January 19, 2009

Orchid care - Phalaenopsis - how much light it needs?

If your orchid is not reblooming - this doesn't mean you don't have hand for orchids. It only means that probably your orchid doesn't get enough light.

If new leaves grow longer and darker - it means there is not enough light.

There is a lot of misunderstandings when it comes to amount of light that orchids need.

I will cover most important issues like watering, fertilising in the next posts, so everyone can enjoy at home reblooming orchids.

As Phalaenopsis is most popular and easy to grow I will mainly write about them.

First of all - don't be fooled 'orchid needs half shadow' is not true in many countries.

In natural conditions Phalaenopsis grows in the tropics in half shadow, sheltered by big trees, because too strong direct sunlight can burn the leaves.

This applies to tropics and countries where sun is really strong for most of the year.

In countries which are more far from the equator sun operates much lighter. In many countries there is not enought light for people from October until March. Do you think, that this amount of light is enough for your orchid?

My orchids grow indoor in zone 6. Without special artificial light, they grow strong and rebloom voluntarily placed on southern windowsill, on direct sunlight except July - when I move it little away form the glass. Sun is so high, that I don't need move my orchids to different spot.

How to tell if your orchid has enough or too much light?

Look at the leaves - slight clared coloured leaves show you need to move the plant to shadow immediately, cos it is close to be burned.

Touch the leaf - this is good way to check whether the amount of light is proper. If its hot, means there little too much light.

Another easy to grow orchids suitable for beginners is Odontonia - fragrant, that I bought lately - see it here.

If you are looking for practical guide which covers all you need to know about orchid care Click Here!
Happy reblooming orchids!
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Hybrid car? Green car? How to tell if they are better than traditional ones?

This subject is very interesting to many of us, who care about nature and are fans of green life and look everyday for new possibilities to live in green style.
Maybe still cheaper car to buy is the traditional one, but concerning the gasoline price, driving hybrid car seems to be cheaper, however some say it is not really convenient.

In such moments I always ask myself what is convenience? This is something we got used to do, so we don’t need to think how to do it, therefore it seems to be easier and more convenient. Will YOU oppose? Do you think that more convenient are things which are ‘rationally’ easier to do? You would be surprised what other people consider more convenient.
Psychologists are saying that it takes only 30 days to change your habit, providing that every day you discipline yourself to do what you want to be your new habit, replacing the old one.
If I read in the reviews that it is not convenient to charge batteries in electric engines, I am asking myself on which behalf is that person writing? Who benefits from stopping us to change our habits?
Do you consider to change your car, maybe hybrid one will be a solution for you? Research showed, that drivers use maximum capacity of traditional combustion engine only in 1% of driving time. Usually we drive short distances and rather in relaxed way, not rally style. In hybrid cars they combined combustion engine, which is much smaller than traditionally, with electric engine. This, plus different construction of tires give majority of savings. For example Prius weights 1300 kg and inside is as spacious as Corolla. It takes 10,9 sec do get to 100 km/h and it is using 4,3 liters of gasoline per 100 km. If you use only electric engine you may drive 45 km/h.
More information on any hybrid car you can find here.
Us News ranking of the hybrid cars you will find here.
Do you have any personal experience on using hybrid car? Please share it.

January 14, 2009

January in flowers - what's in bloom here?


Everything is covered with snow in my garden and for the first time ever, there is not even a single bloom outdoor - I joined the club.

This is the time, when house plants can cheer us up! On the honrable place there is - of course - my new orchid Odontonia Samourai - level of easiness to grow similar to Phalaenopsis.

The major difference is that Odontonia does not grow flowers again on the same stem, so after flowers are gone, you may cut back as low as you can reach it.

You know what I like most about it? It is FRAGRANT! but only in certain hours - there is no scent in the evenings.

I am sorry to make you bored with repeating the fregrance issue again and again, but I believe that beautiful fragrance of flowers at home make our living space better.

Orchids are special - they may combine beautiful flowers with beautiful fragrance.

Odontonia is a hybrid intergenera plant belonging to Oncidium group, its parents are Miltonia and Odontoglossum.

I read often, that even people with green thumbs have problems to make Phalaenopsis it rebloom. Maybe because in media there is often misleading information about how to care about them. I read that orchids don't like direct sunlight - maybe this is true in the countries, where temperature gets high and sun is really strong. They need a lot of light, so if you don't plan to make for them a special spot with artificial light, your orchid should be standing as close to south window as possible. Mine are placed directly on the southern windowsill.

I experinced, that in zone 6 only July's sun can be little too strong - for that month I move my orchids away from direct sunlight, but not to shadowy place.

Another critical point for orchid is starting the heating indoor - if placed too close, should be moved to cooler and less dry spots.

There is also a lot misinformation about how wet you should keep it - at the base it has to get dry, so watering 1 time a week/or 2 is enough.

Your orchid will be really happy!



Calanchoe grown from little cutting 'stolen' from doctor's room one year ago - grows surprisingly fast and it blooms since over one month! That's really cheering up! I just placed the cutting in the soil and PURE compost made the rest.



Poinsettia will be growing in my house untill next Christmas, because it is much more beautiful while older - just have a look here.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is kindly hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

January 11, 2009

Phew!! This is really boring stuff, woman...

... what do see in these books? its time to talk about food...


"In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this" ~Terry Pratchett

January 10, 2009

Snowflakes gift of winter garden ornaments at -18C at night!

Last week winter organized party in this part of the world. Showing off with -18C/-1F at night in my garden and -29C/-20F only 190 km away!
2 days ago, I went out early in the morning to see how it feels and I captured beautiful fresh snowflakes - scroll down and have a look.










January 3, 2009

Odontonia Samourai - fragrant orchid


Do you think it is beautiful? I couldn't resist to buy it, because when I smelled it, I discovered it is fragrant! Just to make sure, I asked my friend that was shopping with me and after she confirmed, there was no other way - only to cashier!
After coming home, I was so happy, I sniffed the flowers and ...all the scent was gone!!
I suspected the shop tricked me or plant is in shock.
Kathryn on Twitter told me, that it could smell at certain hours of the day - and she was right! Thank you!!.
This orchid is NOT fragrant only in the evening. Scent is very delicate.

It came labelled Cambria, but after comparing many sources and many pictures, I am sure it is misabelled. This is also mentioned in some sources, that producer labelled Odontonia by mistake as Cambria.

Odontonia is intergenera hybrid and easy to take care of - recommended for beginners (same level as Phalaenopsis).

Any other fragrant orchid kind you know and would like to recommend?

January 1, 2009

5 top best evergreen landscaping winter plants, suitable up to zone 4.

In the winter garden, after green leaves are long gone, garden tells you whether you planned it properly and whether there is still green plants that can cheer up your soul.

From my experience I found out, that there is 5 best performing, evergreen, carefree plants, that keep beautiful green colour all winter long and you can't miss to plant in your garden. 5 top plants for maximum effect in winter garden and with minimum work.

1. Buxus (Boxwood) - This shrub looks beautiful all year round. There are different types - some are more suitable for small evergreen hedges and topiaries ("English" - B. sempervirens "Suffruticosa"), taller ones ("American" - B. sempervirens) are better for higher use. There is known 90 species and more than 150 cultivars known, so much different in form and foliage. You can learn more about Boxwood from the website of American Boxwood Society.

2. Hebe - evergreen, grow in perfectly round shape naturally, don't require trimming. Lower temperatures may be harmful. All types and kinds you will find at The Hebe Society.

3. Holly (Ilex aquifolium and Ilex x meserveae) - There is many species (sources say from 300 to 800) and I grow just one of them Ilex meserveae "Blue Boy", that doesn't grow red berries. I am planning to add I. meserveae "Blue Girl" to get more red berries for winter color. They are highly toxic, so beware if there are small kids at your home.

4. Firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea) - Not only low maintenance, but also drought resistant, so it makes it great plant to grow close to picea. Suggested uses: city, wallsides. Drought tolerant, good for hedgings and screens, resistant to pollution. Position: partial or full shade or full sun.

5. Yew (Taxus baccata Repandens) - evergreen, dark green foliage throughout the year, small, spherical with horizontal branches, grows up to 1 m height and 3 m width. It regenerates great after pruning, so you can get as creative as you feel. Looks beautiful planted together with deciduous azalea.

Further recommended reading Landscaping Ideas that Work (Taunton's Ideas That Work)