Interesting post. By the sounds of it, your greenhouse must be quite the
whopper. What are its dimensions?
Hazel Green, WI
At 03:17 AM 7/19/02 -0400, you wrote:
> Alot has happened since my last update.
>Over the course of the last couple months we made slow but steady
>progress with the soffit and facia around the back side of the structure
>and did a excavating out front and moved dirt to the rear building up
>the grade enough to make putting up the rain gutter much easier than it
>would have been otherwise.
>The gutter runs the whole length of the roof along the back side and is
>gently inclined to shunt water to a downspout at the east end. Only the
>downspout is not yet in place and I have a small tub that was
>origionally the end cut out of a plastic barrel (a future planter) to
>diffuse the stream of water coming down. What I need to do is get the
>motivation to purchase a big plastic cistern tank to catch and hold the
>rainwater - which is great stuff for watering orchids, bromeliads and
>Speaking of - the conservatory section of the interior has been
>transformed into a tropical garden. Blooming now are a couple orchid
>species - Nagelliana (formerly "Hartwegia") purpurea- a really neat
>miniature with deep red almost purple blooms, a dwarf ginger from
>Bolivia with flowers that look like a ruffled yellow saucer, plus a
>couple bromeliads- Neoregellia ampullacea has tiny light blue blooms in
>its little cup while Guzmania lingulata splendens are sending up their
>bright red spikes. Two more orchids - the not really beautiful but
>bizzare Mormolyca ringens and Oncidium carthagenensis are fading fast.
>The latter I am especially pleased because it turned out to be a nice
>colorful clone like the illustration in the Golden Guide to Orchids as
>opposed to the dingy flowered one I had before.
>Another bromeliad in bloom is Tillandsia mallemontii which hails from
>Brazil and looks just like the "Ball Moss" that grows on trees and even
>telephone lines in Florida - but instead of pale chartruse green flowers
>it has pale blue! Have several clumps hanging in a six foot Carolina Ash
>that sits bare root in the greenhouse pond. Plus a few other epiphytes.
>Have alot of foliage plants as well- two forms of the Prayer Plant,
>Calatheas - musaica, rotundifolia and that plain green leaved unknown
>plus a couple seedings of the "peacock" plant - which I cannot recall
>the botanical name just arrived today with an order from Glasshouse
>Works. Also quite a few others- Sellaginella (tropical club mosses).
>various ferns , Pepperomias, and a genus of terrestrial bromeliads
>called Earthstars. Of them I have a couple forms of Cryptanthus
>bivitatus- the green and red striped species including three really huge
>ones from Lowes that may be marginatus - aka bivitatus major- and today
>I just added the plain green leaved species acaulis and another
>bivitatus clone called "Chocolate Soldier" and I set four really nice
>tall Billbergia nutans among the earthstars and Calathea plants.
>The ground cover in the growing area is either cypress mulch with a
>little coconut husk chips or "Tropical Ground Moss"that I've been
>getting from a supplier in Florida- nice stuff for the greenhouse and
>terrariums. It looks something like the native cushion moss and is
>probably in the same genus but more tollerant of warm growing
>Perhaps one of my most spectacular plants is the Anthurium
>berriozabalense - a Mexican species with huge heart shaped leaves that I
>took a fancy to when I first encountered it at the US Botanical Garden
>in Washington DC years ago. I recieved mine from a grower in eastern
>Pennsylvania who sent me this huge plant with all the soil washed off
>and the roots packed in spahgnum moss. Surprisingly it recovered rather
>quickly and threw up several more dinner plate sized leaves!
>Anthuriums are a favorite group of plants. I also have three A. hookeri
>which get hughe ribbed leaves and grow about 3 feet high. A.
>clarinervium which has dark green heart shaped leaves with bold white
>veins. A. Sherizerianum the pretty red flowered species from Costa Rica
>that is still to young to bloom and A. scandens - a creeper that bears
>pearly white berries. I'm really regretful to have lost Anthurium bakeri
>- an epiphytic species with strap like leaves and red berries that comes
>from Central America. Want it really bad but can't find it anywhere!
>Anthuriums are tropical aroids (arums) that range from Mexico to
>Argentina and the West Indies. Other aroids in the greenhouse are
>Syngonuims (arrowhead vines) Philodendrons and a couple Monstera
>species. Really don't have time and space to get into all the different
>plants that have accumulated over the last few months - some day I will
>have to publish a list of everything!
>I also have palms- a huge potted Bamboo Palm- Chameadorea sp. plus two
>pots of the the closely related Parlor Palm - C. elegans that are
>currently in quarantine for a slight touch of mealy bugs. And a single
>potted seedling Dwarf Palmetto - Sabal minor - sole survivor of three
>that were supposed to be hardy here (So much for the McCurtain Arkansas
>strain!) A few days ago I discovered that I also have a bumper crop of
>seedlings from the same species germinating from seed I collected near
>Maple Hill NC last Fall.!
>The animal life is far less numerous, but slowly on the increase. The
>greenhouse pond supports two species of fish- Starhead Topminnows -
>Fundulus escambiae and a school of Coastal Shiners - Notropis petersoni.
>The latter were the result of mistaken identity- they guy who sent them
>to me thought they were Taillight Shiners - the elusive Notropis
>maculatus that Mike and I hunted all over Florida for back in the 90s!
>Until they do turn up - I am going to settle for the nicely colored
>Sailfin Shiner- Pteranotropis hypsolepterus (probably the wrong
>spelling)- but these actually may be better suited to life in a small
>pool than Taillights. And they're damned pretty too. Why we passed them
>over on our travels to Florida I cannot understand now.
>Hope to add more fish species to the pond that I dubbed "Bromeliad
>Springs" - sort of reminiscent of the various springs in Florida -
>especially something that eats algae- perhaps flag fishes or mollies.
>I'm getting a good bit of string algae in there- possibly because the
>accumulation of nutrients in a closed water system- from fish wastes and
>maybe a little runoff of fertilizer from the plants. I've been pulling
>it out and composting it- also feeding some to my turtles and a brood of
>tadpoles from my Marsupial Frogs.
>Back in April I built a good sized run for my group of Mexican Wood
>Turtles - Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima rogerbarbori bought from PetsMart
>last Fall. That was a real deal considering how hard Mexican herps are
>to come by these days. If only I could be so lucky to come across a
>group of the Guerro subspecies - R. p. pulcherrima - which I
>affectionately dubbed "P-Squares". They are similar to rogerbarbori but
>with bold red dots on the pleural scutes that make them look absolutely
>Also currently residing within are my two female Striped Muds -
>Kinosteron baueri and a young Spotted Turtle - Clemmys guttata. And
>today the order from Glades arrived - 5 Southern Toads - Bufo terrestris
>and a couple of Gulf Coast Toads - B. valliceps. I was supposed to get 5
>of the latter but Glades ran out and had to substitute. Actually the
>Southerns are alot prettier and cuter. They are also polymorphic- come
>in different color phases - browns , pale ones with darker warts and
>reddish ones. Was offered Texas Toads - which I hear are somewhat
>interesting but I passed on them infavor of the Southerns which I am
>somewhat familair with. Regardless of species, toads are great bug
>fighters which is the reason I decided to import a species indigenous to
>subtropical climes for the greenhouse. Will probably have to supplement
>them with crickets and mealworms when the bugs are less abundant.
>Hopefully they will keep the pillbugs, earwigs (yuck) and slug
>In the future I plan on adding some surplus offspring from my Andean
>Marsupial Frogs- Gastrotheca riobambae , as well as a few other
>amphibian species and some small lizards - Green Anoles, geckos and
>maybe skinks that can patrol the higher levels. An enclosed space with a
>subtropical microclimate and free roving herps is something I've dreamed
>of having for years and now it's finally come to pass!
>Plus I'm looking forward to being able to pick cool weather crops like
>lettuce and tomatoes come winter.
>Oh by the way I've got some nice Rutgars that I planted in March coming
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