Stained potting bench

I built a potting bench this summer from supplies and directions given to me for Christmas last year.  I wanted to protect the wood from weathering and rot, so I bought some stain and sealer and got it on before the cold, wet weather set in.  I have been very interested in the stains with color pigments in them, so I decided to try it out on this project.

Potting bench after being stained green
Potting bench after being stained green

I really like the green pigment in this semi-transparent stain.  It allows the wood grains to show through, but the wood is protected and – it’s green!  What do you think?

Wood grains showing through the stain
Wood grains showing through the stain

New Calatheas

One of my favorite plant families is the “Prayer plants” from the botanical family Marantaceae.  These include the genera Calathea, Ctenanthe, Stromanthe, and Maranta.  I don’t have a lot of plants from this family, but I added two new Calatheas recently through plant trades.  I was able to share my Ctenanthes with two friends and they each shared a Calathea with me.  Plant trading is so much fun because the only money spent or exchanged is to pay for shipping and you get “free” plants in the mail.

Calathea concinna
Calathea concinna

The leaves of Calathea concinna are marked much like those of Ctenanthe burle-marxii, but there are some distinct differences.  Ctenanthe burle-marxii has rectangular leaves with a point at the end, while Calathea concinna has ovate leaves.

Calathea musaica
Calathea musaica

The foliage is of Calathea musaica is unlike any of my other Calatheas.  In fact, it is unlike any other Calathea in existence – quite unique!

Dendrobium in bloom

One of my unlabeled Dendrobiums is in bloom.  It has had buds for a long time and I kept thinking “any day.”  Finally it decided to open the first two of eight buds just a couple of days before we headed out of town.  I snapped a couple of pictures and I’m hoping it will be in full bloom when we return home.

Dendrobium plant
Dendrobium plant

Since I have been reading several orchid books lately, I am learning more of the lingo.  A Dendrobium is known as a sympodial orchid, because it blooms on the new growth stalks.  After it has finished blooming, it will send up a new stalk, which will bloom next year, if the plant has adequate energy.  You can see the other stems from previous years’ growth.  My plant shows the trend well since each successive stem is taller than the previous.  It might be hard to pick out in the picture above, but there are 5 stems in all, with the tallest one currently in bloom.

The other major type of orchid is monopodial, where all growth takes place on the same cluster.  A great example of this is the common “moth orchid” Phalaenopsis.  Occasionally a Phalaenopsis will produce offset plants, but generally it will just produce new leaves from the same rosette.

Dendrobium buds
Dendrobium buds

I can’t remember exactly where I got this orchid, but I think I bought it on a major discount because it had finished blooming.  Recently I purchased an orchid like this from Lowe’s Home Improvement store and the cashier was trying to talk me out of it, telling me that it would probably die.  Knowing orchids, I could tell the plant was perfectly healthy.  I wasn’t even going to have to nurse it back to health.  It had just finished blooming.  That was all…

Dendrobium bloom
Dendrobium bloom

As soon as Lowe’s gets a new shipment of blooming orchids, they will mark down all the older orchids that are finished blooming.  Assuming they haven’t been in the store for too long, they might still be in pretty good health.  I like to buy them at this point.  Few of these plants still have tags in them, so I have to bring them to bloom again before I know what color they will be.

Plant Find: Philodendron “Sucre’s Slim”

I found this interesting Philodendron on eBay a couple of weeks ago.  I am assuming that it is a hybrid, but I haven’t been able to find out much about the plant’s parentage yet.  It is called “Sucre’s Slim.”

Philodendron "Sucre's Slim"
Philodendron "Sucre's Slim"

As you can see the leaves are very slender and lanceolate.  What you may not be able to see is that the plant is also tiny.  That wood stake measures about 4 inches tall.

Philodendron "Sucre's Slim" leaf detail
Philodendron "Sucre's Slim" leaf detail

I really like the leaves of this Philodendron.  I’m excited to see how the plant looks as it matures.