Welcome to the eleventh part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  In this update, it’s a pleasure to share with you the exotic flowers of Aeranthes arachnites.  But as is so often the case, alongside beauty and delight there is tragedy – whilst examining my Aerangis macrocentra specimen’s flower spike, which was being produced for what would have been this plant’s first ever flowering, I accidentally dropped the plant and broke the flower spike off! 

I really enjoy designing and planting terrariums and bottle gardens.  Usually, I look for pre-made glass bottles, vases, vivariums, old aquariums, or fish tanks, to use to create and design my indoor gardens.  However, earlier this year I decided to commission a custom made terrarium, which was designed to fit neatly on top of my sideboard, where it now provides a home, complete with automated care, for some of my orchids. 

In April 2018, I set up my Rainforest Terrarium.  I’ve created this planting list, so you can easily find and learn more about each of the plants that are currently growing inside this terrarium, if I add any new plants in future, I will also add them to this list.  I’ve listed the all of the nurseries and suppliers where I purchased my plants, cork, and mosses, for this terrarium at the bottom of this list.

Welcome to the twelfth part of my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial.  This update focuses on the enormity of the disastrous effects and the simply catastrophic results of my overwatering earlier this year.  You can see which orchids have survived, which plants are still battling and which plants have lost their battle.  Sadly, there is no chance of any orchid flowers in this update, just orchid winners and losers. 

Welcome to the twentieth part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir!  The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated terrarium, which was designed by Barry Reynolds from BiOrb.  I first planted this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in August 2015, so at the time of writing – in August 2018, this BiOrbAir terrarium is three years old! 

If you’re setting up a terrarium, vivarium, or bottle garden, and you’re looking for miniature orchids to add to your indoor garden, you may find that it is not always easy to tell which orchids are truly miniature and which aren’t.

Many orchids that are sold as miniatures are miniature sized when they are young, but as they grow and develop, many of these plants will soon outgrow a traditionally sized terrarium or bottle garden. 

In the early part of 2017, (which as I am writing to you, was over eighteen months ago now) I decided to create an Orchidarium: an enclosure complete with an automated misting unit, LED lights, and fans, to house some of my miniature and small sized orchids and provide them with automatic care.  I chose to create this orchidarium as a functional terrarium, the planting and style of this Orchidarium is not designed, or intended, to be naturalistic or beautiful, instead this Orchidarium allows me the opportunity of growing a greater number of plants, all mounted individually, so the plants can easily be removed or rearranged as I wish. 

A catch up with Phalaenopsis micholitzii, Aerangis biloba, Angraecum distichum, and Humata repens!

In November 2017, I conducted a large scale reorganisation of my orchids, moving plants from one terrarium into another.  My intention, and the end result of all of this disruption, was to group my orchid plants more interestingly: placing plants from different orchid species that originate from the same genus together wherever possible. 

Wildlife friendly ways to kill slugs and snails

I don’t like slug pellets.  Slug pellets have had a disastrous effect on the wild food chain – as well as killing slugs and snails, slug pellets harm hedgehogs, song thrushes, and other creatures.  Slug pellets kill these dear animals in the most cruel, drawn out, and painful manner.  Nothing could induce me to use slug pellets in my garden, allotment, or anywhere for that matter – however large the slug or snail population had become, and however many of my precious plants had been eaten. 

During periods when I find myself at home, working longer hours than I would like, I am ever more grateful for my plants, especially my houseplants, terrarium plants, and orchids.  At these times, when I am unable to escape to a meadow or a forest, my orchid flowers remind me of the beauty of our natural world, providing me with a cheerful pick me up, just when I need it most!

Orchids in flower this week

This weekend I have been admiring the beauty and grace of some of my orchids that are in flower.  I am very fortunate to have been able to gather my orchid collection together, I don’t want to keep these orchids away from prying eyes, far from it – I’d love to share their flowers with you!

Welcome to the tenth part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  In this update, I am delighted to share with you the extraordinary blooms of Aeranthes arachnites!  I’ll also be showing you an update on the progression of my Aerangis citrata specimen’s flower spike production, alongside updates on the growth and development of all of the orchids that are growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Through my work I have become very well acquainted with so many fascinating plants, but I have also enjoyed getting to know some interesting people, many of whom I have met at the different gardens I have visited.  I hold a deep affection for the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, I am a great fan and supporter of Kew’s work in conservation and plant science, and I love to visit the beautiful glasshouses and gardens at Kew; Kew’s plant collections amaze and delight me! 

Welcome to the nineteenth part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir!  In this update, I share with you updates on how the miniature orchids are growing inside this terrarium – some plants are flourishing, while other plants have declined and so have now been moved to other terrariums.

Miniature Orchid Trial The BiOrbAir Terrarium

The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds from BiOrb.  

Welcome to the eleventh part of my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial!  In this update I will share with you the catastrophic results of over watering epiphytic miniature orchids, with advice as to how to avoid making this mistake yourself, and how to rectify this problem if you over water your own plants!  First though, here’s an update on why I decided to run this White Orchid Trial:

Reasons for this White Orchid Trial

I decided to plant up this White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium in April 2017, after receiving many requests from readers asking about white flowered, miniature, epiphytic orchids to grow in terrariums.  

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

The highlight of the horticultural calendar, The Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show is the world’s most prestigious flower show!  Over the past three weeks, award winning garden designers from all over the world, together with their teams, made up of some of the best landscape architects, project managers, builders, technicians, horticulturalists, artists and crafts people, have been working solidly to transform the Royal Hospital’s grounds at Chelsea into an oasis of gardening ideas and inspiration!

The Temperate House is the world’s largest surviving Victorian glasshouse!  This substantial glasshouse is sited at the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, which itself is a National Treasure and an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The Temperate House is a Grade I Listed Building.  When this glasshouse’s refurbishment programme commenced work in 2013, the Temperate House was in a dilapidated condition, at this time the Temperate House was on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk Register.

I visited the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in August 2013, just before the planned Temperate House refurbishment programme began and this Victorian glasshouse, with its shabby chic but regal splendour was closed to the public.  I watched nervously as Kew staff wheeled containers and decorative, heavy looking display items out of the glasshouse.  Back in 2013, the planned reopening date seemed so far into the future, 2018 sounded somewhat space age then, but now, here I am delivered safely to this date, with the good fortune to be here at Kew to see the Temperate House on the day of its reopening! 

Welcome to the ninth part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  This Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium was set up in April 2017, so as I write to you now, in April 2018, this terrarium was created exactly a year ago.  In this update I am delighted to share with you the distinct lime green coloured flowers of Aeranthes arachnites, which I find simply mesmerising! 

It may surprise you to know that in the garden, as well as on the catwalk, fashions change and evolve, often quicker than we expect.  A plant that’s regarded as a ‘must have’ plant one minute, can soon be taken for granted and neglected, before being cast aside and forgotten the next.  Our fast evolving and progressive plant trends could result in the extinction of some of the plants that we once held dear.