Thursday, May 14, 2015

Oncidium, Phal Portraits, and Lego Pottery

Oncidiums are not as glamorous as Phal orchids, especially when it comes to color. Oncidiums tend more toward golds, earth tones, and pastels. The flowers are generally small. They are often scented, however, and can bloom in great profusion from a single inflorescence:
Oncidium in Bloom, MRobb, May 2015
I've been working in some new styles of ceramics, inspired by traditional Japanese tea ceremony styles. The motifs on this vase are based on Mishimade pottery. But I used Legos instead of stamps! Legos are indeed incredibly versatile....
Lego Vase based on Mishimade pottery, MRobb, May 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Oncidium Blooms!

Not one single Lithops bloomed this year. Most regenerated without incident, but I do miss Lithops flowers. I'm not sure why, the Ways of the Lithops are mysterious.
Didn't happen this year, sigh....
On the other hand, the African Violets and orchids have been blooming like crazy, as have the Haworthias and Aloes.
Succulents in Bloom
This lovely Oncidium, a rescue, is having a great bloom:
Oncidium 2015, MRobb
They have a soft vanilla fragrance. The flowers are so pretty with their gold and brown shades I had to paint a watercolor background for their official portrait. Enjoy your gardens and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

It's the Quiet Ones You Have to Watch Out For....

So They (meaning people with way more education in meteorology than I have) said it was going to be a Very Quiet Hurricane Season this year. Hmmph.

This blob, perched outside my eastern window, is probably going to be christened Ana in a couple of days....
Soon-to-be-named TS Ana? MR, 5-2015
And before she's even named, and nearly a month before the official start of Hurricane Season, she has the discourtesy to dump 10cm rain on my newly seeded herb garden! No gentle rain, just a big wall of water poured out of the heavens onto my little seeds. So the herb patch is all flooded out and when it dries up, I'll just do it all over. Hmph.

Interestingly, about 24 hours before "Ana-to-be" flooded my garden, all the snakes who live out there were out of their burrows, their heads held high and sniffing the air. Then they all made for higher ground, or, since we have no higher ground here, the old wooden fence and the lawn furniture. Seems they have more education in meteorology than humans do. Always pay attention to your snakes!
An Alert Southern Corn Snake
But here's a lovely flower photo (an orchid of course, they're blooming all over the house right now) to make it all better.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Joy of Tillies in Southern Gardens

I love American southern gardens. They are big, languid, humid, and full of Spanish Moss. Yes, you can sweat out every water molecule in your body and still only manage a brief promenade around the bromeliads, but it's worth it.

One of my favorite southern gardens is the Leu Gardens of Orlando, Florida. They have lots of Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides):

This particular Tillie has been used as mattress stuffing for centuries, possibly millenia. It's soft and cushy when dried. But alive, it absorbs all sorts of junk, including heavy metals, from the air. That's why it's being used in living curtains in Asia. Mostly, it's just a beautiful, romantic plant.
I hope you are all enjoying your gardens this week!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mummified Catasetum

I received a request from an Alert Gardener- what exactly does a Catasetum look like when it is dormant?  Here it is, I call him Mr. Mummy:
This photo was taken in the winter. I'll be sure to post when Cat blooms! I went to our local orchid show today but was disappointed because they only had two Catasetums for sale at the most outrageous prices. The poor Cats were bedraggled, their leaves creased and torn. So sad.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Catasetum tenebrosum awakens!

Catasetum tenebrosum in early spring, MR, 2015
It's been three years, but I'm still amazed every spring when my orchid, Catasetum tenebrosum, aka (you guessed it) "Cat", wakes up. Catasetums love to play dead. Really dead. For about half the year.
The flowers die, the leaves yellow and fall off, and the pseudobulbs wrinkle and gray. Yuck. It needs no water at all during that time, so I just cut off the oldest pseudobulb stick the mummified plant in a corner, and pretend it doesn't exist.

Around March or April, a tiny green growth appears at the base. I start watering and fertilizing it like crazy, and within just a couple of weeks, it looks like it does above. In another month, it will (hopefully) bloom its incredibly and weirdly fragrant black-and-yellow flowers. No dye here! Then the cycle begins again. Just amazing.
Catasetum tenebrosum in bloom, MR

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Draw and Paint Your Garden!

Able Gardener J sent me a photo of his recent drawing of a sea grape leaf from the garden. Beautiful!

One thing that keeps us connected to the world of flora is how our creativity connects to our gardens, and to the wild. Paint, draw, sculpt, connect. It's a wonderful way to spend a few hours on a weekend!