Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Second Flush (Orchid Flower )

   The Phalaenopsis I bought Cat to replace the one I killed has regrown a second flower spike.It has five flower buds on it,but it completely surprised me.I have been trying to nurse it back to health as the leaves had lost their glossy shine.It seems happy on the kitchen windowsill by the sink.
 It has had a little water on its bark/moss mix and not on the leaves or crown.I think I may have over watered the last one.I'm proud and amazed that we have induced it to flower for a second time.Mostly you buy Orchids that are in flower and that have masses of buds.The culturing of the plants has seen their price drop so supermarkets can sell them for £5 or £10.I enjoy the challenge of trying to get a plant to re bloom.
 The other plants that I have succeeded in flowering are the Xmas and Easter Cactus.I think they bloom down to the length of the day.The Xmas cactus seems to flower twice a year and is festooned in the pink flowers.
 I have had a weakness for houseplants since I lived in flats and houses with no garden.A little bit of greenery indoors can do wonderful things for the soul.Nurturing a living thing gives pleasure when you keep it alive,and it grows well.
  Outside the Betula Utlilis is starting to develop its lovely white bark.It has been pruned to make it a smaller vase shape rather than a very tall thin tree.The branches are all covered in leaf buds ready for new growth.Last year its leaves got savaged by a black and green caterpillar that had a taste for exotic Himalayan leaves.The circular area around the tree needs weeding,and new compost adding to the soil so it can get its nutrients for strong growth.The tree growing is much slower than my flowering plants,but rewards patience with a beautiful tree with tactile bark and leaves.
 We now have had three Chaffinches in the garden feeding on the patio.I think they are quite handsome birds with their black/white/grey/olive coloured feathers.They feed between warring blackbirds and fly up to the near by conifers for safety before flying back down again.I think they feed elsewhere in the summer as I don't remember seeing them.
 The Starlings have started to come down to raid the fat balls,and to eat the Fat snack with insects in it on the bird table.They have lovely spotted feathers,sharp beaks,and walk really funny across the garden.The John Cleese of the bird world?
The last picture shows the old foe again.I have squirrel proofed the peanuts,but he has a taste for sunflower hearts,fat balls,and ordinary bird seed.They are like the Marmite of the wild,you either love them or hate them in your garden.They are just extraordinarily well adapted to seeking out food resources and exploiting them.I think tests show they remember 80% of where they bury food.They have cute faces,and little paws for holding food delicately.

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