Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I suppose I'm tough enough to raise orchids as a hobby.

I just bought a $42 orchid (right).

The high number of eccentric old codgers I met in Australia who raise them as a hobby inspired me. I thought I was going to wait until I turned age 65, but I went ahead and got a head start on my old man hobby.

But I'm afraid it's going to die so I obsessively spray it with water twice a day. I think I'm supposed to do that ...

For work I had to visit the USDA's library today where they have an exhibit of British botanists' drawings of plant specimens from the 18th and 19th centuries. These detailed, full color drawings of various exotic species of plants were incredible.

The drawings got me thinking: if you were a biologist over 100 years ago, you had to know your biology as well as be a talented artist; there were no cameras to document what the hell you were writing about! I love that kind of doubling up of skills. How many biologists today do you think could draw more than a stick figure.

There are some (too) small images of the prints on display here. But the site doesn't really do them justice.
Stop spraying it.

Get some half inch or so diameter pebbles from a garden center. The ones from outside carry too many bacteria and fungi that can spread to the plant.Put the pebbles in a drainage dish and put standing water in it. The water shouldn't cover the pebbles. Then put the potted orchid in the dish so the evaporating water moves up through the plant base without wetting it's feet. Water twice monthly IF IT NEEDS IT. Maybe once a month if your house is humid. I do mine every three weeks. A finger check in the pot mixture helps.

Keep moth orchids away from excess heat and direct light -so no window sills. Just a room with difused sun will work. Even one with just one window. They prefer temperatures between 58 and 78 degrees. When the blooms are done, clip the long stem an inch or so above the potting mixture and wait until next year.

I've had orchids that continuously bloomed for as much two months. Do not repot until roots start growing outside pot bottom or it's totally root bound-two years maybe. When watering, give one good soak and then let drain. Don't put it back in pebble/drainage dish until drained thoroughly in sink or bathtub.

Felicidades. This can get addictive. You might also like my favorite carnivorous plants-pitcher plants can be beautiful. Gorgeous on the outside-deadly on the inside.
Modern biologists would just hire a bunch of lowly undergrad research assistants to do the "artsy" stuff.

... $42 dollars for an orchid ... I can see why it is an "old man with more income than a young man" kinda hobby.

Whoa, thanks for the tips!
Screw the stereotypes and enjoy your hobby. People respect a man who doesn't give a shit about others opinion.

My father-in -law collects and displays butterflies and dragonflies which means he runs around fields with a giant white butterfly net, sometimes getting taunted by teens etc. I know because I had to ask him. His interest for a randomn subject outweighs his social angst.

Guy respect that and chicks dig it.

Having said that, I do feel a little self conscious telling certain types how I assemble plane models. Or used to before my offspring.

Have fun exploring, I hear it's a huge subculture


Not sure what you're talking about. I meant "tough" because raising orchids is tough!
My wife is pregnant. I'm thinking orchids sound pretty easy right now!

Related to a previous post of yours:

Original URL is below:
I thought you were stressed about the whole masculine feminine thing and flowers. sorry way off base I'm an idiot.

If I was stressed about that, I wouldn't have put it on my public blog!
Best not to wait until your old age for something like this. It's much like investing, takes time. You'll like this and it may even lend some clarification on any male-female issues you may have. :) Anonymous gave you good advise. Altho I spray daily (alternatively, if I water, I soak them for 45 minutes in distilled water). I fertilize weakly biweekly in the wamer seasons. You'll get a kick outta this--make room for more. As to your interesting notation of science past and present--you may want to check out the glass flower collection at Harvard's Peabody Museum. There are some orchids that'll knock your socks off. A more interesting tangent is what you called the "doubling up" of talents. I think that it makes thinking broader, perspective more accurate, and understanding more comprehensive. That's why weird old coots are always so into everything and can counsel us (or rather you, I'm a coot-in -training) in just about anything. Keep thinking, keep seeing, and keep asking. Regards, abby
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