Saturday, March 28, 2015

Phalaenopsis Without Dye or Stake

Here's one of these new-fangled cloned Phals without the dye, and without the stake. What do you think?

Friday, March 27, 2015

I Think They Dye Them....

I've been doing shibori (Japanese resist-dyeing) for decades now and I should have known a Dye Job when I saw one. I just wasn't expecting to find one at the garden center.

What's different about these two sets of phal orchids?

The orchids at the top of the first picture are the very same Phals you see in the bottom picture. Top picture, fresh from the garden center. Bottom picture, their next bloom, in my home. Whoa! What happened? What is in my gardening water??

I should have been clued in by the bright blue orchids that are being sold everywhere. They are dyed, duh. It's obvious. But I didn't realize that even the pinks and the purples are the result of dyes. The cloned orchids are "blank canvases" now, as you can see in the lower picture. They are pretty, but light-colored, so they can take any sort of dye the grower thinks is fashionable that season. Ingenious! And of course, most people throw their orchid away after it blooms and just buy another. Wacky me, I continue to grow them and they bloom again, in white and pale green!  Has this happened to any of you?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lithops Releaf-a-rama 2015!

If it's spring, it must be time for a Lithops Party. Lithops don't get very excited about anything, and they sure don't party much. But once, in spring (for most), they get crazy and re-leaf. Here are two of mine doing just that....
Lithops Releaf-a-rama 2015, MR
I live in a town that's famous for its Spring Break parties during March, so I guess I can consider my Lithops' behavior appropriate for the season.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Meet Anacampseros rufescens!

If you like "herbaceous small subshrubs" (thank you, Doreen Court, now say it 10 times fast!)  in your garden, you'll love Anacampseros rufescens:
Anacampseros rufescens, M Robb, 2015
I just love dwarf shrublets, and this one is very pretty. A. rufescens grows about 8cm tall. Mine is about 2cm. Not impressive? Well, it does grow out to form dense mats that cover larger areas of its home in South Africa. It has an impressive inflorescence with pink flowers that's about 10cm tall.  I hope mine will bloom here in the Tropics.

One interesting fact is that, as Anacampseros grows in the wild in lusher habitats to more droughty ones, it grows in smaller, more compact rosettes with smaller leaves. In other words, it miniaturizes itself as water grows more scarce. Smart! You can learn more about Anacampseros of all sorts in Dotort (intentional rhyme), Chapter 15. (You mesembs fantatics know which book I'm talking about.)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

More Orchids and Acrylics

I couldn't resist adding one more photo to the group. Pretty much all my Phals are in bloom now, and I have a couple of paintings-in-process that make great backgrounds for them. This pretty, speckled white Phal gets an oceanic background for her portrait:
Phal With Ocean Acrylics, M Robb, 2015
Hope your weekend is going well and growing well!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Orchids and Acrylics

Just another beautiful Phal bloom and a garden painting for the start of the weekend:
Phal in Bloom, MR, March 2015
Sun Garden, MRobb, 2014
This weekend I'll be posting about a wonderful new South African plant; I've never grown one before, so I was very happy to find one this month. It's a beaut!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tillandsia Display for Fun and Creativity

Tillies don't need dirt, and that makes them soooo versatile when it comes to indoor display. As long as they have good air circulation and decent light, they're good. You need to be able to water them properly (mistings and soaks), so I don't recommend gluing them or pinning them to objects that cannot also be misted or soaked. My favorite way to display Tillandsias is on a CD rack. Now that CDs are virtually obsolete (very sad) you can find used CD racks of all kinds, cheap as chips.
The Tillies rest on handmade ceramic trays. I make my own, but they are easy to find. Not many people smoke anymore, so you can collect ashtrays (again, cheap as chips) and repurpose them for Tillie display. Here are some of my handmades:
Bowls can also work as long as they are fairly shallow. Tillandsia bases need to get good air circulation to avoid rot.
At any rate, it's impossible not to have creative fun displaying your Tillandsia collection, so get going! Who's got some other creative ideas?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Painting Over Plants

It's been miserable, wet and cold here for days, so I've been doing more painting than gardening.
Peacock, detail, M Robb, 2015, watercolor
Paintings are funny things. Sometimes, one is just ready to be born, and it's finished in a matter of hours, or days:
Hot Spot, M Robb, 2015, acrylic and metal leaf
Sometimes, one can take years. It gets put away in some dark corner, or the garage, only to be pulled out and finished when a certain problem is solved or new technique is mastered:
Windsurfers, M Robb, 2013-15, acrylic mixed media, 3x4ft
A wonderful biography of Marc Chagall by his second (common-law) wife, Virginia Haggard, explained that the painter never threw away a single painting. He might re-paint, or completely paint over a canvas, but could never bear to just chuck it out. Some painters are chuckers and some are hoarders, I guess! I've done both, but tend toward the latter. Have a great weekend!