Friday, January 29, 2010

Tidying up the shade house

I've been doing some work in the shade house, tidying and cleaning up, laying out gravel and rearranging pots. From an unkempt “jungle” it now looks like a less unkempt “jungle”. :D



Before – wild!



I started by laying out a gravel path but then decided to cover nearly the entire area with gravel because it just looked much cleaner that way. In some spots there are sheets of unused plastic bags (few layers) to help keep the weeds out.



Then I did the other side as well, while rearranging pots and plants left and right, putting up new beams and replacing old ones and getting rid of gaudy pieces of planks and beams.



Here’s the other side of the shade house all tidied up, used to be very dark and full of mosses and ferns here. Got quite muddy too when it rained.



Makes a nice cool place to sit around enjoying the plants now. The kitkats like it too but I do think they prefer the previous dark surroundings full of ferns before I tidied everything up. More places for them to hide while stalking birds and bugs. I don’t want them to hang out here too often anyway because there are always thrushes, magpie robins and fantails that come and feed on destructive caterpillars. My cats only scare them away.



Much cleaner now. I left pockets of pegaga or pennywort and pearl grass growing here and there. Some attractive fern weeds are left untouched as well.



I couldn’t decide what to do with this big upturned urn at first. Finally decided to put a big pot of Coelogyne asperata on top of it. This is the smaller green form, I’ve got a pot of the normal form which is much bigger and taller than this one. Too big to move!



The same pot on a different spot. I have a few big pots so I tried moving them all to the same area to create a Coelogyne corner…



However, I think I have gone overboard! LOL


Will update this entry again when I get more work done…

Monday, January 25, 2010

After the rains…



Cut and collected leaves affected by rot due to continuous days of rain this month (January).

Assessing the damage.


Affected with leaf rot but otherwise healthy -

1. Phalaenopsis bellina 6 plants

2. Phalaenopsis cornu cervi 3 plants

3. Phalaenopsis amabilis 1 big mother plant


Affected with leaf and crown rot, may be alright if kept dry -

1. Aranda Broga Giant 1 big plant

2. 2 Trichoglottis species – 3 plants


Affected with leaf and bulb rot -

1. Coelogyne dayana – 1 big pot

2. Coelogyne motleyi – 1 big clump


Affected with crown and stem rot, slim to no hope -

1. Rhyncostylis gigantea (peach) 1 blooming size plant




Every rainy season it is like this. Last year I tried placing plastic sheets above the plants but the sheets soon formed pockets that became breeding grounds for mozzies. The plants too became very dry because dew could not form on them at night and in the early mornings. I had to water them with a garden hose and this brought back the rot problems.


The plastic sheets have been removed and I now do what a good friend and fellow orchid grower does, let the plants go wild! Click here to see his “wild” collection. I just check every for rot problems and remove affected leaves.


Plants at an orchid garden in Kuching also suffer from rot problems as these pictures tell (taken recently):


This used to be a monster clump of Coelogyne asperata!


coelogyne_pandurata_rot (2)

What used to be very healthy Coelogyne pandurata plants.



And this used to be part of a very large and healthy Coelogyne pandurata display.


Phalaenopsis_bellina_rot (2)

The Phalaenopsis bellina plants here are also badly affected by the wet weather (and snails!).



I saw many plants removed from their mounts and planted in pots kept in a sheltered area. Hopefully this one survives. My friend whose garden is pictured here (click) told me his plants suffer the same problems but the short phal stems often survive and put out new growths or keikis after a few months. He doesn’t do much work with his plants anymore as he has given up trying to fight nature. He has a big tree full of naturalized bellinas, an amazing thing to see!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A natural jungle spa


I really like this place. It’s so peaceful and unspoiled here. The only sounds to be heard are all natural sounds, birds chirping, tree frogs croaking and water gurgling. No manmade noises, no cars honking, no trucks rumbling and definitely no loud people talking and yelling. A perfect place to unwind and just soak in nature.

It’s located in Middle of Nowhere, secluded and safe from day trippers and litter bugs from the city. There are many “middles of nowhere” all throughout Sarawak and all it takes is a few hours of driving + trekking to get to a place where one can be totally immersed in the natural beauty of a pristine jungle.

Postcard perfect!

Very Hawaii-like, no?

Ferns of all kinds and large petrified tree trunks lend a very “lost-world” feel to this place.
Natural fish foot spa! The freshwater fish here are not afraid of people because so few human beings come here. As soon as I got my feet in, the fish all swarmed around to nibble at flakes of dead skin. Some people pay good money to have this treatment.

The small stream is full of T-barbs and rasboras that love to nibble on flakes of dead skin. Even small freshwater shrimp join in!

The fish may be little but they do have rather sharp teeth! Very ticklish at first but after a while you get used to it. Great to just sit back with a book and let the fish do their job. :D

In this deep pool, more fish await to give a full body fish spa treatment! Just dip in, stay afloat or sit still in a shallow area and the fish will come to you.

Ahhhh… this is the life!

After the fish spa treatment, just jump in for a swim! The waterfall may be small but the pool is actually very deep! Though the water is clear, it is too deep to see the bottom.

I love this small water cascade. Wish it was in my backyard!

Waterfall massage, very relaxing!

Relaxing in the upper pool of the natural spa.

The upper pool, very clear and cool water.

As I lay back and float in the water, I feel totally relaxed. Looking up, all I see are tall trees and greenery and all I hear are natural sounds. Perfect place to de-stress!

SLRs in the wild. :) Olympus E-510 on the left and Sony A350 on the right.

A small clear water stream flowing through the quiet jungle.

Pandans grow abundantly along the banks.

A species of aquatic aroid, Cryptocoryne striolata grows in abundance near the banks.

The water in the stream comes from a nearby mountain and is very cool. Great place to go for a dip. Over hanging tree branches and lianas provide shade from the hot sun.

Such clear streams used to be a common sight near Kuching. In just a couple of decades, many have turned black and polluted by wastes from pig farms (by far the worst!), chicken farms, run-offs from plantations, household refuse and trash chucked away by irresponsible people. Very sad!

I like this small little stream. On both banks are heliconia-like plants. I’m not sure what they are.

Great place for a small picnic lunch too. Dumplings, spice breadsticks and yam puffs stuffed with char siew meat.

A dead tree trunk full of mushrooms.

Beautiful ferns (Dipteris lobbiana) grow abundantly along the stream.

Just looking at this picture again makes me miss the place already!

Many small cascades and waterfalls can be found here.

Amazing architects, spiders string their webs from one bank to another, catching unlucky flying insects such as damselflies.

A small water cascade.

Sandstone boulders.

Pandans and ferns.

I often see this fern species growing along clear water streams. Refer next photo for closer view.

Dipteris lobbiana. If anyone has a clue what fern species this is, do drop me a line or leave a comment.
We brought back all that we took in and left the place as we found it, without a single trace of our visit. Hope it stays pristine like this for as long as possible. Can’t wait to return here again!
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