Kew Orchid Festival

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are currently hosting their 23rd annual Orchid Festival.  You’ll find an array of colourful orchids, inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew, until Sunday 11th March 2018, when the Orchid Festival closes for another year.  I hope that you can make it to Kew to see this impressive orchid spectacle during the next couple of weeks! 

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.

If you’re looking to plant up containers to bring an immediate dose of cheer to your garden, varieties of pansies and violas, purchased in flower from your local nursery, in your favourite colours, will brighten your garden.  With regular deadheading they, will flower from now until summer arrives.

If you’re looking ahead to the summer and you’re keen on bedding plants, this is a great time to sow seeds of Lobelia, Antirrhinums, and Pelargoniums, in the warmth indoors.

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2018

If you’re in need of some time out, a delightful and quite simply enchanting activity that you can take part in this weekend is the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2018 – spending a restful, restorative hour watching and counting birds.

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is a marvellous activity to share.  You could snuggle up by the fire and count the birds that you see from your window, or you could wrap up warmly to count birds in the park, at your allotment, or why not join a birdwatch at your school or college, or during your lunch break at your place of work.  

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. 

Now that the Christmas decorations have been taken down, if you find yourself wondering how to add a renewed freshness to your home, if you dream of an energising, yet relaxing sanctuary, then you might wish to consider growing some new houseplants and bringing some living greenery to your home.

It’s best to work with the conditions that your home can provide. 

Earlier this year, I decided to create an Orchidarium with an automated misting unit, LED lights, and fans, to house some of my miniature orchids and provide them with automatic care.  Here is an update as to how the automated features that I installed have performed and how the plants have grown and developed.  If you’re interested, you can read my step by step guide as to how my Orchidarium was created here.

Gifts for Gardeners

I treasure the joy I experience when I find the perfect gift for a special person.  I hope to share this joy with you, by sharing the best products that I have tried and tested this year, to help you find superb presents for your loved ones this Christmas.

Gardening Society Membership

There are many great local gardening societies who meet regularly across Surrey.   

The Book of Orchids: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from Around the World.
By Professor Mark Chase, Dr Maarten Christenhusz, and Tom Mirenda
ISBN: 978-1-78240-403-3
Published by The Ivy Press

Comprised of six hundred and fifty-six pages and weighing in at 2.3kg, The Book of Orchids is a substantial book that’s jam packed full of interesting information about orchids!

I love growing Restrepias!  Restrepias are elegant and strikingly beautiful orchids, which despite their exotic appearance are easy to grow.  For me Restrepias bring a sense of wonderment and awe as each of their exquisite blooms open.

I have grown a variety of different Restrepia species inside my BiOrbAir terrariums, these miniature epiphytic orchids have flourished inside the humid environment that this specialised terrarium provides.  

Gastrochilus retrocallus is a species of miniature, epiphytic orchid that originates from the Ren-ai Township, Nantou County, in Taiwan.  Inside this precious, beautiful nature reserve, Gastrochilus retrocallus can be found growing on trees in areas of cloud forests.  This particular area is very rich in flora and fauna; there are many other special plants that originate from this area, including other orchids such as Cymbidiums.

I love indoor creating bottle gardens, terrariums, vivariums, orchidariums, and other indoor gardens.  In this article I’ll show you how one of my orchidariums was created.  I hope this feature will help you if you’re considering creating an orchidarium, vivarium, terrarium, or other lovely indoor garden of your own.

Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta is a beautiful miniature, epiphytic orchid species, from Kenya and Africa, which produces long, arching or pendulous flower spikes, that feature large, white, crystalline flowers with orange-red columns or centres.  Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta flowers are borne in double rows along each flower spike.  As each of the flowers open, their petals open and the flowers adjust themselves to be held horizontally on the plant, with their nectaries held directly below each bloom.

If you’re visiting the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this week, make a note to visit stand number FD584, where you’ll find this simply magnificent exhibit of floral art, which was designed and created by four talented flower arrangers from Aldershot Floral Design Club in Hampshire: Janet Arm, Linda Brown, Valerie Clark, and Jean Warren.

Silver Medal

Congratulations to Valerie Clark, Janet Arm, Linda Brown, and Jean Warren from Aldershot Floral Design Club, the Floral Art Judges at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, have presented Aldershot Floral Design Club with a Silver Medal, for their lovely floral art exhibit!

Craig House Cacti is an award winning cacti and succulent nursery, run by Stan Griffin and Vicki Newman.  This endearing couple are almost as famous for their cacti themed clothing, as they are for the top quality, award winning cacti and succulent plants that they grow, show, and exhibit.  Craig House Cacti sell a variety of different cacti and succulent seeds online.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant Of The Year Award was first presented in 2010 to promote the continuing work of breeders and nurseries in producing improved new plants.  The RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant Of The Year Award celebrates and recognises the exciting and diverse range of new plants which are launched at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show each year.

City Living was designed by Kate Gould and built by Kate Gould Gardens.  The RHS judges presented this Fresh Garden with a Gold Medal, and the prestigious title of Best Fresh Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017!

Garden designer Kate Gould is passionate about greening up derelict, uncared for and unloved inner city spaces.  Kate is so passionate about Greening Grey Britain, that she has self funded the entire build for this Fresh Garden, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, to inform others as to how they can improve their city living.  

I so enjoy growing miniature, epiphytic orchids.  When I am mounting epiphytic orchids, usually I use cork bark as a mount, although sometimes I will use other woods to mount my orchids, it all depends on which orchid I am growing, and what materials I have.

I hope this information will help you, if you’re mounting epiphytic orchids onto cork bark or other wood, or if you’d just like to learn more about these diverse and interesting plants.

BiOrbAir terrarium features

I love my BiOrbAir terrariums!  I so enjoy growing miniature orchids, ferns, and other terrarium plants inside these specialised, automated terrariums.  I loved the older BiOrbAir terrarium models, but I have been so impressed with the new 2017 BiOrbAir terrarium model, and the fantastic improvements that have been made to this new, updated terrarium, which was designed by Barry Reynolds.