The Orchid Thief

I’ve been using an orchid as litmus.

It may not be the best method; and definitely not the most scientific, but this is just for leisure! I’ve planted a lot of Phalaenopsis schilleriana orchids and these continue to give me an indication of the climate in my weekend farm.

Firstly, these plants need to receive enough moisture to survive. For now, I can only visit the farm during my free weekends which means that I’m incapable of watering my plants regularly. Also, I can’t afford a caretaker to live at my plot; hence I’m at the mercy of nature for now. So far, the orchids I have planted have grown roots and a lot of them are actually blooming! Apart from those, I planted fruit trees like cacao and mangosteen and these are growing without watering.

More than that, these orchids gave me an indication of what other crops I can plant. Phalaenopsis schilleriana plants will only bloom in cooler weather. This means that I can try to grow cooler weather crops (at least relative to my location here in the tropics) like more exotic/non-local fruits and vegetables.

These plants have been in my plot for months, and a few plants have just been in flower recently. Apparently, it has caught the attention of a few people who may have chanced upon my area. During my last visit I found that two plants which were in flower have been plucked from the branches. I wasn’t surprised that this happened; but now I realize that my area is too open and some people might think it’s alright to pluck a few plants for them to take.

And so this plant is telling me to do something about it.

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the first plant that was plucked by a stranger… see how the roots got severed and the twine was still there

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during my last visit, this was the photo of the plant which existed on the branch, but now it’s gone, taken home by someone

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Plant number 2 gone… this time the roots were almost cleanly taken out (notice the white stuff on the upper left portion on the right bump on the branch – those are the remains of the attached roots which were plucked)

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This plant is still at the branch and will be in full bloom soon, I’m glad it wasn’t taken by the person who got the other plants

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close-up shot of the flowers

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another plant in bloom

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this Vanda lamellata var remediosae was almost plucked from this coffee tree. I guess the person felt bad that he might be getting too much already :))

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Some newer Phalaenopsis schilleriana plants which I attached to a coffee tree a few weeks ago. These are now showing signs that they’re about to flower

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This Phalaenopsis aphrodite is also about to bloom

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Phalaenopsis amabilis from Palawan also about to flower

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This Phalaenopsis lindenii thrives at a higher elevation, but it is also about to send out flowers

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A newly planted Phalaenopsis stuartiana

It’s interesting that someone has found plants growing on my weekend farm attractive!

I just continue to hope they’ll admire it and not take plants from my weekend farm. Still, I should work on that nice looking bamboo fence already :))

 

 

The first Phalaenopsis plants

I’ve planted several local species of Phalaenopsis.

These are the first ones to flower at my weekend farm.

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Phalaenopsis schilleriana: the common tiger orchid. I planted a lot of these; by next year they will make some trees look like cherry blossoms!

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Phalaenopsis equestris from Quezon – it’s a very small plant, its flower is just a little larger than a pencil eraser. It’s fun to do macro shots with these small things.

 

The other tiger orchid, Phalaenopsis stuartiana

In Southern Luzon, tiger orchids are very popular. Its scientific name is Phalaenopsis schilleriana. These orchids captivated  me as kid. It had leathery leaves that reminded me of elephant ears and its leaves were stripped  with silver and purple. These never flower in the lowlands since they need cooler temperature to bloom, but a lot of people still keep them anyway.

I was fascinated growing them since its leaves and roots looked wild.

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a Phalaenopsis schilleriana, the common tiger orchid growing on my weekend farm. These plants will produce flowers soon!

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flower of the Phalaenopsis schilleriana, taken a few years ago. The plant, which I bought already with flowers, lived for a bit in the city, but it died a few months later.

This tiger orchid, Phalaenopsis schilleriana, is definitely more common. It produces pink flowers that sometimes smell like cotton candy. I’ve planted a lot of these in the coffee trees and I want to plant more because the coffee trees will look like cherry blossoms when these are in bloom.

The other tiger orchid is the less common Phalaenopsis stuartiana.

I saw a few plants of Phalaenopsis stuartiana at the sunday market a few weekends ago, so I bought two plants.

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this Phalaenopsis stuartiana plant is less common. It stayed in the city for a bit before I planted it in the farm

Instead of pink flowers the Phalaenopsis stuartiana has white flowers. When not in bloom, it’s close to impossible to distinguish it from the more common tiger orchid (Phalaenopsis schilleriana)… but I noticed that this plant might have rounder and greener leaves.

Last week during my weekend farm visit, I planted the two Phalaenopsis stuartiana plants on their coffee trees.

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The first Phalaenopsis stuartiana plant was planted in the middle of two Phalaenopsis schilleriana plants. It’s flower is spent and its leaves yellowed.

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the second Phalaenopsis stuartiana also had 2 flowers when it was bought.

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When I planted it on the weekend farm, it already lost its flowers. It was planted on a different coffee tree.

 

 

What’s growing on the coffee trees?

During the last visit, I checked on the plants that I attached on the coffee trees.

Weeks prior this visit, I planted more than thirty seedlings of Vanda sanderiana, also known as Waling-waling which Joy gave to me. I checked them and they all seemed to be doing fine; there was no sign of dehydration, but no sign of new roots and leaves yet. The leaves turned into a reddish color, perhaps this was caused by the strong light and the cool weather.

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notice the reddish brownish hue on the leaves

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another waling-waling seedling which looks more red

 

Weeks prior planting the Waling-waling seedlings, I attached some Phalaenopsis schilleriana plants. All of them grew thick roots attaching themselves to the branches. Most of them are developing spikes which will show flowers soon! Since plants are not yet well established, it’s very possible that they won’t produce a lot of flowers. I want to plant more of these, so next year the coffee trees will look like cherry blossom trees.

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notice the thick roots on the branch, the roots look like slugs

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around 10 of these plants will be flowering soon

Apart from checking the things I planted, I added a few more species!

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These are Bulbophyllum lobbii from Palawan, these shrunk in QC so I transferred them here

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This is an Aerides quinquevulnera var. purpurata from Mindoro

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This is a Phalaenopsis amabilis from Palawan

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These are Phalaenopsis aphrodite from Quezon (two plants have redder leaves while the 2 have green leaves) Those plants growing in baskets are Phalaenopsis bellina from Malaysia

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This is a coffee tree filled with Dendrobium anosmum