Hobart Backyard Farmer

Just another garden blog

Category: Orchids

Late Spring Orchid Update

Hobart’s heat wave has been broken with a suitable amount of rain. Expect your gardens and weeds to double in size this week. The opening Epiphyllum Cacti, and the now chilly weather have prompted this post. It stands to reason that can’t mention the Epiphyllum (or Orchid Cactus) without mentioning orchids. This time of year, Masdevallia and Sarcochilus rule the roost in Hobart. Here are some of the current contenders. The Hoya (Wax Flower) in the glass house is also putting on a great display, although, not an orchid, or even a cacti posing as one, it is worth admiring.

Pink Epiphyllum

Pink Epiphyllum

Pink Epiphyllum Orchid Closeup

Epiphyllum Cactus

Epiphyllum Cactus

Epiphyllum Cactus White

Epiphyllum Cactus

Sarcochilus Orchid

Sarcochilis Ruby Rose

Sarcochilis Ruby Rose

Sarchochilus Orchid

Sarchochilus Orchid

Masdevallia Partizan

Masdevallia Partizan

Masdevallia Machu Picchu Orchid

Masdevallia Machu Picchu

Phalaenopsis Brother Skinner

Phalaenopsis Brother Skinner

Cymbidium Sarah Jean 'Paradise'

Cymbidium Sarah Jean ‘Paradise’


Hoya – Wax Flowers

Hoya - Wax Flower

Hoya – Wax Flower

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Spikey Beauty

Having been a fan of cacti many years ago, my interest waned as I focussed on other persuits. Recently I started coming across images of cacti flowers on pinterest which caught my attention. With great diversity, ease of care, and flowers which challenge even orchids in beauty, it might be time to start adding a few more to my collection. I picked this little fella up from a hardware store a while back, and it has just rewarded me with this gorgeous flower.

I can’t claim credit for the flower in the second picture, as the plant was already in spike when I purchased it, but, I just had to share. The orchid is named Miltoniopsis Breathless ‘Beauty’. Miltoniopsis are commonly known as “the Pansy Orchid” for obvious reasons.


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Mum and Dad Return

The spring equinox has just past, and I write this post while my daughter and I watch the lightening of the current storm from the comfort of our lounge room (well.. it is on in the background, while I write this post and she watches minecraft videos on youtube ūüôā ). While we sit in the comfort of our technology, I wonder what our little bird family is doing in the shade house, having once again moved in to their spring home to raise another year’s clutch of chicks. This year, a very metropolitan nest, by-passing the orchids, and opting for the modern comforts of a plastic plant pot.

While I have you captivated on a Saturday night, I should have mentioned this earlier, but the Hobart Orchid Show finishes its four days tomorrow. If this rain keeps up, then it will be a perfect day to visit 9-3 at the Hobart Town Hall, Macquarie Street.

Black Bird Nest in Plant Pot

Black Bird Nest in Plant Pot

Black Bird Nest in Plant Pot

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How to waste a long weekend

I am qualified to answer that question, as I am a habitual long weekend waster.¬†Starting with big dreams of tidying the yard, and sometimes even bigger dreams of tidying the house¬†and a multitude of tip runs¬†to rid of all the clutter and crap, which I can only imagine results in, I don’t know, joyous skipping and whistling. I wouldn’t know, I never quite seem to achieve it, or normally, even start it.

It might be because I am inherently lazy, a dreamer, or too busy? On this occasion, for 30 minutes or so this weekend, it was because we went on a short walk to O’Grady’s falls, a child friendly walk at the bottom of Mt. Wellington. I have heard that, due to all of the rain we have had, it is a good year, not only for weeds, but for the native orchids of Tasmania. Bringing me in a round about way to the point of this post. Because no-one has ever said, “we would like more orchid posts”, here is another orchid pic. This time, a type of Bird Orchid. I have never come across these before, but mind you, I don’t go in search of them. The plants could be seen, I reckon by the hundreds on the sides of the tracks leading to the falls. a closer look, a few can be found sporting these cute little flowers.

Hobart Bird Orchid

Hobart Bird Orchid 2

O'grady's falls Tasmania

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Pleione Orchids

Just a quick, easy post, with the picture doing most of the work. I couldn’t resist taking a quick pic of these gorgeous, but obviously crowded¬†Pleione orchids.¬†Pleione are a terrestrial (ground growing) orchid which naturally occur mostly in China. Easy to grow and flower in Tasmania. The species pictured is¬†Pleione formosana.

Pleione Orchid

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Awwwww Again

This time with a happy ending. Another nest in another orchid, but unlike last year, these little guys left their nest this morning to face the big wide world.

Bird's nest in orchid 1

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Orchid Update

You guessed it, I haven’t posted in a while, so i’ve taken a couple of quick snaps of orchids. For those of you who are interested, these were all living in the orchidarium and began to spike and flower in there.

The orchidarium itself is getting updated with a new larger tank, i’ll post on that soon. ¬†I have more posts from the vegie garden coming, I am just trying to find the time to fit them in around other things. Hopefully a few pics of these gorgeous orchids with placate you for now.

Hobart phaleanopsis orchidarium 1

Hobart Phaleanopsis Orchidarium 2

Hobart Phaleanopsis Orchidarium 3

Hobart Phaleanopsis Orchidarium 4

Hobart Slipper Orchid Orchidarium 1

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Collector’s Corner

This weekend in Hobart, I felt like I had finally come out of the winter hibernation. The lawns received a well overdue mow, small jungles were brush cut and garden beds were weeded, all to the smells of the blossom and the sounds of birds (except during the hours of mowing and brush cutting). I think though, I may have preempted rising from the winter slumber (to be accurate, in my case, it is more of a deep laziness) as I find myself today, baled up inside with the heater on. I guess September is like this in Hobart, but, as Elvis says, the world turns, and it will only be a month or two until things start to be consistently warmer, the heater can stay off and I won’t have any excuses not to be working in the garden.

In the meantime, and, I know I keep posting orchids (with Spring, I will begin to start balancing this out more), I took some pics of my favourite nursery, Collector’s Corner on our recent trip to¬† Melbourne. I have mentioned Collector’s Corner in previous posts, for which I really should be receiving a commission so I thought I would put together some photos to show what I am raving about. I don’t think I have been there this time of year, as I have never seen so many Cymbidiums in flower at the nursery before.

So, bear with me, I am blaming my hibernation for all of the orchid posts…enjoy, and I will get back to the farming ASAP.

Collector's Corner 1

Collector's Corner 2

Collector's Corner 3

Collector's Corner 4

Collector's Corner 5

Collector's Corner 6

Collector's Corner 7

Collector's Corner 8

Collector's Corner 9

Collector's Corner 10

Collector's Corner 11

Collector's Corner 12

Collector's Corner 13

Collector's Corner 14

Collector's Corner 15

Collector's Corner 16

Collector's Corner 17

Collector's Corner 18

Collector's Corner 19

Collector's Corner 20

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Melbourne Orchid Spectacular

We made our way over to Melbourne the weekend before last as a special birthday treat from my lovely partner #hopingtogetlucky. The purpose of the trip was to visit the Melbourne Orchid Spectacular. It was great to see what orchid folk in Melbourne are growing, but I was envious of the sales tables, not being able to bring plants back in to Tasmania. That said, my wallet remained reasonably untouched, which would have been a different story otherwise. Some pics below of the displays and the sales tables.

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 1

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 2

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 2

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 4Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 5

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 6

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 7

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 8

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 9

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 10

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 11

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 12

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 14

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 15

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 16

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 16

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 16

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 17

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 18

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 19

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 20

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 21

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 22

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 23

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 24

Melbourne Orchid Spectacular 25

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Orchid Porn

It has been a while, and it is getting hard on these wintery evenings after work, to bring myself to write new posts. I am coming back strong though, with this SEO rich post title. SEO being the Search Engine Optimisation, the art of ranking one’s pages with Google.

Now I just need to add the word “porn” a few more times in the post, alienate my female readers, and my mum (I don’t think even she reads the blog), disappoint my male readers and we should be well on the way to getting some good Google rankings.

What I really wanted to achieve with this post though..PORN, PORN, PORN, is to show of this gorgeous Cymbidium Orchid that has flowered, probably for the 1st time since I bought it in flower a few years ago. You probably will not recognise it as the same orchid that a bird rudely nested in earlier this season (see here), but, perhaps that is the secret, as I now have 5 spikes of these gorgeous green flowers, green being one of my favourite orchid flower colours.

Cymbidium Orchid Hobart 1

Cymbidium Orchid Hobart 2

Cymbidium Orchid Hobart 3

Interestingly, I had a couple of chaps have a chuckle at me upon telling them that after snapping a spike while trying to train it, that I wrapped some tape around it and hoped for the best. My thoughts behind this were that the snap was such that the weight of the spike pulling down pretty much caused both sides of the the break to sit flush, and the fact that the cut flowers of cymbidiums can last for many weeks. These two points made me think that it might be possible for the spike to heal itself. I have the evidence that over a month since the break, the spike has continued to mature and in now flowering… so, the last laugh goes to me. Keep this in mind if you suffer the same fate some day.

Next in the orchid porn roundup is a little something from the Orchidarium (I am SEO’ing for that word also). I described in a previous post how many are beginning to spike, in fact, most of the tank, including species other than the¬†Phalaenopsis. Here are some pics of the 1st one to flower. The pics are a little dark, as I have taken them at night without the flash. If I get the opportunity, I will replace with some brighter pics. Anyway, a lovely little mini¬†Phalaenopsis by the name of Nankings Beau “M” according to the label. I must say, I am impressed with the results of growing under artificial light.

Phalaenopsis Nankings Beau

Next, a couple of orchids that I have flowered over the last few months. The 1st is a Coelogyne ovalis which I was proud to earn “Best Culture” with at the Autumn Orchid Show, with healthy looking bulbs given as a reason for the decision. I personally suspect that being one of the younger members of the club, they are trying to encourage me to stick around by rewarding me with favourable judging. An interesting personal fact is that this orchid was the 1st orchid that I ever flowered myself.

Coelogyne Ovalis 1

Coelogyne Ovalis 2

The next is another Coelogyne with a similar but larger flower to the ovalis. If my memory serves me right, it is Coelogyne Falcata. This is the 1st year that this one has flowered for me.

Coelogyne Falcata

I think that is enough orchid porn for one self indulgent post. I will try to keep up on the posts a bit more. Thanks for reading, and, don’t forget leave your comments and subscribe to receive email notifications for new posts.

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Orchid Terrarium

Otherwise known as an Orchidarium (but I think that name might be trademarked or something)

I have had this setup like this for about 10 months I guess. The basic setup is as follows:

  • Lighting:
    • Large CFL from hydroponics shop. These are like those energy saving bulbs that we are kind of forced to use now in Australia, only much larger, I think they are an 80 Watt bulb.
    • Lamp with a 40 Watt halogen bulb, mainly for heat purposes
  • Air movement
    • Old computer power supply and computer fan. The fan is dodgily mounted inside tank (orchidarium)
  • Old 2 foot aquarium/fish tank with sheet of glass for lid
  • metal mesh to raise pots from base of aquarium (these are raised at different heights to for 2 levels, using take away containers, and small plant pots
  • Sphagnum moss underneath mesh to catch excess water and provide humidity
  • Timer for:
    • lights
    • fan (15 mins every hour)

That is about it as far as components. The room that it is located in seems to keep a fairly consistent temperature throughout the day and night, which is why I chose it. It also happens to be a reasonably spare room which we have never quite cleared out after dumping all of our moving boxes in it 3 years ago.

I experimented with heating methods over winter, as, I think, the overnight temps in the tank were just a little too cold… the main issue being the dampness. Some of the plants are in moss, and, I feel compelled to keep it moist most of the time, also, being that the plants are grown under artificial light, they probably do not experience the same semi-dormancy that the their outside cousins experience in Hobart. I note that the orchids in the tank are still actively growing in the winter months.

The only real problems that I have experienced with fungus etc. has been a few patches of a brown type rot, isolated to individual plants over winter (hence my heating experiments). I tend to treat by cutting the infected leaf and sealing with sulpher powder, and moving the plant out of the orchidarium. This issue has been minimal, and has not occurred for 6 months or so. I think, purely due to being cold and damp in winter.

Of course, out of sight, out of mind, I will probably return to fussing over heating during the upcoming winter.

Growth on plants (which are mostly Phalaenopsis) has been great in the orchid terrarium, in fact, I do see die back of older leaves, which I expect is due to lack of fertilising. I am sure if I kept up on that, growth would be even better.

I have had the lighting on for 18 hours a day over summer, and, just recently, with the shortening of the days, dropped it back to 14-15.  This has coincided with a few spikes (flower stems) forming, I assume mostly due the the change in daylight hours, but perhaps partly due to a slightly lower temperature. As an indication though, I have previously only spiked a single spike in the Orchid terrarium.

I monitor the temp and humidity in the orchidarium. Current temps within the orchidarium range from 19-25 (Night and Day temps), and humidity between 65-70%. Humidity can get a fair bit higher at times, depending on watering etc.

What I do intend to do, on top of working out some sort of heating system, is try to automate it a bit more, or at the very least, simplify watering. The monitoring system that I have set up, has the ability to be configured to automate processes such as watering based on sensor feedback, eg. soil moisture meter. I am not quite at that stage yet, although, that is what I am slowly working towards overall in the  garden.

For now, I would like to get a bigger tank to house more orchids, and I could perhaps setup a similar system to the hydroponics setup, with water lines into the pots, and drill an outlet low on the side wall of the terrarium. This would allow me even to somewhat manually, water on demand, and even, easily fertilise on demand, using an aquarium powerhead/pump.

Anyway, enough rabbiting on, here are some pics and please feel free to ask any questions about the set up.

Orchidarium 1


Orchidarium 1

Orchidarium 4

Orchidarium 6

Orchid Terrarium 4

Orchidarium 7

Orchidarium 8

Orchidarium 9

And, the spikes…

Orchid Terrarium 1

Orchid Terrarium 2

Orchid Terrarium 3

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Orchid Companions – Part 4

OK, let’s see if I can knock out a quick post?


Of course, the humble fern should make an appearance in the series about orchid companions. Ferns are a great plant to stick in the darker areas such as under benches, where your orchids may not thrive. Under benches, they receive the water that flows through your orchid pots and through the wire top benches that you should be keeping your orchids on. In return, they help to keep the humidity up but capturing the water, and providing a consistently moist environment.

Probably my favourite species of ferns happen to be epiphytes (growing in tree hosts), perhaps I am just an Epiphytiac…yes, I probably just made up a word for the world’s creepiest psychological disorder. Under my benches I have a few Bird’s Nest Ferns, which, I am growing not really epyphitically, but in a loose, free draining mix. Thinking about it now, I should probably look at trying to get one up into a tree somehow. They do however seem to be happily growing in their current location. My pride Bird’s Nest is a large one in my fernery, which I salvaged (along with most of my others) from a fellow who was redesigning his front garden, a donation to Legacy sealing the deal.

My absolute favourite epiphytic ferns are the Stag Horns and Elk Horns. I think they make the place look truly rain foresty (another made up word?). Specimens can get huge, and look very impressive.

Ever debating and pondering which is which? The Elk Horns have many smaller bunching fronds, and a clumping type growth, where as, the Stag Horn has the larger, upwards growing fronds which seem to¬† encase the body of the plant. I am only lucky enough to own Elk Horns, a Stag Horn seeding that I once bought met its maker… hopefully one day I will score a specimen.

The Elk Horns and Stag Horns look great attached to trees (mimicking their natural growth habit), but, also look great hanging on the walls of your orchid house. Down under, I would suggest a southern,  north facing wall would be appropriate, so as to not cause too much shade for the orchids. That said, the northern wall of my shadehouse is against a tree lined fence, and is actually the darkest part of the house, this is where mine currently live.

Birds Nest Fern 1

Birds Nest Fern 2

Bird's Nest 4

Birds Nest Fern 5

Elk Horn 4

Elk Horn 1

So, did I succeed in my goal to create a quick post? I assume it probably took you a couple of minutes to read, if you even bothered? I think for me, it was probably 45-60 mins work. If I can get that down to a respectable time…maybe I will be able to succeed in posting more often!

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Orchid Companions – Part 3

I have found myself, although tired, lying in bed, not being able to sleep. This has never really been something that I have had to deal with. In the past, on the rare occasions that I have confronted with this issue, I would become increasingly agitated and enraged at my plight. Nowadays, I figure I may as well get up and do something rather than lie awake doing nothing… this brings us to the next installment on orchid house companions.

I can see the eyes rolling already, with the internal dialogue along the lines of, “this is bullcrap, I come here on the false pretense of reading about the good life and providing one’s own food, instead, I just get all this rubbish about orchids”.¬† I promise you that I will get back to the vegies and alike… our peach tree is providing fruit for the 1st time, and tons of it, so I will post some pics. I am still yet to bore you about potatoes, and, with Autumn here, some new produce is being sown. Bad news is, I am in the process of setting up my 1st tropical fish tank, so, prepare yourself for many more off topic posts.


As I have rambled on so much above, and, it is getting late and I will probably be surly at work tomorrow due to my lack of sleep, I will make this a short one.

I don’t actually know that much about the Hoya family, so you may wish to do some further research. Commonly known as the Wax Flower, mostly seen growing as a vine, this plant makes a good companion in the orchid house. A tropical plant, I have a couple of varieties which seem to do OK in Hobart’s cooler climate when treated like an orchid (wet is summer, dry in winter) I am led to believe that they also do perfectly well as an indoor plant.

The one pictured, I have had for a couple of years, this year being the 1st time I have flowered it (In Autumn, I have also seen similar flowered in spring). I grow this one in a hanging pot to allow the foliage to hang down. My other Hoya, I had planned to treat the same, but have just now thought that it might look good climbing its way around the glass house, thanks for the great idea.

Hoya, grow hoya 1

Hoya, grow hoya 2

Hoya, grow hoya 3

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Orchid Companions – Part 2

Not only can these be tackily glued to fridge magnets and other oddments, Tillandsia, or air plants seem to make suitable compadres in the shade house.


A member of the Bromeliad family, the plants and little to no root system, which, if it does exist, I am told that it has a the primary function of anchoring the plants in place in the wild (due to the shortage of naturally occurring fridge magnets and glue). The plants uptake water through their leaves, but detest being water logged for long periods of time, or during the cold. just like our Orchid friends. I water mine when I water the orchids, by just running the hose over them.

Typically, I wrap some plastic coated wire around mine, and then hang them around the shade house, from hanging baskets or alike. Growth is clumping, with new clumps (pups) forming post flowing.

From my observations, flowering is similar to the Bromeliads. I have observed mostly purple flowers, usually accompanied with a flushing of bright colour to the foliage.

Many of you Orchid growers may already be growing Tillandsia without even realising it… Spanish Moss, sometimes called Old Man’s Beard, is that cool stuff seen hanging off trees on movies set in southern USA, it actually consists of many Tillandsia plants hanging from each other.

A word of warning. I am not an expert in growing Tillandsia, and I have not owned most of mine for a long period of time. My shade house is relatively non-humid and dry (as compared to a moist, controlled environment), covered from rain, and I have not yet grown Tillandsia (apart from Spanish Moss) over a winter. I expect that they well survive the winter if kept dry, but, everyone’s conditions are different, so ask local advice and do your research.

Tillandsia tasmania 1

Tillandsia Tasmania 2

Tillandsia Tasmania 4

Tillandsia Tasmania 5

Tillandsia Tasmania 7

Tillandsia Tasmania 8

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Orchid Companions – Part 1

It is either this or the post about potatoes… That will come, but, I fear that I will find it difficult to captivate my audience with potatoes, and to be honest… the pics that I have for this are nicer than a bunch of dirt caked tubers.

So, what is this post about? You guessed it, perhaps… it is about a few plants that make good companions to orchids in the orchid house. It may be that they thrive in a similar environment to orchids, enjoying bright, indirect light and high humidity or the case may be¬† that they thrive in the areas of the orchid house that the orchid grower avoids, such as the overly shady areas below the benches. The opposite may be true, the plants might hang high in a grow space, to provide filtered light to the orchids underneath, or they may again, sit on the floor, remaining moist and assisting the overall humidity and micro climate of the orchid house, or, finally, they might just look nice.

The plants that I choose, I choose because I feel that they add a tropical and exotic feel to the orchid house. They also likely serve one or more of the purposes listed above. See my list below. I would love to hear from others as to which are their favourite companion plants in the orchid house.


Although Bromeliads are a flowering plant, for me, it is the striking foliage that attracts me the most to these plants. In fact, the foliage can flush with bright colours during flowering, I assume to assist in attracting pollinators, but, as a result, the leaves often outshine the at times, insignificant flowers.

I have found them easy to grow. I use orchid mix which the local society puts together. It consists of a medium size pine bark, mixed with finer plant debris such as small cones, chopped up fern fronds etc. I shy away from the mix for most of my orchids for a few reasons, but I do really like to use it for bromeliads and epiphyllum cacti (mentioned below). Being mostly epiphytic (tree dwelling), Bromeliads typically like to grow in a loose, well draining medium. The lady that I bought my first Bromeliads from recommended to ensure that the “vase” has water in it all of the time, and in doing so, they should be pretty happy. As they sit under my benches, they get a good watering whenever I water the orchids.

Grow bromeliads in tasmania 3

Grow bromeliads in tasmania 5


Grow bromeliads in tasmania 7

Grow bromeliads in tasmania8

Grow bromeliads in tasmania 9

What I am going to do here, as I seem to have filled a good portion of my evening with this post, is go ahead and publish it. I will submit further posts in the coming days, describing other great plants to accompany your orchids.

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OMG… More Orchids?

Yeah, i would be a little upset too, expecting to find a helpful little blog about backyard farming, only to find myself reading the deranged ramblings of an orchid obsessed lunatic.¬† Perhaps it is because I can create a post of pretty pics, and let them do the talking? I don’t know, but, I have taken some pics other than orchids and will post shortly on those. For now… i’ll post some pretty pics. Most of the pics are phalaenopsis, as common as they are now days, I must admit, I really fell in love with these orchids on a trip to Shanghai to visit my mother and step-father who were living there at the time. The first thing I noticed upon walking into their apartment (apart from my mother, who was in my way) was the most striking display of phaleanopsis. I kid about my mother, this was before I had developed an interest in orchids, and truth be known, my mum probably has contributed to me becoming the strange, orchid obsessed individual that I have grown in to.

The other type of orchid shown is an Epidendrum, or crucifix orchid. I seem to have a soft spot for these also, perhaps because I at times see them growing in people’s front gardens in south-east Queensland where we occasionally holiday.¬† Anyway…. I had better get ready for work, so I am going to be lazy, stop typing, and post the pics.



Above: This Phaleanopsis could be described as a “mini” Phaleanopsis. These have a much smaller flower that what one normally sees at the shops, but, is equally as stunning.





Above: Not mine, but the¬† stunning and perhaps excessive¬†display that greeted me at parent’s apartment.




Above: The Epidendrum. I must point out that the images do not reflect the true crimson colour of the flowers.

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As promised

Here is a newer photo of the orchid as promised… I thought I may as well throw in another couple of pics while I was at it ūüôā





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More Orchids!

Maybe I should reconsider the name of the blog seeing as the orchids creeping in ever more frequently… I guess, they are just a little more photogenic than a zucchini. In the spirit of disclosure, I need to point out that the orchid pics have been taken over a period of a couple of months.



The above two pictures are of orchids known as Disa. They are a terrestrial orchid (grows in ground) from Africa. I am told that they grow along river banks, and I know of at least one grown that leaves the growing containers sitting in a few centimetres of  water. This is generally a big no-no for most orchids, so, interesting to know.

Another interesting thing about the Disa orchids, is that they can be propagated in sphagnum moss without requiring the sterile cultivation methods which most orchids require. I assume this would make them a good candidate for the hobbyist to try their hand at breeding, without the cost or complications of traditional methods.

Along with the great range of colours and sizes they are are available in, I find Disa orchids to be a great choice for my region, as they tend to flower a little later in the season than some of the other orchids such as Cymbidiums, meaning that you can be enjoying the beautiful flowers from November onwards.



Above is probably my greatest orchid experience to date. It is a Phalaenopsis orchid,, which seem to be all the rage at the moment. I must admit, they are probably one of my favourite orchids, and likely one of the reasons I became interested in growing orchids.

I received this one 2 years ago for Christmas, already flowering, which it continued to do for 4 months or so (another reason why I like orchids). The reason why I am so excited about this one is that it is the 1st Phalaenopsis that I have spiked (the act of producing the flowering spike) and flowered. It should look pretty good once all the buds are open.


This one is a stunner, and again, 1st time I have flowered. It is known as Beallara Tropic Lily ‘Ice Palace’. All three flowers have opened now, I will post some updated pics shortly.



This one is pretty cool… commonly known as Darwins Orchid, one of the Angraecum species, although i’m not sure which one. This species is has a strong fragrance during the evenings, smelling something like vanilla mixed with jasmine.

Why Darwin’s Orchid? The part of this plant which contains the nectar (nectar spur apparently) is incredibly long, reaching up around the 30 cm mark in some cases. This feature lead Darwin to theorise that a moth with an equally long proboscis (that curly feeding tube that moths and butterflies possess) must exist in order to pollinate the orchid. It was not for some years later that the pollinator matching Darwin’s ridiculous description was identified in Madagascar, the home of the orchid in question. Unfortunately, the nectar spur on my specimen became stuck and never unraveled.

Click below for a little clip about the relationship between the orchid and the moth.



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Above, some Masdevallia orchids

001 (2)

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011 (2)


Above, some Sarcochilus orchids. These tend to flower a little later (around November down here), so again, a good one for colour outside of the spring flowering of many orchids.



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Mum was away from the nest, and look what she left

babybirds1 babybirds2

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Tasmanian Native Orchids

Went on a walk this past Sunday with some members of the Hobart Orchid Society, to look for some of the native orchids currently in flower. We got lucky with a few different species, all of which I have never seen before. A disclaimer… I probably didn’t take the time that I should have with the pics, in fact, they are probably a little crap, but, I hope you enjoy all the same.

Large Spotted Sun Orchid (Thelymitra juncifolia)



Purple Beard Orchid (Calochilus platychilus)





Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana major)

This was an interesting one… I am not even going to make stupid jokes about the common name, it is easy to see why it is named so. The pollinator for this orchid is a saw fly, a relation of the wasp. Apparently the saw fly, finding this orchid to be on the attractive side, tries to mate with the flower, resulting in the “duck’s head” snapping down and trapping the saw fly. A battle for escape ensues for a period of time, eventuating in the saw fly escaping, pollen attached, only to find itself duped again down the way, hence, the pollination.

One can seduce this orchid into closing by carefully mimicking the gentle and erotic caresses if the male saw fly. I was terrible at this, but, I can assure you that it is no reflection on my ability to mate with the females of my own species ūüėČ My friend however, does know how to seduce a saw fly, was able to get one of these flowers to close. I am told closing action was quite quick.

Flying Duck Orchid 1

Flying Duck Orchid 2

And below: post mating attempt

Flying Duck Orchid Closed

Small Duck Orchid (Paracaleana minor)


Trim Leak Orchid (Prasophyllum concinnum) – I think

Trim Leak Orchid

Sundew (not an orchid)

But a carnivorous plant (eats insects). I used to see many of these around where I grew up, but, not so much here in Tassie. For those that don’t know, small insects get stuck in the clear sticky substance on the leaves, and then, I imagine, are kind of sucked dry.

sundew 1 sundew 2 sundew 3


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Notice anything unusual?


Maybe you need a closer look?


This morning I found this little fella building a nest in one on my Cymbidium orchids… I have mixed feelings about this. I think I will leave her be for now, and hopefully, she will not destroy my shadehouse in the child rearing process. It may be the case that now she has been spotted, she may decide that that my Cymbidium is not the most ideal nesting location.

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Introduction to my affliction (Orchid Fever)

Easy to get, and, no known cure… Orchid Fever does not discriminate… below are 5 symptoms to watch out for:


Sufferers may feel the need to purchase orchids at any opportunity. You can never have enough.¬† With up to 26,567 known species and thousands of more hybrids… this unreachable goal ensures that you will be left longing for more.

Unusual Construction

Before long, elaborate dwellings will be erected to house the precious orchids… the advice to me was to decide how big of an orchid house that you think you may need, then double it. In retrospect, I should have taken the advice.

That said… it is inevitable that as the fever sets in, with the need to expand ones collection, more buildings catering for the specific needs of particular orchids will be necessary. Given time, you might even be considering the expense of heating a dwelling just for your orchids to be a reasonable decision (delirium?)

Unusual thoughts

You may find yourself thinking about orchids excessively or at unusual times. Chances are that you are so afflicted that you will not even notice this. The 1st signs that you are at this stage will come from your loved ones querying your blank looks, poor listening and and random orchid related ramblings.

Unnatural thoughts

Where is this going to go…? Sufferers may find themselves pondering the sex lives of their orchids, and, what it might be like to do a bit of match making in the orchid house. Determining which characteristics a matched up couple may pass on to their offspring, and then… assisting in the process.¬† I assure you, not as creepy as it sounds, but… beware, you are well on your way to full blown fever.

Full blown orchid fever

This is a long list, but, some of the signs that fever has set in for goods are:

  • Your travel plans revolve around orchids… in fact, you plan your year around orchids
  • Your house falls down around you while the orchids live in well maintained, luxury accommodation.
  • The portion of income towards your orchids cost of living exceeds your own.
  • Everyone other than orchid enthusiasts think you are a weirdo bore. The majority of orchid enthusiasts think the same of you.

Now that you know what my future beholds…

here is a few pics from my shade house which I took a few weeks ago when I thought things were looking particularly nice

Orchids 002

Orchids 003

Orchids 007 Orchids 009 Orchids 010 Orchids 011 Orchids 012 Orchids 013 Orchids 015 Orchids 016 Orchids 017 Orchids 021 Orchids 022 Orchids 023 Orchids 025 Orchids 096 Orchids 097

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