This one just bloomed today! This is a day-booming Epicactus Epiphyllum “Fruhlingsgold” native to Central America. This is an extraordinary tropical succulent cactus or flowering Jungle Cacti, common name “Orchid Cactus”. It is part of a collection of fifteen epicactus of mine and I always tend these semi ugly plants just for the very spectacular, huge, fragrant blooms. Epiphyllums bloom in the spring on 2-3 year old potted plants and off and on during the year. This one has been blooming all summer and this bloom opened November 5th. However, the major blooming season for day blooming plants starts in late April, peaks in May and ends in June. During the other months of the year we are rewarded by the occasions “off season” bloom, especially from the 4″ top 2″ varieties.The blooms range from 2″ to 8″in size and the one you see here is 6″ in diameter. Related plants are rattail cacti, rhipsalis, hoyas, Thanksiving-Christmas Cactus, Easter Cactus, and Night Blooming Cereus. They are easy to grow in hanging pots. They need night time temperatures of 45-50 degrees during the winter, where they do not receive artificial light after sundown. This is necessary for bud formation to take place. Their favorite temperatures are 45-70 degrees. In my area they are put outside in part shade and temps in the high 80’s in the summer and in the downstairs up against sliding glass doors with temp 50-70 degrees and seem to do just fine. Repot each spring.
Reloading the Greenhouse Each Fall
When October 15th comes each year the major task is to reload the greenhouse with some 200+ plants!
Many of the orchids are in full spectacular bloom. Since they do have to come inside, they get to be the “show-off” specimens in the house for a while. Usually I try to leave them outside when they are in full bloom so they are not disturbed and drop their blooms.
Orchids bloom usually once a year; some bloom twice a year. There are over 7000 species and thousands of hybrids. When they bloom depends on what part of the world they came from and what their habitat was… and then we do our best to try to duplicate their original habitat to keep them happy so we can see their blooms where we live.
I am in Georgia and that means the orchids and tropicals have to go into a greenhouse or well-lit indoor circumstance for the colder months. Many growers in the Atlanta Orchid Club are set up with shelving and lighting to be able to grow in a room or in their basement. October 15th seems to be the date that they have to be indoors. Sometimes we get our first frost by Halloween. Most orchids prefer to be inside when the night temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Phalanopsis orchids don’t like it below 60 degrees and Dendrobium orchids can tolerate 40 degrees if they are dry. Tropical plants generally prefer 55 degrees as their low temperature. Before bringing them indoors spraying them with a systemic insecticide is important. In the winter months the fertilizer is used less frequently as some are more dormant.
My greenhouse is filled with plants and so is my home….there are plant friends just everywhere for my winter’s entertainment.
Three nests – Bird Lore
This is some bird lore… We all try to see the spring bird nests but they are elusive. We had the house hardy-boarded last month and when the workers took the gutters off of the house for the hardy-boarding to begin they found this nest in the gutter off the front living room window. I have no idea which bird made this nest but the interesting thing about it is that it is a very tight weave all around the top opening. The wren’s nest that is posted next is a very loose weave at the top rim. Maybe I will find out which little bird made this nest. The gutter was covered so it had to be a very little bird to be able to get into the gutter.
This is a wren’s nest from earlier this year that I saved. I may do a watercolor painting of it. I love the three little speckled eggs. I did wonder why she left them. This nest is really a pretty one. Each year there seems to be a game-on with the wrens to see who can get the nesting spots on the breezeway from the kitchen to the garage. It is an area where we do all the potting and repotting so there are shelves with many vases, jars, chemicals, pots, orchid supplies, hangers over a 12′ area. We usually house three to four families several times a year. I have a metal chicken on the banister of the breezeway backed up to a post and there is a nest in the backside/bottom area under the tail feathers the artist left open….now there is a wren’s nest in there.
This nest is an old one I have saved for 3 years and there is one tiny egg that was left in it. It is also a Carolina Wren’s nest. In this nest she tucked in quite a bit of moss for the soft spot. You can see some on the outside hanging out at upper right. There are many stairs that lead down the property to the lake that display mosses of various complicated names that she can choose from to make her nest appealing and “just right”.
There are so many wrens in my yard that I named my In-Home Gallery, Working Studio, Teaching Facility & Office, “Wren Hill Gallery”. It is the whole downstairs that looks out at the water. We live on a 33 acre lake down a steep hill nestled in by the trees at lakeside….you are invited…..come visit.