Thursday, April 26, 2007

The bloodroot's up too

IMG_2415.CR2, originally uploaded by Jane Milliman.

This is from Susan Latoski's garden. So pretty.

The hellebores are out

IMG_2400.CR2, originally uploaded by Jane Milliman.

My plants always seem to bloom later than everyone else's. Even the hellebores across the street, which USED to be mine, now bloom before mine, though when they were mine, they bloomed after everyone else's. Or so I remember. This weekend being glorious, I spent it, like everyone with enough luck, in the garden. Laundry be damned, of course. It was mostly just clean up. There is nothing better than poking (or raking) aside the leaf mold to reveal whatever old friend is poking up. Half of the time I've forgotten that plant is even there!

Monday, April 09, 2007

My Visit to Marlow Orchids

Today I spent a few hours with Jim Marlow, orchid grower extraordinaire, in his greenhouse. I was doing research for my column that will run Saturday. Since I can't run pictures in the D&C, I'll post them here.

These are seeds that have germinated in agar in this sealed flask. Everything has to be kept super-sterile or nasty fungi will kill the little plants. The seeds are so tiny that they're almost like fern spores. You can get a lot more orchids this way than by dividing, so it's a great method for straight species or crosses that come true.

The nurseryJim's potting mix���������he makes it himself and adjusts the contents according to the plant's needs���������contains things like fir bark, sponge rock (a very large perlite, rock that is popped almost like popcorn, with the texture of a styrofoam peanut), charcoal, rock wool, worm casings and sphagnum (below).

Checkered Phaphiopedilum foliage

Masdevallia swallow 'Cob Hill'

Paph Supersuk x Raisen Pie

This plant is being trained for show competition. Jim wins a lot of awards.

The tendrils of this Phragmipedilum will grow downward until they hit something, then stop.

Jim developed this cross, and got to name the plant! It's Dendrobian 'Gonzyak'.

This is a baby Dendrobian kingianum. In some species, offspring develop like this and fall right off the mother plant. The Hawaiian word for baby is "keiki,"and that's what these little orchids are called.

The keiki is ready for its close-up.

Jim potted the baby up and sent it home with me (even though it's a type not recommended for beginners). With my new-found knowledge, I am confident that I am NOT going to kill it.

Stay tuned!