With the help of a Genie lift and 3 strong men the logs were set in place (Wait! It would be better over there…No! The other way…Stop! Put it back where it was the first time…etc.) Now I had to decide what plants to put where. I want the logs to have some educational value as well as act as foil to the zillions of cloned orchids that are flooding the markets these days. My response to mass production. It is fine to be able to buy a nice 4" Phalaenopsis almost anywhere anytime, and some of the new hybrids are amazing. But I worry that our precious friends are losing their their joie de vivre, their history. So I decided to plant 3 logs with New World species and 3 with Old World species, limiting plant choices to higher elevation types that can enjoy cool, foggy air and get along without heat in the winter.
I have spent a lot of time pouring over species catalogs looking for orchids that can put up with temperature swings (Laelias), cold weather (Cyrtochilums), fog (Pleurothallids) and heat waves (Australian Dendrobiums). After all who needs to make a living ? Um…well, I do but never mind.
There are a number of different microclimates on the logs. I keep these in mind when I decide where to place plants. Pleurothallids in the shady area that is subject to a cool breeze that comes in around the corner. Laelias and Australian Dendrobiums in the hotter brighter places, Dend nobile and Onc leucochilum, plants that need a dry winter, in higher spots. I tie new plants on with fishing line, 30lb is my favorite, making them as secure as possible without damaging tender growths. A tight line goes around the older rhizomes and I protect the newer more tender ones with a pad of moss or coconut fiber before I tie. I don't use anything under the plants.
In general I use an automatic mister to mist the logs for 1-2 minutes a day when the days are long complimenting this with a heavier hand watering about every 2 weeks. Because these are actual logs and not slabs of bark the interior trunk life of the logs is quite amazing revealing itself in blooms of mushrooms at different times of the year, and the regular misting makes for lots of mosses. Over time the logs will rot from the inside out leaving a cork bark shell. We have to watch carefully since as it rots we need to add more support. I do occasionally take moss off an area where the orchid roots need to be a little drier. I fertilize with a commercial seaweed mix about twice a year but I do not really think it is necessary. There is plenty of strong growth and I don't want to damage the mosses or fungi.
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