Category Archives: Indoor plants

Experiment Win!

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Orchid pot v2.0 had some slight problems, but I am sure the next one will be easier still.

After talking about my first attempt in the comments of the last post, I came up with a few new ideas.

Just assume I fixed the five problems I found the first time; now we have new complications!

I found a new outer pot to work with my already-perfectly-sized inner pot. It is a fully glazed, smooth, no-hole-in-the-bottom useless as fuck decorative pot. I love the colour, but I never use pots with no drainage holes; they are the best way to kill any plant.

I made my concrete in measured batches. Two small ones with the same measure of water to mix. I did have to make a third batch as I was still underestimating how much I needed, but this time the mix in all three were actually measured and not eyeballed.

I taped up my corks (shaved down, a full size cork would let all the growing medium run right out the holes). I hot glued them to the tape on my perfect size interior pot, so it can be used again.

Those corks need to be smaller still!

Here we go! I think I forgot to mention I used veggie oil last time to make pot separation easier. I used a lot more this time, as I didn’t want to destroy that lovely useless pot. I know, I know: I hoard. But this is why! I found a use for a useless thing! It takes me being unable to go to work and to be bored to finally use my useless crap.

You can see the oil at the surface here, and the concrete is still wet. A worry. The next day it was so bad I dipped a paper towel in it to soak up the excess oil.

Weighed down. I brought it inside later, before it got chilly out.

Inside pot pulled out with help of pliers. There was a very thin sheen of ‘crete at the bottom, but it easily chipped off. The inside pot, between the corks pulled up most of the bottom. Not all the way, and no cracking at the bottom. I did it perhaps a bit too soon. Or maybe the corks were too big as I already said. In any case the bottom is thin.

Next problem was how to get the concrete out of the lavender pot. I’ve already given a spoiler with the two pictures above that proves I did it. How? I ran the sink full of hot water and let it soak. I made sure not to get the ‘crete wet, and after 10 minutes I turned it upside down, gave it a couple of thumps with my hand and heard a welcome clunk when it fell out. Whew! Thermodynamics, baby!

Pretty damn clean in there! Yay! The little bits left washed out easily.

My timeline is all screwy now, sorry!

I used these to make the holes in the sides. A very dull scalpel (an X-Acto blade would also work, in the same rounded shape) to start the hole. A not-too-pointy pocket knife that we don’t care about to do most of the hole drilling. I did have to sharpen it five times. Lastly a crappy battery powered drill that had no charge and likely had the wrong drill bit on it.

I made a bunch o holes! When it was working well, it took me about 5 minutes per hole.

Overexposed. But by now the cats were waking up from their 3-hour nap and wanted to see what I was doing.

Not too shabby!

Immediately planted up one of my unhappy orchids. Lots of root rot and suffocating moss in the original plastic pot. I even poked some of the roots out of the holes for stability. Let’s hope they like their new homes.

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Experiment Fail!

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I had the great idea to make homemade orchid pots. Using concrete, after researching to see if the lime content would be harmful, of course. Here is my journey into failure!

I chose two plastic plant pots that looked like they fit together enough to make a concrete pot between them.

I taped up the holes on both – inside pot on the outside, outside pot on the inside.

I sliced up wine corks as spacers for air-holes.

I glued the corks inside of the outer pot. This didn’t go well, as I didn’t have proper glue. Later on I found my hot glue gun and that made a big difference. I also forgot to wrap tape around the corks like the tutorial said I should. Mistakes one and two!

Messy! I underestimated how much concrete to mix, so here there are two batches of concrete, both with a different water to concrete ratio, because I did it both times by look and texture only. Mistake three!

I weighed down the inside pot and put it outside to cure. Mistake four. It went below freezing that night.

I had to cut off the outside pot.

Then I wracked my brain trying to figure out how to get the inside pot out without cutting it up. It was the only one I had that was suitable, I thought, to be an inside pot for another attempt.

My bad glue choice spread everywhere, making it harder to get the cork plugs out. You can also see the frost patterns.

Finally, I dug out the inner pot and the corks. It broke. A lot. The top edge was very fragile, and the two different mixes of concrete did not become best friends.

I used my newly re-found hot glue gun to stick it back together, which also went very badly. The gaps in the cracks are huge now! I’m sure an orchid wouldn’t mind, more air circulation is always good. But it is kind of ugly. I will try again!

March Flairs

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I do have some flowers!

Our snowdrops have been blooming since January. I’m very pleased with how just a few bulbs planted years ago keep spreading. We had -4C temps recently, and I was sad to see all the ‘drops were flat on the ground. Tough little plants, they perked back up in two days and a week later still look this good!

The daffodils and narcissus did the same flattening and same perking up, but they aren’t blooming yet.

My crocus. Eventually I plan to have that whole awkward patch of grass filled with them. I’m a little worried about how much moss is in there, though! Any tips on removing or killing moss without killing bulbs?

My gerbera daisies. I keep them indoors, but they were in four shallow pots and several years old. I repurposed a tall container, put holes in the bottom and some rocks for drainage, and used an identical container as a water dish. They now take up less windowsill room and have so much more space to grow. Four plants turned out to be nine, as well – they couldn’t be separated since they were so root bound. I know I did the right thing as I have so many blooms coming up! One seems to grow at least a centimetre a day.

Some Orchids

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I’ve managed to get my oldest and tiniest orchid to bloom again this year. It cost me €.50 and came in a nice purple votive candleholder. I figured that even if it died, I’d have a candleholder.

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The blooms are about thumbnail sized! Very damn hard to photograph.

I’ve got two others still in bloom, and more spikes up and coming.

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Looks more yellow when the blooms are fresh. Also dammed hard to photograph.

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Likely my favourite. It’s been around a couple of years but I got it going this year!

Hope you enjoyed and sorry for the lack of detail about them. I’m struggling to do fun things lately!

“Stapelia gigantea, its smell is terrible”

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And it is.

My carrion flower has bloomed again, this time with some hilarious results.


Monday. About to pop open, but no seams visible. I did warn Himself…


But as usual, he didn’t hear me, somehow. Can’t imagine why not, we’ve only been married 12 years… 

This is his version of the same bloom, with quote: “Went to shut the blinds & was greeted by this! Yes, I shrieked, it wasn’t open this morning! It’s our carrion plant. Smells like death! Yes, really! (You have to put your nose into it, else there’s no scent at all thankfully) HDR photo for scariness ;)”

I don’t really see the ‘scary’ difference, except he turned our white windowsill purple! But I do find it hilarious that it might have something to do with the fact that I’ve been feeding him Stephen King and he actually did make an unmanly sound when he saw it last night. 

For size comparison, the plate that the plant sits on is a side plate; it is not a dinner plate. Maybe what, about 8-10 inches across? I’m not getting close enough to measure the bloom! I’m a super-smeller and to me it smells like bad meaty cat breath. Urgh. Pretty, and pretty strange, however! 

Bloomin’ Wonderful

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Himself bought me a bunch of hyacinth bulbs. I love to have them inside, as I adore their fragrance. Can’t do that, with kitten-features about the place. I was rushed to get them into the ground, so I stuck them wherever I could. I’m well pleased!


First one to show her face. I found her fallen over and staked her up, to no avail. Broken off at the stalk, this one is now fragancing my living room. If you look closely, there is another flower head coming up on the right, so all is not lost!


I’m feeling a bit sorry I didn’t put them in sunshiney places. This, and the next one, never see direct sun.


So lovely, aren’t they? And the scent is incredible. Hope I get some bees having a sip.


My new peony has survived! Not being sure how old she is, I don’t expect flowers this year. I could be surprised! It’s the first one I’ve ever grown.


Indoors, my gerbera daisy plants are soooo happy. As am I, to see these beauties every day.



Scottie – these are the ones I reccomend to bring some light and colour of life into your home. They are rather expensive to buy, for a plant, but if you grow from seed like I did, they are never ending beauty. 

I was Hornswaggled

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Cheated, hoodwinked, swindled, bilked, scammed, duped, schnockered, suckered.

I knew it was too good to be true. I knew deep in the part of my brain that wasn’t grinning with joy like the Cheshire Cat that had just tripped the Queen.

But it was so pretty! Hubby said when he saw the smile on my face as I gently hugged it close, he knew we would be buying it. At full price. Well, almost full price – he gets 10% off at this particular shop.

What got me, you ask?


A blue orchid. 

Sigh.

Blue orchids don’t exist. Don’t get me wrong, this is a real, living orchid, and it is blue.


Nonetheless, it is a fake. The poor thing has cleverly been dyed blue. When it is done blooming, and blooms again, it will be a plain old white phalaenopsis or moth orchid.

Dammit.

The woman running the till also was in love with it, and hoped there was still one left the next day so she could get one, too. I definitely said, “I know, it’s so amazing, isn’t it? Almost looks like it was dyed!” 

Yeah. Because it is dyed! Oh well. 

Let my error be a warning to you. At least it is healthy and will be loved.

Orchids

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I’m sure you aren’t surprised to learn that I have orchids. Four, at the moment. All bought on super-sale. My oldest one was bought in 2009 for just fifty euro cents. It’s a tiny one (or was) and was ‘potted’ in a glass tea light! That one hasn’t bloomed in a couple of years now, but it is happy and healthy.

My next oldest one sent up a flower spike last year, and like a dammed idiot I tried to train it up straight and snapped it right off. I cried. It is trying again right now, and I am being SO GENTLE this time. But it does have to go up, not sideways! Both of these live on my kitchen window sill, over the sink, so they get lots of attention.

This year hubby got me two new ones. They have been in bloom for months, but the yellow one is starting to fade. Last night I gave all four a good soak in warm water with a bit of fertiliser in it, and while they were in the sink, I finally took some pictures.

Orchids are very, very hard to photograph up close! Especially when using an iPhone. So apologies for bad focus, and my junky kitchen (yes the walls are lavender, I love it).

Yellow one!


You can see the sad dying flowers in these. Bummer. I really should have taken pictures sooner. Moving it from the front window to the bathroom shocked it too much. But I had to, because…kitten. The bathroom is a much safer place for plants, away from the little monster.


The purple and white one. It’s been in the bathroom since it came home, so it is happy there. I need to repot both of these as they are in ugly clear plastic pots. Also, as they both were mistreated, the potting medium is full of moss and dead roots and in general, smells bad. Musty. Can’t be good for them! I made my own orchid pots before, at a ceramics shop. Got a square bit of greenware and cut round holes all over, for aeration. The roots grow out the holes and all over the place! Next time I’ll share pictures of the older two. 

Stapelia gigantea, or Carrion Flower

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I’ve had this plant a long time. I first got it in 1998 or so. I couldn’t bring it with me to Ireland, but I did take a cutting and brought it in sans soil. Lucky for me, it survived a month in the container in a jar of water and damp paper towel. Probably still illegal, but at least I didn’t bring any bugs or weird microbes in to the country. It’s a house plant, here, but is native to South Africa – as it seems a lot of my favourite plants are!

Oddly enough, after 11 years, this thing finally decided to bloom. Not that long ago, I gave it a good soaking, and a wash (the leaves are furry and collect a lot of cat hair), and I guess that finally sparked it into flowering. I won’t read anything into a corpse flower blooming the week my Spotty cat died.

First I noticed was that there was a huge balloon sticking out the side.


Stormtrooper mini-fig for size. We all know how big they are, right?

Then it opened.


Weird as hell, right? And it does, indeed, stink of death. Not that bad, really, unless you stick your face right in it. The scent and hairs are to mimic a dead animal, as this is a fly-pollinated plant. The texture of the bloom is very much like leather, too. This one started to shrivel today, so I cut it off. But there are several more coming, so I am taking better care of it than I usually do. It got another good soaking today.

If you want to learn more about this unique plant.