I’ve got a wonderful weekend of outdoor gardening lined up, as our lovely friends Ian and Martin are coming over to help us in the garden.  I am so grateful for their help and I can’t wait to see my friends and spend time together outside.  I am hoping we hear lots of birdsong.  I’ll be doing my best to remember to turn the Merlin Bird ID app on. 

Hooray: Two of my Orchids are in Flower Today!

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. 

White Flowered Orchids

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. 

Rainforest Terrarium equipment update, part two

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.

Rainforest Terrarium Update (part two)

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. 

Rainforest Terrarium Update: Aerangis and Angraecum (part two)

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. 

Acrobat ant update

Last year, I discovered Crematogaster scutellaris ants on the cork I purchased for my new Tall OrchidariumCrematogaster 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. 

Things to look our for when you’re setting up a new Terrarium

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.

Phalaenopsis parishii alba

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. 

Rainforest Terrarium Update

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. 

Rainforest Terrarium Update

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. 

Rainforest Terrarium Update

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.

Orchids with Crystalline Flowers

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. 

Christmas Gifts for Gardeners

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 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.

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!

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.