and were free of the snow by the next day:

IMG_2722 pinetrees covered with snow

Poor unfortunate daylily seedlings that are wintering in their planting boxes...I guess we'll find out how tough they are:

IMG_2729 05  unplanted daylily seedlings on deck 022507

My magnolia grandiflora doesn't take the snow well. It has tended toward broken branches the past couple years...yes, there's one on the ground there (very attractive air conditioning unit, don't you think?):

IMG_2733 magnolia with broken branch

This clematis armandii can't be happy:

IMG_2736 clematis armandii in snow

Holly leaf osmanthus (I think it may be Osmanthus heterophyllus (aquifolium)...but I am not sure as it was simply labeled osmanthus...I digress to tell you that I considered it a "find" stuck among the azaleas offered for sale out in front of a now defunct grocery store some years ago....most people mistake it for holly, but it is some point, if I remember (lol) I'll do a post on osmanthus...anyway, given where it is, I hope it is not this one!)

Completely bowed by the snow, it is usually as tall as the fence:

IMG_2739 holly leaf osmanthus bowed by snow

And finally, the honeysuckle that is trying hard to sneak into my garden (from my neighbors' yard...where I would like it to stay....I enjoy its fragrance very much...but I would prefer it to live and to cover their yard):

IMG_2740 honeysuckle

These were all taken Sunday, February 25th (a day of great snow here in Virginia!) in my yard...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Follow Up

On top is my new orchid, Burr Nelly Isler 'Swiss Beauty', from the Maymont Show opening up....and below is my amaryllis, hippeastrum 'Jewel', with all four buds open.

Daylily Seedlings Update

Today's mail brought the last of the purchased daylily seeds. They'll soon join all of these which are growing inside. I think I have approximately five other daylily crosses to start, so the new seeds will have company. But, that's it for this year (famous last words)! Weather permitting, I'll start hardening these off in March (probably late March). Then, I'll transfer them to planting boxes where they'll grow for quite a while out on my bottom deck...or until I figure out where they're going to go.

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to think about tomatoes and peppers. An order from Totally Tomatoes arrived today and had a bonus back of tomato seeds as well as pepper seeds.


Sorry, I hadn't thought about it until Karen's comment, so for those of you who want to know where to purchase daylily seed crosses (anything from oldies-but-goodies to the latest-and-greatest), please head for The Lily Auction. Perhaps I should do a post on the should have a warning, though, Very Addictive! (Thanks for asking, Karen!)

Daffodil Collage

It's hard to resist playing with photos when everything outside is covered in snow! It won't be long before the daffodils actually do begin blooming here...although it feels like longer! Here are just a few from last year (06). They were primarily selected because of the photo size. Notes for this year include taking more close up pictures.

See the Daylily Collage here and the General Garden one here.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Garden Education: Orchids for the Home

Friday found me at the U.S. Botanical Garden eagerly awaiting a class on orchids. Now, I love orchids but I am not at all confident of my ability to keep them happy. The timing of this class was perfect in that I had just added two orchids to my meager collection of four (if you’re counting, we’re up to six!). The two new orchids are not the faithful dendrobium or the considered easy phalaenoposis (see this post).

Arriving early, I spent my time taking some pictures (which I’ll share later). Asking about admission to the class, I was told I could go ahead and seat myself. An empty seat right in front caught my eye and not being shy, I headed that way. After settling my belongings, I hopped up to take pictures of the amazing orchids on display for us.

IMG_2598 smallIMG_2599 small

Our speaker was a Mr. M. Spelta, one of two orchid experts at the botanical garden. Mr. Spelta immediately began conveying information to us in a relaxed way that put us all at ease. New orchids are still being discovered, he told us, and with hybridizing efforts ongoing, our choices of orchids are almost unlimited. We learned that orchids can grow in trees (epiphytes), grow in rocks (lithophytes) and in the ground (terrestrial).

IMG_2605 022307 smallIMG_2601 022307 small

The four most important things to remember regarding orchids are humidity, light, air movement and watering. A humidity tray with rocks was recommended (but don’t let the plants touch the rocks) and we were advised to water approximately once a week, preferably in the morning. Distilled, spring or rain water is best for your orchids, but you can let tap water stand for approximately 30 minutes and then use it. Misting your orchids in the morning is also a good thing. Do not over water your orchids!

Air movement is important for the health of your orchids. Many growers use fans on their orchids. You may also take your orchids outside in warm weather where the natural air movement will be beneficial. Give them some shade as they can burn. Check the leaves and if they feel warm, you need to move them. Horticulture oil was recommended for any insect problems or one teaspoon of dish soap diluted in a gallon of water would also work.

IMG_2606 022307 smallIMG_2608 small

Orchids need light, but not direct sunlight. Dendrobiums can take more light than some other varieties. Phalaenoposis need a ten degree difference in temperature to encourage blooming. It was suggested that putting your phalaenoposis in a window now in the evenings (while the temperatures are still pretty cool) for about two weeks would probably convince them to bloom (if they are not already).

A good fertilizer like Peters or Miracle Grow (30-10-10) given at half the recommended strength can be applied every two weeks or so while the orchid is growing. If it is flowering, drop that to once per month.

Mr. Spelta graciously answered numerous questions. He also suggested that we call him at the garden with any questions and he would be glad to answer them.

IMG_2600 small (This is like one of the ones I just bought! It's fragrant!)

After the class, I went back into the orchid habitat and took still more pictures! I’ll post those to follow.


For more information, check out the American Orchid Society.

U.S. Botanical Garden: Orchids

Here's some of what I saw on the 23rd, before and after the orchid class:

IMG_2559 022307 orchid row (An orchid border)

USBG 022307 nuns orchids(Those fabulous Nuns Orchids still going strong)

IMG_2560 USBG 022307

IMG_2562 USBG 022307

IMG_2628 showgirl showing off 022307(Showgirl showing off)

IMG_2629 fountain with the orchids 022307(There were two of these fountains with the orchids...nice way of adding some humidity)

IMG_2632 crazy horse paphiopedilum ('Crazy Horse' paphiopedilum)

IMG_2636 022307

IMG_2655 022307

IMG_2656 022307

IMG_2657 022307

IMG_2677 look up 022307 (Always look up!)

This looks to be a good place to end for now. There's still more and not just orchids, mind you! I'll try to get to those either this evening or tomorrow.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Garden Education: Peter Hatch on Thomas Jefferson the Gardener

Among many good reasons to attend the Maymont Flower Show, one of the best is the free lectures. This particular one was my favorite on the day that I was there. Mr. Hatch is the Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello and has held this position some 30 years. To say he knows his subject is an understatement.

While I had some knowledge of Thomas Jefferson and his gardening efforts ("Though an old man, I am but a young gardener"), I learned much more from listening to Mr. Hatch. One of my favorite items was the page he showed from his garden ledger (it looked more like that than a journal per se, to me) with his listings of "failed, failed, failed" for any number of plants/seeds. Don't you appreciate honesty!

Jefferson surely had that eternal optimism that gardeners are infected with in that he continued to try new plants and seeds, even ones that would seemingly have little chance of surviving in his mountaintop climate, up until his death. I wish I had written down one quote, but it was something along the lines of "failure of one plant is made up in the revival of another"...well, something like that!

We also learned that during a particularly difficult time in his presidency, Jefferson turned to planning his garden for relief, distraction and/or comfort. We were shown a copy of his plan, complete with changes and notations.

Monticello today is Jefferson's vision, complete with plants that are rather difficult to obtain and/or not native to that area of Virginia. Through the diligence (above and beyond the call, but definitely amusing to hear about) of Mr. Hatch, the estate acquired the chinaberries that Jefferson envisioned, as one example. Meticulous research and care has been an ongoing aspect of the effort to make Monticello as Jefferson dreamed.

Some perspective on that was brought to bear with an old photograph of Monticello with asphalt parking right up by the main house complete with tour buses. We can be thankful that today's caretakers have, with much effort, brought Monticello back to grace and glory. I'm sure Mr. Jefferson is smiling.

Mr. Hatch shared with us the history of the Albermarle Pippin apple. To learn more about this legendary "Virginia" apple, click here.

For those of you unable to visit Monticello (most unfortunate!), you can shop online and grow some of Thomas Jefferson's beloved plants in your own garden.

Green Thumb Sunday

From the Maymont Flower Show:

tulips for GTS

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Garden Trips: Maymont Flower and Garden Show

Thursday, May 22 was the opening of the 2007 Maymont Flower and Garden Show. In past years, the weather has been problematic, but not this year. An early flower show, Maymont gets a jump start on the season and eager attendees from north and south of Richmond, Virginia, flock to the Richmond Convention Center.

IMG_2545 program and ticket

Upon entering, visitors were greeted with this display celebrating America's Anniverary and in particular reminding reminding Virginians of the America's Anniversary Garden program. While the latter is certainly not limited to Virginians, Virginia Cooperative Extension has publications on the website linked above for garden design, plant installation and maintenance to encourage a red, white and blue themed garden.

IMG_2430 Americas anniversary garden

To get right to it, here's the Best in Show garden:

IMG_2466 best in show

Inside this garden were these fountains, at opposite ends, connected by a length of water. Note the gorgeous Japanese Maple:

IMG_2468 gurgling fountain

At the other end, this fringe tree was in full glorious bloom:

IMG_2470 Fringe tree

I couldn't make up my mind if this was intentionally clever labeling or rather just necessity:

IMG_2467 magnolia leaf label

Here's another garden:

IMG_2465 another garden

This one was called Reflections of a Kyoto Garden:

IMG_2476 reflections of a Kyoto garden

IMG_2485 kyoto garden 2

Another oriental garden:

IMG_2491 oriental garden

Look what was up above:

IMG_2492 overhead dragon

Appropriately named American Rural Life:

IMG_2433  American Rural Life

We'll look around the show some more in the next post.
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