Maintenance Information

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Life with Hummingbirds

There was a hummingbird in this picture but he zoomed off! It is hard to get a shot of those little guys they are so busy.

Pictured above is Salvia leucantha- Mexican Bush Sage one of the sages that the Hummingbirds love in our garden. They consistently favor tube shaped flowers or the mini tube shaped blossoms of larger flowers like Lily of the Nile (agapanthus) or the salvia stalks.

This year I realized that we were on the 8th or more generation of a hummingbird family that lives in our garden. This made me happy to think that we had created a consistent habitat for these amazing creatures. Over the years they have become quite at home in the plum tree and I have watched them bathe in the waterfall and even in the spray of the hose as I water the plants.

They have become accustomed to my presence near them and will light on the branches right above me as I work in the garden and sometimes fly up near me as I pull weeds.

We have provided lots of flowering plants to feed at and our pond as a water source so they are well fed. I need not put out nectar because they have plenty. The trees give hidden areas for their nests and to this day I cannot spot the nest in the plum tree!

They are territorial and chase off other hummers who come near the nest. Throughout the day I hear them chatting and hovering about the garden continuously busy from sun up till sunset.

Its lovely to have these little companions and be entertained by their movements and wild play.
Despite our cat they have little fear and I feel they are as much a part of the garden as the flowers and stones.

For your garden to be a place for hummers just provide a source of clean water, bird cover in the form of trees (small trees are o.k.) and lots of tube shaped flowers i.e. sages, abutilon, agapanthus, penstemon, mallow, california fuchsia etc.............

I think that flower nectar is preferable to nectar from sugar in feeders just like fruit juice is better for kids than soda!

Zoom..........................................

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Re-potting Orchids

Orchids are tree dwellers thusly they don't really grow in soil but are planted in bark. Special orchid bark as a matter of fact.

Orchids are commonly given as gifts in tiny containers or even in plastic sleeves. They like to have their roots crowded but after awhile they sap the energy out of the old bark and it is time for new.

We were just potting up some the other day and thought I would pass on a few notes about the
process.

Choose a container with a hole in the bottom (no water logged roots that way).

The container should only be a little bigger than that of the original (crowding is good).

Leave air roots exposed. These are roots that have grown up out of the sides or crown of the plant over the pot or into the air. These roots like to be misted by the way.

Add slow release fertilizer to the orchid bark- Osmocote is good but not too much.

You can use pebbles or broken pot shards in the bottom of the pot to avoid the hole getting blocked.

Gently lift out your Orchid and place it in the pot and fill around the root ball with bark. Don't break up the roots or score them. This can damage the plant.

Clean the leaves with a damp cloth. Remove any dead leaves.

Orchids like light but not hot direct sun. They enjoy heat too but not to the extreme. Create humidity by misting occasionally.

Orchids will actually bloom again if you put them on a regular fertilizing schedule and give them good light- a room that gets strong morning sun is the best.

Cymbidium orchids are the easiest and actually live outdoors in a protected spot that gets morning sun.
The hothouse orchids are harder to get to rebloom but they can surprise you if they get their food and some nice warm diffuse light. Hey, that sound like a greenhouse!