Back in January I moved house. It was a nerve wracking and anxious time, made more difficult because I grow a lot of plants inside terrariums, bottle gardens, and orchidariums, which I can’t bear to be parted from. These enclosures all needed to be emptied and washed up, and the plants and glassware required careful packaging and wrapping.
Mother Nature reminds us of her immense power today. Storm Eunice currently has us firmly in her grip. Eunice is battling against the trees, pushing them, flaying, whirling, and then ruthlessly discarding anything that isn’t tied down securely enough. As I write, I am eternally thankful that my sturdy glasshouse and Vegepod are both intact and remain where I left them, safely in my garden.
Being around plants lifts my spirits. Watching my plants produce vibrant and healthy green leaves gives me endless pleasure, but I understand that many people favour growing flowering plants. Leaves are often taken for granted, as foliage is assumed to be a permanent fixture that doesn’t change and lives on forever; whereas the fleeting presence of a flower commands interaction and appreciation.
My friend, Gary Firth kindly gave me this Phalaenopsis pulchra plant, for my National Collection of Miniature Phalaenopsis Species, exactly two years and eight months ago. I must say, it’s always a huge relief when I don’t immediately kill a plant that a friend has given me! Consequently, I’m celebrating the fact that this orchid remains alive and well and I am delighted to be able to share my photographs of this Phalaenopsis pulchra specimen’s first flowering with you.
I set my Rainforest Terrarium up in April 2018, to provide a home for a number of the orchids that form part of my National Collection of Miniature Phalaenopsis species and my National Collection of Miniature Aerangis and Angraecum species. This particular update focuses on how the equipment installed inside my Rainforest Terrarium has performed from March 2019 until May 2020.
Since my last Rainforest Terrarium update, I’ve been busy conducting a huge rearrangement of many of my terrariums and terrarium plants. As part of these changes, some of the orchids that used to reside inside my Rainforest Terrarium have now been moved to other enclosures, including my new Tall Orchidarium.
I am full of ideas of terrariums I’d like to create.
Since I shared my last Rainforest Terrarium update with you, I’ve been busy conducting a huge rearrangement of many of my terrariums and terrarium plants. Some of the orchids that previously resided inside my Rainforest Terrarium have now been introduced to other enclosures, including my new Tall Orchidarium.
As you’ll see in this update, I’ve changed the appearance of my Rainforest Terrarium, by placing huge slabs of cork around the sides of this enclosure.
Last year, I discovered Crematogaster scutellaris ants on the cork I purchased for my new Tall Orchidarium. Crematogaster scutellaris ants are known as acrobat ants, but these ants are found in many different countries, so they’re bound to have many other common names, too. With their distinctive amber coloured heads and pointed abdomens, these ants are easy to identify.
I’m currently in the process of setting up a new terrarium, which is very exciting! Don’t worry, I’ll take you on a tour of my new Tall Orchidarium in due course. However, today I wanted to tell you about something unexpected that happened to me, while I was gathering together the materials for this new enclosure.
Spider mites are a serious pest of orchids, indeed they are a pest of a great many other plants too, but with the warm weather we’re experiencing in the UK, today I wanted to remind you about the importance of controlling spider mites on orchids and other indoor plants.
Spider mites thrive in hot, dry conditions.
Let me introduce you to Phalaenopsis parishii alba, a miniature, epiphytic orchid species that originates from Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Assam, Burma, and the Himalayas.
Phalaenopsis parishii alba is the white flowered form of Phalaenopsis parishii.Phalaenopsis parishii alba growing conditions
In the wild, Phalaenopsis parishii can be found growing in humid areas. This miniature orchid species produces flattened roots that nestle into the damp, moss laden branches, which overhang streams and ponds, in the areas where this plant makes its home.
Sciarid flies are teeny, tiny flies, from the family Sciaridae, they’re also known as fungus gnats, or by their genera’s scientific names of Bradysia or Lycoriella. Although sciarid flies live outdoors, as the flies are so minute in size, you’re unlikely to notice these insignificant little flies outside.
In March 2018, I commissioned Rich, from Rainforestvivs (now The Rich Rainforest), to build this fabulous, custom built Rainforest Terrarium for me. I designed my Rainforest Terrarium to fulfil my requirements: I needed to provide an enclosure that would house as large a number of orchids as possible from my National Collection of Miniature Aerangis and Angraecum Species and my National Collection of Miniature Phalaenopsis Species, within the limited space I had available.
In this my first update, you can discover how the Aerangis, Amesiella, and Angraecum orchids that are housed inside my Rainforest Terrarium have grown and developed over the past eleven months – from April 2018 to March 2019. Discover which plants have died and which orchids have thrived during this time frame, in my first plant update for this custom built terrarium.
I set my Rainforest Terrarium up in April 2018, to provide a home for a number of the orchids that form part of my National Collection of Miniature Phalaenopsis species and my National Collection of Miniature Aerangis and Angraecum species. This update focuses on how the equipment installed inside my Rainforest Terrarium has performed over the past eleven months – from April 2018 to March 2019.
I find that a little sparkle is especially welcome at this time of year. With this in mind, I’ve produced animations of some of the orchids I’ve grown that produce crystalline flowers, to hopefully bring some sparkle and plant related joy to your Christmas!
These absolutely fabulous orchids, produce flowers that naturally have a little hint of a sparkle within their petals – their flowers glisten in the light.
In this column I share my favourite gift ideas with you, these are the best products that I have personally tried and tested this year, as part of my quest to help you find quality presents for your loved ones this Christmas!Vegepod
Vegepod is an award-winning container gardening system that is really quite marvellous! This raised bed system has universal appeal, you don’t need access to the soil, so if you’re gardening on concrete but ache to grow vegetables, this is for you.
I love looking at this orchid; I so admire Angraecum distichum‘s shape and form, this plant’s simple, leafy stems are a thing of beauty. I love to see young and old Angraecum distichum specimens; whatever the plant’s size, I find Angraecum distichum utterly mesmerising!
Angraecum distichum is a miniature to small sized epiphytic orchid species. Angraecum distichum plants can be found growing upon a range of tall trees in a variety of different environments including: rainforests, humid forests, deciduous forests, and plantations.
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 that form part of my National Collection.
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.