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Hi everyone! I'm building an orchid house with much help from my Dad (I live with my parents). I thought it might be fun for you to see it take shape. So here goes...here's the initial load of materials from Home Depot!
I'm looking forward to it too! I would love to have a full greenhouse, but have no room. I have built a lean-to type structure with removable roof and walls to accomodate my climate, and so has Laurel. Always fun to see what others will do for the 'chids. They are all on going projects to some degree.
Jim, my Dad does indeed have a lot of wood that could be used as orchid mounts. Are there certain types of wood that are more favorable? I love bromeliads too, and I know driftwood is often used but I haven't looked at enough orchids to see what they're mounted on. I'm trying to think what that Encyclia tampensis I saw in the wild was growing on...locust, maybe?
Dad overdid it yesterday and is now resting in his recliner after taking painkillers. I think step two will be putting in the posts. We bought a post hole digger since we'll have to replace our fence soon, too. (We live at the front of the street that has a cul-de-sac on the other end so our fence is like the entrance to our little neighborhood.) The orchid house will be 8x8 and about 6.5 feet tall. I'm still trying to decide what kind of shelves I want and how I want them set up. One of my orchid society members posted pics of her orchid house on our club's website so I showed Dad. I thought he'd get a better idea of what I see in my head. He was also with me when we went to St. Pete Orchid Farm so he saw how they were set up, as well.
A couple of my friends used old picture frames, and stapled in hardware cloth (square steel mesh) for the shelf part, then just set them up on cinder blocks. I'm sure your Dad will build you something much nicer than picture frames and cinder block for legs, but remember the flat part of the shelf that your pots sit on should be something ventilated.
Orchid growers have big tables that are frames with steel mesh nailed in, both for drainage and air circulation. My local grower is selling off all his tables on Craig's List if you're interested. Search "orchids" on the Sarasota-Bradenton list.
All those tarps are covering his wood piles, by the way. He has enough wood to turn for the rest of his life. Or for me to mount orchids on! More measuring was done with one of the post holes being a little off. So Dad redug it and we got ourselves squared up. Then, he nailed in the bottom of the frame.
Finally, we put the top of the frame on. I helped with this part. Mostly by holding one end while Dad nailed the other. Then, I would run out of the way in case one of the ends fell (this happened the first few times). Something about the nails not being long enough and then Dad "toe-nailed" them which apparently means diagonally into the wood instead of straight. My grandfather was a carpenter and I imagine he's shaking his head at me in heaven right now.
Finally, day one was complete. We finished the basic frame of the house. Next up is adding rafters, bracing on each side, and attaching the lattice. Then, we have enough screen to cover everything. I also bought that weed block stuff for the floor although there isn't much grass or weeds right in that area. I'm still thinking about shelving and how I want to set up the inside although I have a pretty good idea.
And I moved the hanging orchids I have into the house. Dad said he can run some pipe or put hooks in the rafters so I can hang them higher but for now I wanted them out of the trees and away from the squirrels. Next steps are getting shelves put in and making a screen door.
If the squirrels are really determined they could still get in, but I figure they'll take the easier road. We only have thousands of acorns from all the oak trees in the yard; you think they could stick to those.
Melanie, it looks terrific. I'll bet by the time you've finished collecting orchids, you will have a Shade Palace, not just a shady shack.
I think your lattice and screening will very likely discourage the squirrels. I keep many of my orchids inside our pool cage, which is just screening. Have not had a single squirrel make an entrance. It could have something to do with the cat as well, though! We have lots of acorns, too. Not to mention the bird seed from my two bird feeders, about half of which feeds a host of fat squirrels.
That being said, I am out of town this week so all the orchids are outside under the oak trees where they will get misted regularly. Most are down near the ground so it will be interesting to see if the cat can protect them from the squirrels there.
Well, my neighbor's cat wanders through our yard quite frequently. Maybe I should stop scaring it off, LOL! We also have a red-shouldered hawk that I wish I could train to swoop down and attack. We did make it so the orchid house could be expanded in the future. There's still quite a bit of room on the back before you hit my neighbor's property line!
Hi, Bree. Have you been hiding again? We miss you. I think Melanie has lots of big oak trees shading the area. As for me, I'm putting Aluminet over the greenhouse part of the OC. It goes up on Saturday.
Yeah, I have a giant oak tree covering the shade shack. It gets light from the east and south side until about 1pm and then the house and other trees get in the way. Dad investigated while he was outside doing some woodturning.
oh ok, im just use to my full sun all day yard. hehe!
Ive been checking out all your orchids but have none flowering myself so havent been posting. You orchid house sounds and looks great Jim. Ready for some more orchids now. ha!
Good thing as I just spoke with Bill Thoms (orchid guru who wrote the book on Bulbos) and he is bringing a prize winning Bulbo bicolor to Tuesday's Tampa Orchid Club meeting for me. I'm excited about seeing the Aluminet go up tomorrow.
Thanks everyone! Supplies for the door have been purchased, but we haven't put it up yet. Too much else going on. For some reason, the squirrels don't tend to hang out in that part of the yard, but I want a door just in case they get any ideas.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the building of the new "chid Chack". What do you do in the winter?
I collect bromeliads, but woul love to know how to grow orchids. What are the orchid that have very long roots and not in pots called. Those are very interesting to me.
The ones with the long roots are vanda orchids; they're some of my faves. In the winter I bring everyone in the garage or cover them with blankets - that includes my bromeliads, too. Although, over the years I've learned which ones can take the cold and which ones will die if uncovered. Gardening is always trial and error for me. : )
The house has a door! It still needs to be screened in and a handle added, but at least I have a door now! I also had a surprise visitor - a Gulf Fritillary chrysalis! That caterpillar had to have wandered 30-40 yards to get from its host plant all the way over to the orchid house. At least it picked a nice, safe spot!
Yay, Melanie! Get out there with the staple gun and screening, girlfriend.
All you need is one fragrant orchid to put out a bloom, and the squirrels will find out where you hid all those delicious plants. I have cattleyas that smell just like spice cookies, and the raccoons come into my pool cage after them if I leave them outside! (the cat has a door through the screening, perfect for raccoons to sneak in)