Thursday, December 25, 2008

About a pot

Was repotting some orchids in the backyard and placed this on the ground. LB jumped in and his son Noodle followed suit.

"Nice and cosy!"

Soon, the queue for the pot bed started forming.

Peanut to LB: "Scoot over a bit for the wife!"

LB to Peanut: "Nice little cheek rub but ya still gotta take a number cos I ain't moving!"

"Fine, I'll wait my turn..."

Then it began to drizzle so I shifted them but little Noodle jumped out.
"Hey! What happened to the sun??"

Here comes Maggie, tired of waiting her turn.
"Oi!! Get out! My turn!!"

"Fine, I'll sit on top of you till you budge!"

LB is finally evicted!


Maggie's kid doesn't see what's so great about that pot, she chooses to laze openly in the sun.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bulbophyllum reticulatum

Bulbophyllum reticulatum by you.
This is one of the most difficult bulbophyllum species I've ever encountered because it is highly unpredictable! I could do everything I can think of to get its growing conditions right such as using forest humus such as that found in its habitat and giving it plenty of cool shade and it would still die off slowly. On the other hand, I could also just hang it up without any media at all but a misting of water daily and it would keep all its leaves for a very long period. It's as if it chooses whether to live and grow or to die slowly, regardless of how well we care for it. I've got a friend who got tired of losing somany he just hung them up tied to fern tree pieces and let nature take its course and they are all thriving! He's also got some growing on his trees (with mossy trunks) in his shady garden. But when I tried tying it to a piece of fern tree, it died after a few months!

Bulbophyllum reticulatum

Side view

And now I've got two pots which are flowering or spiking. The one pictured above used to be part of a clump that looked similar to this one:
Bulbophyllum reticulatum

But it slowly dropped all of its leaves till only this was left!
Bulbophyllum reticulatum

I did not even have to pull this out of its pot, I simply lifted it out as all its roots have died away.It is probably flowering as a last farewell! Imagine, all the buds had big beautiful leaves just a few months ago! They can be healthy for a few months and then just suddenly begin to die off for no apparent reason.
Bulbophyllum reticulatum

This one I am experimenting with a different way of planting, by using only pieces of fern tree and the chopped fiber in a long pot and without any other media. After removing it from its original mount to place it in here, it started to drop a few large leaves and now it is producing 4 or 5 spikes. There are also new leaves and new growths on the rhizome. I just hope no more older leaves are shed. Hope I get some success, otherwise I'm going to try and tie it again to fern tree then hang it above a small pond or something.
Bulbophyllum reticulatum

Flower buds - the buds are sometimes attacked by bugs which bore a small hole in the developing buds. This causes the bud to turn a deep red and drop off. I checked on one suchbud and found tiny bugs (larvae?) inside.
Bulbophyllum reticulatum

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Vanda scandens

The flowers may be small (relative to plant size) but the fragrance is most agreeable.

Very easy species to grow and propagate. Top cuts root in about 3-4 weeks and the bottom cuts will begin producing new growths in about the same time.

Sometimes, even short, throw-away stems will produce new growths so keep all your cuttings.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Phal bellina, fruit flies and leaf rot

Losing the battle against those damn |=king fruit flies so have had no choice but to move all my blooming bellinas inside. Why'd you have to be so fruity fragrant anyway and attract this pest? I'd never had a single bell pollinated by these pests, they just destroy! It's so frustrating. Many of the flowers wilt or rot in a week or two once they have been stung by the little bastards!
Hanging them all together like this is a little overwhelming though... the fragrance I mean.
That's a Vascostylis Veeraphol in the middle, itself very fragrant as well.

This also helps shelter them from the rain which can cause leaf rot on the young tender leaves such as the one below.

The fruit flies also sting and leave pock marks on the shiny, succulent leaves which then get infected and become highly susceptible to rot. The one below, for example:

Notice the black parts on the tip of the leaf? That part was stung by insects when the young leaf was emerging.

I have to check the plants daily and quickly remove and remedy any rot I see. This is also why my bellinas do not have perfect foliage... there's almost one or two leaves cut in half on almost all my phals.

Even though the flies fill up my fruit fly traps quickly:

More come every single day to terrorize the phal bellinas (and only bellinas!). If any Bulbo macranthum is in flower, they will quickly cause the flower to close as well by pollinating it.

*sigh* they look so much prettier outside, but gotta do it to protect the flowers and young leaves.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bulbophyllum biflorum

I call it the Dog-faced orchid. :D
It is on a fern slab and initially there were two spikes but one aborted due to highly unpredictable weather. Luckily the other survived to bloom.

Bulbophyllum biflorum by you.

Bulbophyllum biflorum by you.

Bulbophyllum biflorum by you.

Bulbophyllum biflorum by you.

Bulbophyllum biflorum by you.

Bulbophyllum biflorum by you.

Note the pollen on the lower right, which explains why this bloom is closing shop so soon.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Seasonal tropical fruits

Many local fruits are in season at the moment, durian, rambutan, mangosteen and less known, exotic fruits such as Engkalak . Thought I'd share some pictures with everyone.

Litsea garciae or Engkalak is a mid-sized fruit tree found Borneo (there are reports that it's found in West Malaysia too). The seasonal fruits have a rich and creamy taste (think Avocado). It's sometimes referred to as Butter fruit. Like Avocado, it's an acquired taste!

We have three large trees and two are bearing lots of fruit. Birds visit the trees everyday to feast on the ripening fruits, then crap all over my large Coelogyne leaves! I won't be surprised if fruit bats feast on them at night too.

Mangosteen, Garcinia mangostana is another popular seasonal fruit.

It's one of my favorite local fruits after langsat (Lansium domesticum) (not in season sadly).

The fruits above are not really ripe but are old enough to be harvested and left to ripen at home. The ripe fruits are black or dark purple in color.

Rambutan, Nephelium lappaceum is another highly popular fruit and usually comes into season the same time as durian.

Several varieties are planted and each kind differs slightly in fruit shape, taste, texture and coloration.

There's also canned rambutan in heavy syrup and usually stuffed with pineapple.

Unripe rambutan.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Phalaenopsis gigantea x bellina "Blue" flask

January 2010 update: The seedlings are not doing well! (click here for an update).

I received this flask of Phalaenopsis gigantea x P. bellina "Blue" from an orchid friend today via courier. However, our national courier, Pos Laju apparently do not care for "Fragile" nor "This Way Up!" signs. They deliver in one day but I'd never use them again for flasks!

The bottom of the flask:

Had no choice but to deflask and pot the seedlings right away. I got about 20 good-sized plantlets and two tightly growing "balls" of single leaf protocorms. Hope they grow well as I think this is quite a nice cross.

I found this similar cross here (click).

Very pretty! Can't wait to see the results!

Friday, August 29, 2008

New orchid shade house

Finally the skies cleared up and was able to get the shade cloth up this evening. Can't wait to complete everything and start filling it up with orchids! :D That's the best part, shopping for orchids!


Feels Like December!

The past few days have been nothing like normal August weather here in Kuching. Usually, this time of the year it's really hot, dry and hazy with no rains for many days. This year however, it's been highly unpredictable. The weather's gone crazy. Today, it's been raining since around six this morning for about 2 or 3 hours now.

I'm actually building a new orchid shade house and while outside yesterday evening, sawing and measuring etc, a bolt of lightning struck just about 100 meters away setting off car alarms and knocking out the power. It was pretty scary when I thought how it could have struck nearer and put me in danger!

Can't do much today as the grounds are all muddy with the rain. Hope the weather will return to normal as I have quite a few orchids flowering outside and the rains are causing all the snails run amok!

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Mushrooms, fungus, orchid pests and problems

Keeping phals outside is not easy. I have to check on them every day. If I skip a week of checking, I almost always find a leaf or two rotting at the edges, eaten up by snails and slugs, infected by bacteria, yellowing, attacked by parasitic bugs or stung by pests.

A snail chewed on this new spike. The flower bud was also affected and will soon drop off.

Bugs like to sting the new leaves causing them to be deformed. In serious cases, the damaged parts get infected and if not snipped off quickly, the rot continues on to the crown of the plant. This has happened to a few of my phals.

Mushrooms also grow in my orchid media and orchid mounts.

These mushrooms grow at lightning speed, they appear overnight and mature in a day or two. Hence the phrase " mushrooms after the rain...".

I think they are toxic! Not a single insect around them.

Fungus too!

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