Tuesday, February 12, 2019

My Year of Orchids: Tiny orchids

Yesterday’s mail brought an order of about twenty orchids. I knew they were in two inch pots but boy were they tiny! Tiny orchids are a beautiful thing. We saw some a couple of months ago at an amazing exhibit at Selby Botanical Garden. They were part of a large glassed in terrarium and the landscape they inhabited was absolutely magical. But I’m not trying to build a terrarium. I’m planting all my orchids outside. These tiny babies were sure to get lost.

I had to come up with a strategy for placement and retrieval that would kind of help me remember where everybody was. And when I say tiny I mean it. Like smaller than a quarter and nowhere near as shiny. So for my three new jewel orchids, some of the smallest of all, I planted one in a pot, one I planted on the shady side of a large rock in my shade garden, and one I put near the base of a tree with the tag showing prominently. Fingers crossed for those beauties. Also by the way I wanted them in slightly different placements and habitats so maybe one would survive.

I had another terrestrial/litho that’s supposed to grow to a very large size, Vandopsis lissochiloides. It too was teeny so I arranged a big rock vertically and planted it at the base of the rock, so hopefully I’ll keep track of it and the rock won’t fall on it. 

Some of the new babies I put in slatted baskets with their cousins. They are just too small to plant on their own. The smallest, a tiny Bulbophyllum digoelense, I slid into the basket with my thriving Bulbophyllum fascinator. Maybe it will catch on and grow. At least I won’t lose it. A Dendrobium and a Phalaenopsis I put in baskets with very old cousins of theirs that I rescued. The oldies are blooming for the second time this year but they take up less than half the basket. Why not potentially extend the blooming season with these new babies. I’m not the kind of purest who grows specimens on their own for “show.” I’d rather fill up the space with lusciousness.

Speaking of which....most of the rest of my new orchids I stuck among bromeliads or air plants just so I’ll remember to mist them but also to give them a toe hold in their new world. I think they’ll look great as they complement each other and start to burgeon.

Well as always it’s fingers crossed when new plants hit the trees. I think they were in their box a little too long and just a little squished—my supplier sent me some free no-IDs so the space was really packed. But good news is everyone perked up beautifully an hour or two after they were unpacked and even better, it was a cloudy afternoon, a cool night, and a fog shrouded morning that greeted them in their new home.

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