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.

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.  

What a joyful month June is!  June’s warm sunshine seems to infuse every fibre of our beings, imbuing our souls with a feeling of uplifting bliss that can only be found outdoors.  June also brings us the gift of sweet summer rain to refresh our plants, and the excitement of a great many wonderful growing opportunities in the garden; it’s hard to beat this time of year!

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 to make way for the latest modern plant introductions, when the superseded ‘must have’ plant is then at risk of being forgotten, often within a shorter time period than you might anticipate. 

When I was a child, it was my aim that by the time I became an adult I would have saved up sufficient funds to purchase, and forever after protect a beautiful woodland or forest, and at least one meadow!  I haven’t succeeded in my aim – I sadly have been unable to protect any of our woodlands, forests, or meadows, but I still feel just as passionately about plant conservation. 

In March 2017, I created an Orchidarium, complete with an automated misting unit, LED lights, and fans, to house some of my miniature orchids and provide them with automatic care.  In this update you can see how these automated features have performed over the past year, and you can also discover how the plants inside this Orchidarium have grown and developed. 

Welcome to the eighth part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar inside the BiOrbAir terrarium!  Since I published the last update for this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, the plants inside this Madagascan terrarium have been growing steadily.

There are many new Madagascan orchids which are now growing inside this terrarium, these plants were introduced during my November 2017 reshuffle, which saw me move many of my orchids from one terrarium to another, so that I could group the plants more interestingly. 

Why Use Peat Free Compost?

Peatlands are extraordinary environments, which cover just 2-3% of the planet’s surface.  These scarce ecosystems are also very fragile, they are dependent on sufficient moisture levels being available, and they require a slightly cooler temperature range to allow the necessary sphagnum moss, which slowly forms peat, to grow, flourish, and reproduce.  Peat bogs can increase at a rate of one millimetre per year if the desired conditions are present. 

Welcome to the eighteenth part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir!  In this update I am thrilled to share with you the delightful flowers of Macroclinium manabinumCeratostylis philippinensis, and Masdevallia rechingeriana!  I’ll also be updating you on the growth and development of the newest additions to this Miniature Orchid Trial.

As well as these mini celebrations, in this update I will be sharing the sad news of the death of one of my miniature orchids, and I’ll also tell you about the pests that these orchids have encountered recently!

I just love growing sweet peas!   I love to be enveloped by the sweet pea flower’s powerful and sensuous scent, while I’m encompassed by the flower’s beauty and charm.  Eternal bliss!  Everyone should have at least a few moments of pause and reflection, to recharge with their favourite sweet pea blooms each and every summer.

Phalaenopsis honghenensis

Phalaenopsis honghenensis is an epiphytic orchid species, which is native to Honghe in Yunnan.  This is the region in China which gives this orchid species its name, but Phalaenopsis honghenensis can also be found growing in Myanmar, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Phalaenopsis honghenensis can be found growing at about 2000m above sea level, on the trunks and branches of mossy, lichen covered trees in Vietnam, Thailand, and China.

Welcome to the tenth part of my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial.  In this update it is a real pleasure to share with you the flowers of Amesiella minor before they fade, the sparkling blooms of Hymenorchis javanica as they twinkle, and the magnificent flowering of Amesiella philippinensis, as these glamorous flowers finally finish developing and open at last!

However despite all this sparkle, it’s not quite as glitzy or glamorous inside this terrarium as you might think – at least one type of spider mite is currently affecting the plants inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. 

Why Peat Free Compost?

There are many wild, beautiful, and fascinating areas of our planet that are diminishing due to human destruction.  These precious natural areas require our protection urgently, before it’s too late and they are destroyed or lost altogether.  There are relatively small areas of rainforests, peat bogs and peatlands remaining on our planet, yet these areas are continuing to be destroyed by humans. 

I have found that peat free composts can vary enormously: from bags of compost filled with bark chips, which could be used as a mulch, but can’t be used as intended – as a compost to grow container plants or seedlings, right through to the other extreme – the finest quality composts, which are capable of producing prize and award winning plants, and of course, every compost in between these two polar opposites! 

Since I published my December 2017 Orchidarium Update, a number of readers have had questions about how I gather my data, with many asking why do I collect data, and what equipment do I use?  So, here’s an article that I have written especially for you, which I hope will answer all of your questions.

Data is really exciting! 

It’s easy in life to make assumptions, but assumptions are rarely accurate. 

Welcome to the ninth part of my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial.  In this update I look forward to sharing the growth and development of these delightful, white flowered, epiphytic, miniature orchid species with you.  I am thrilled to show you Aerangis hyaloides, Amesiella minor, Brachypeza semiteretifolia, and Hymenorchis javanica flowering inside this White Orchid BiOrbAir Trial Terrarium.