Back to Back Issues Page
Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #334 - This magnificent Oncidium was worth waiting for.
December 13, 2018

Stepping out the front door all winter I will be greeted by these lovely tall plumes and that may be the best part of the winter garden. Zebra grass Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ is a great perennial that dominates its part of the garden most of the year but for me, it shows it real strength in the winter when most things are dying down while it continues to stand there about 2 m tall with its magnificent seed heads. Some days they catch the sun and light up beautifully and some days they are covered with captured snow flakes adding another dimension to the picture. When I looked out the back window yesterday I was surprised to see a flock of birds drinking at the open bit of water in the pond. The presence of birds wasn’t surprising but the fact that they were Robins on the 12th of December was. I thought they would all have left for the south long ago. The garden is always there to surprise me.

This is why the final edition of “Dallying” for 2018 is a bit late. I have been waiting for this miniature Oncidium to fully bloom. It has been in bud for a couple of weeks and it is such a delight I wanted to share it with you. Here it is in full bloom and I hope it will stay that way for a few weeks although it is not as long lasting as some of the other Orchids. I transplanted it to a bigger pot this summer and like all of the other Orchids it went to summer camp, out under the Walnut tree. If it wasn’t so gorgeous I might consider composting it, as it is a constant battle to keep the scale from overtaking it. The narrow folded leaves provide lots of hiding spots for them and I get out my cotton swabs and alcohol on a regular basis.

It’s a wintery day with little to keep me really active so I got out the macro lens and tripod to show you what those miniature orchid blooms really look like. They are an amazingly complex flower for such a tiny specimen. All of the usual Orchid features are there but the whole thing is only about 1.5 cm long and yet there are several colours in each tiny bloom. It’s always worth the time to slow down and look carefully to see all of delights that Mother Nature has in store for us.

There is a chore in the basement that I seem to keep putting off, maybe because it’s not the most pleasant or immediately rewarding one. These Dahlia tubers came in from the garden with a lot of wet soil sticking to them. They now appear to be quite dry and I need to clean them up. Removing as much soil as possible and cutting out any damaged tubers will make them survive their winter storage in better condition. That’s the long term reward. They will survive their storage and produce healthy plants next spring if I get myself down there and clean them up. As soon as I publish “Dallying” I will be out of excuses and must descend to the basement.

I enjoyed my opportunity to don this suit and attend the local village Christmas party. The joy and excitement in the eyes of the children as they climb onto Santa’s knee and whisper their wants into his ear is a great reward for the bit of time and effort involved. I did have to be a bit creative in my answer to one young boy when he asked when I was leaving because he wanted to come with me to see the reindeer.

Anyway, that’s it for this year. “Dallying” will return sometime in January when I’ve had a bit of a holiday, played with as many grandchildren as possible and spent a few days down south at T.P.I.E. that’s the large trade show known as the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition. Upon my return I will be able to tell you what are the great new plants and trends in houseplants and in tropicals for our summer containers. Until then, thanks you all for being loyal readers and may you have a joyous Christmas and a wonderful start to 2019.
Back to Back Issues Page