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Terrarium

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We always have a terrarium. It had only Peperomia caperata and it was getting too full. Yesterday I decided to redo it and I put completely different plants: African Violet, Peperomia columella, Drimiopsis sp, tiny little fern and some moss. I transplanted the Peperomia caperata in an old shoe planter that my friend V gave me a while ago.

To grow small and pretty indoor tropical plants that need high humidity is very hard to achieve in colder areas like here in Melbourne. To solve the problem, it is a good idea to  grow them inside a glass container, or just simply cover the whole pot/plant with a clear glass bowl. If you have an unused fish tank,  it will be big enough to grow larger plants to suit the size of the tank.

Terrarium can be completely covered (sometimes with a little opening for ventilation) or an open one. Personally I like the fully covered one as I grow tropical plants in it. For growing little cacti or succulents, it has to be the open one to have dry air and to prevent condensation.

To learn how to make a Terrarium:

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3301070.htm

Damselfly in the Garden

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When I divided and repotted the yellow water lily, I had one extra. There was no more room for it in the fish tubs, so I kept it in a separate plastic tub in the back garden. This extra waterlily is also growing very well and flowering. I regularly check it  as I am worry about mosquitoes breed there.

This morning I had a very nice surprise! The damselflies breed in there instead. They must have fed on the mosquito larvae. I don’t really mind to have damselflies or dragonflies around our garden. They are completely harmless to the garden and help to keep other small insects in control.I can tell that those are damselflies. They are dainty and smaller compared to dragonflies. The eyes are well separated and sit on the side of the face, while dragonfly’s eyes are close together and look more like on the top of the face. The wing of damselflies are close together along side the body when they are resting, while dragonflies’ wings are open.

The images below show  stages of the last transformation. First picture was a damselfly nymph in the process of final moulting. The back had already started to split. Second picture was the damselfly right after coming out of the shell/ after shedding skin. Last picture was just minutes later after the wings had developed. When I was about to take the fourth picture a few minutes later, it was flying away…. too scared of the camera.

It was amazing to watch. They are very tiny. I wish I had a better camera to make sharper images!!

The Empty Shell left behind……

 

Further read about damselflies :

http://australianmuseum.net.au/image/Damselfly-life-cycle

http://photos.rnr.id.au/dragonflies.html

Crucifix Orchid – Epidendrum sp.

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Few years ago, a friend at work gave me cuttings of orchid plant. She did not know the name. She just said that it was very easy to grow in the garden and the flowers were red.

Only this year, the mystery orchid cuttings start to bear dark red flowers. The flowers are minute in size and grow in small clumps. Later on I identified it as Crucifix orchids as the lip of this tiny flower resembles a cross.

Crucifix orchids belong to Epidendrum sp. like for example E. radicans, cochleatum, secundum etc. They are native to Central America and South America and are usually associated with Easter, the time Jesus was crucified. This small orchid is very easy to grow in full sun position. The foliage kind of thick with white aerial roots hanging from the sprawling branches. Available in many colours from shades of yellow, pink to red.

2.14 PM:

I just finished making Elephant Ears aka. Kuping Gajah in Indonesian…. kind of thin fried biscuits with chocolate swirl pattern. I never made these before, and when I finished frying them, they did not taste as sweet as I thought they would be. Kind of bland….. what could I do? I coated them with sugar and vanilla. Now they taste crisp, sweet and beautiful to eat with a good cup of coffee.

Sugar Coated Elephant Ear Biscuits

Miltonia Orchids

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Went to Garden World yesterday and saw bare-rooted Miltonia orchids on sale, 3 for $ 15. I never grew Miltonia orchids before, but I was tempted by the beautiful flowers. I loved the spotty ones and they were not the kind that looked more like pansies. I don’t really like the ones that look like pansies very much, I like those that look more like orchids.

I quickly brought the three Miltonias home as I scared that the small roots were getting too dry already . At home, immediately I potted the orchids in small orchid mix and I added a little bit of chopped coco fibre. They look really dainty and nice. I keep them in the covered veranda in the back. After they were watered thoroughly, they look really fresh and happy. I have to search Google to learn about growing Miltonia orchids. I have read before that they are harder to grow compared with Cymbidiums.

February 5, 2012: Another Miltonia bud blooming:)

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