Documents: Kidz Korner:

Hanging Baskets & Orchids

With what should she replace her old hanging baskets; and more concerns about orchids!
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale

email: art@artdrysdale.com

Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at http://www.artdrysdale.com


February 17, 2008

Orchids, orchids, orchids; can one ever have enough photos of orchids. Above is a typical smaller orchid show and what you’re missing if you do not attend one. This was the Mid-Island Orchid Society’s show in Nanaimo last year. Below just one shot I took at a Caribbean orchid farm a few years ago. Finally, at the bottom, a great example of a Paphiopedilum. This beautiful photo courtesy Peter M. C. Werner.

Marianne Hong of Emsdale, Ontario (just off Hwy. 11 north of Huntsville) wrote on January 30th with this interesting question: “My hanging baskets have broken down over the years and I'm looking to replace them. I've searched my gar-den catalogues as well as on-line sites but haven't found any in Canada. Would you have any idea or suggestions as to where I could buy new ones or at least get some replacement hangers? Thanks for any help you can give me.”

First Marianne, You’ll need to decide just what type of basket you wish to have. A decade or more ago, most baskets were 10” white or green plastic with either metal chains leading up to a hook, or a plastic hanger that did much the same thing. More recently there are metal frame baskets, as well as the slightly re-designed plastic ones. The metal ones are either galvanized, or black rust-resisting metal, with matching chains. In addition, there are special inserts of pre-formed Coir (coconut mulch) liners that hold the planting medium (soil or soilless mix) from washing through the metal or plastic. Some people like these, and others (such as me) think they tend to dry out faster with the pre-formed Coir liners than the polyethylene-lined ones we make up ourselves!

Since you may be somewhat ‘starved’ for garden supply dealers, I suggest you check with a catalogue company such as Lee Valley Tools headquartered in Ottawa (with retail stores in larger centres), or the Rittenhouse company headquartered in St. Catharines, Ontario. For Lee Valley, search hanging baskets at www.leevalley.com  and you will find they sell three 14” or three 18” baskets for a total of $25.50 or $36.50 respectively. Unfortunately I did not find any baskets when I searched the Rittenhouse site ( www.rittenhouse.ca ), but you could certainly call Mark Rittenhouse and he would advise you whether or not they have them.

If you use a number of these metal baskets, may I suggest you try at least one basket without the Coir coconut mulch liner, and use just plain poly, with several pencil-diameter holes punched in the poly. After a season you’ll know whether you like the coconut mulch liners or not. I love the Coir product, but I just don’t like the pre-formed liners.

As to plastic hanging baskets, one of the better lines is that made by Listo Products Ltd. in Surrey, B.C. ( www.listoproducts.com ). They make three lines of baskets (of varying design) which range in outside diameter from ten to 15”, and come in a range of colours. I think you would need to call their toll-free number (1-800-663-8660) to locate your nearest dealer. Their baskets come with plastic hangers and a hook.

Just last Saturday, Faye Bourgeois who lives within the vast AM740 broadcast area, and from whom I’ve had questions before, wrote again: “I wonder if you could advise me. Some of my orchids seem to be losing their flowers very quick-ly. It seems, a bloom comes out - and it's beautiful, then as soon as a second bloom comes out, the previous one folds up and dies. Is there anything I can do to make the blooms last longer. Hope to hear from you. You were most helpful the last time I contacted you.”

I note that she is not quite correct regarding the last time she contacted me because it came in just after we had departed for a two-week vacation in Hawai‘i! At that time she was asking: “My children want to add an orchid to my collection for Christmas. The only one I don't have would be a deep purple Phalaenopsis. Is there such an orchid and if so, do you have any idea where they could get it? I would appreciate hearing from you. Christmas is just around the corner. Thanks for your help.”

Somewhat belatedly my response would be as follows. First, I am absolutely certain there is a dark purple Phalaenopsis; and I do know there are also some nice Lady’s Slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum) which are predominantly deep purple. They are fairly easy to grow as well, and accept somewhat lower light conditions. It’s too bad you didn’t get to the SOOS Orchid Show last weekend at the Toronto Botanical Garden. However, there is another orchid show coming up at the Royal Botanical Gardens Centre in Burlington, March 8/9. I would suggest you try to take it in. Failing that, if you ever get to the north of Toronto, you might be interested in visiting Orchids in Our Tropics up Hwy. 404 to Gormley. Terry and Doug Kennedy who operate this business also expect to be at the Burlington show in early March.

Now to the question as to why some of your orchids seem to be losing their flowers quickly, I don’t think I am qualified to answer that, but certainly Doug or Terry would be. I suggest visiting at one of the venues mentioned, or giving them a call at 905-727-3319.

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