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Orchids: Melanie Builds an Orchid House

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 8, 2012
11:53 AM

Post #9115910

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!

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 8, 2012
11:55 AM

Post #9115914

Here's the space where we'll put it, but we have to move some stuff first. Dad already moved my raised beds over to the butterfly garden area.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 8, 2012
11:56 AM

Post #9115918

The bromeliads have to move - they're pretty mobile though.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 8, 2012
11:58 AM

Post #9115920

Dad's a woodturner and has collected a lot of wood. It has to move, as well.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 8, 2012
11:59 AM

Post #9115922

The area is cleaned out and ready for building to begin.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 8, 2012
12:00 PM

Post #9115925

The orchids patiently await the day they can hang in the orchid house instead of the trees!

That's it for now. I'll keep you updated as building commences.

Melanie

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hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 8, 2012
6:16 PM

Post #9116377

This is going to be fun. I am really looking forward to this thread. I just converted my screened lanai into what I call the orchid conservatory (OC). here is a link to the thread I did: http://allthingsplants.com/thread/view/1003/My-Lanai-Conversion/

I read my dad is a wood turner but I thought I read great orchid mounts. I get confused easily. :>)

Jim
OCCAROL
Santa Ana, CA
(Zone 10b)

May 8, 2012
6:40 PM

Post #9116436

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.

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 9, 2012
1:39 PM

Post #9117504

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.

Melanie
hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 9, 2012
3:44 PM

Post #9117658

I found some nice four tier shelves at Sam's Club. I also built shelves using step runners from HD. You should come over and look at the OC for some ideas.

Jim

dyzzypyxxy

dyzzypyxxy
Sarasota, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 10, 2012
8:52 AM

Post #9118500

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.

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 11, 2012
12:17 PM

Post #9119990

Thanks for the input everyone. Jim, I'd love to come see your OC.

Today, work continued, or began as it were. Dad began by using our new post hole digger to make four holes.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 11, 2012
12:18 PM

Post #9119991

We did a lot of measuring before we dug. Once the holes were made Dad set the posts in.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 11, 2012
12:21 PM

Post #9119992

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.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 11, 2012
12:22 PM

Post #9119993

Here's the posts with the bottom of the frame on.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 11, 2012
12:26 PM

Post #9119996

Dad mixed up some insecticide and poured it down each post hole. He said this is important so ants and termites don't eat through it.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 11, 2012
12:30 PM

Post #9119997

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.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 11, 2012
12:33 PM

Post #9119999

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.

Melanie

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 12, 2012
1:14 PM

Post #9121135

Back to the Home Depot today for some more 2x4s and some other things. Like these metal bracing things that Dad said would help.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 12, 2012
1:14 PM

Post #9121136

Dad putting up the rafters...more things to hang orchids from!

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 12, 2012
1:16 PM

Post #9121139

Adding supports to the sides.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 12, 2012
1:17 PM

Post #9121141

The frame is finished!

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 12, 2012
1:18 PM

Post #9121142

The lattice for the sides goes up.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 12, 2012
1:19 PM

Post #9121144

Dad cutting one lattice to fit the front - I need room for a door. Probably will be a screen door; I have to wait until I have more money, LOL!

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 12, 2012
1:21 PM

Post #9121145

The frame is up and the lattice is on. Next step is putting on the screen.

Melanie

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 13, 2012
12:24 PM

Post #9122231

Dad finished putting the screen on today. He used staples but then he reinforced it using roofing nails with those little tabs. Next up is figuring what kind of shelving I want.

Melanie

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hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 13, 2012
1:29 PM

Post #9122267

Your greenhouse is really progressing rapidly. Way to go Dad! Are you going to put a floor in it?

Jim

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 13, 2012
2:13 PM

Post #9122312

Oh yeah, I bought that weed block stuff to put down. Luckily, not too much is growing there currently so it's not like I'll have to fight the weeds coming through.

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 13, 2012
3:43 PM

Post #9122378

Apparently, Dad put down the weed block while I was taking a nap. I'll have to get a picture tomorrow!

Melanie
hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 13, 2012
3:51 PM

Post #9122386

Good for you. I think you will like it better with a floor.

Jim

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 14, 2012
10:20 AM

Post #9123391

Weed block is down and construction almost complete.

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mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 14, 2012
10:23 AM

Post #9123393

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.

Melanie

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hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 14, 2012
4:48 PM

Post #9123885

You are moving right along, Melanie. It's looking good.

Jim
OCCAROL
Santa Ana, CA
(Zone 10b)

May 14, 2012
5:17 PM

Post #9123934

I agree! Is that lattice going to prevent the squirrels from messing with your orchids? The shade house will surely make watering alot easier.
hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 14, 2012
5:37 PM

Post #9123949

Don't forget you have to come up with a name for your new greenhouse. Laurel has her green hut, Carol has the orchid shack and I have the OC. What shall it be?

Jim

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 14, 2012
5:38 PM

Post #9123951

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

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 14, 2012
5:40 PM

Post #9123953

Well...the first thing that comes to mind is the Shade Shack. My brother thinks it looks like the outdoor showers at camp; although, I would hope they'd have solid panels and not lattice!

Melanie
ted5310
Brea, CA
(Zone 10b)

May 14, 2012
6:41 PM

Post #9124056

I'm enjoying this. My shade screen and 2 x 2s needs refreshing soon and something like this Shade Shack may do the trick
hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 15, 2012
2:51 PM

Post #9125119

Melanie and her dad came over this morning to check out the OC and hopefully get some ideas. I even threw in a tour of the garden. It was very nice to meet them.

Jim

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 15, 2012
3:19 PM

Post #9125153

Jim, it was nice to meet you too and see all your amazing plants. Thanks again for the agave!

Melanie

dyzzypyxxy

dyzzypyxxy
Sarasota, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 16, 2012
2:43 PM

Post #9126312

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.

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 16, 2012
3:23 PM

Post #9126356

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!

Melanie

breeindy

breeindy
north coast nsw
Australia

May 17, 2012
3:02 PM

Post #9127541

wont you need shadecloth over it?
hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 17, 2012
5:10 PM

Post #9127678

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.

Jim

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 17, 2012
7:28 PM

Post #9127825

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.

Melanie

breeindy

breeindy
north coast nsw
Australia

May 18, 2012
12:25 AM

Post #9127986

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!
hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 18, 2012
12:59 PM

Post #9128681

I'm a bit embarrassed to say that my collection has blossomed to more than 220 plants and there still seems room for just one more. :>)

Jim

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 18, 2012
1:17 PM

Post #9128702

There's always room for one more!

Melanie

dyzzypyxxy

dyzzypyxxy
Sarasota, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 18, 2012
2:11 PM

Post #9128746

But . . nobody ever comes home with just one more. Seems more like 6 or 10 leap into my car whenever I'm looking at orchids.

Most of mine are very small right now, though.
hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 18, 2012
2:14 PM

Post #9128748

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.

Jim
ted5310
Brea, CA
(Zone 10b)

May 18, 2012
3:15 PM

Post #9128822

dyzzypyxxy, I have three or four jump in the car when I'm NOT shopping for orchids. They just seem to be in the area
hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 25, 2012
10:07 AM

Post #9138115

Melanie, did you get the screen door in place yet?

Jim

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

May 25, 2012
12:03 PM

Post #9138252

No, I had to wait until I got paid today. We'll be making another trip to HD this week.
LavinaMae
Grantsboro, NC
(Zone 8b)

June 13, 2012
10:48 AM

Post #9163617

What? No more pictures?
Lavina
hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

June 13, 2012
11:33 AM

Post #9163678

Yes, what happeed to the long awaited screen door and what about a picture with the orchids all in place?

Jim

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

June 15, 2012
2:22 PM

Post #9166609

Ok, by popular demand I went outside and took some pictures. The benches are just step runners with boards across. I haven't moved all the orchids in yet; I still have a few I need to gather up.

Melanie

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hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

June 15, 2012
6:51 PM

Post #9166910

Melanie, did your dad get the step runner idea from your visit to my place?

Jim

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

June 15, 2012
7:04 PM

Post #9166929

Yup, we thought that was a good idea, and economical, too.
hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

June 15, 2012
7:18 PM

Post #9166956

How about the screen door?

Jim

dyzzypyxxy

dyzzypyxxy
Sarasota, FL
(Zone 9b)

June 15, 2012
7:52 PM

Post #9167046

Looks to me like the squirrels could make another orchid luncheon any day now, Mellie! Better get that door on the house!

hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

June 16, 2012
5:03 AM

Post #9167265

Speaking of squirrels, they dug up one of my prized cycads and started gnawing on the cone. Much more of that and I will declare war on them and it won't be pretty.

Jim
LavinaMae
Grantsboro, NC
(Zone 8b)

June 16, 2012
6:04 AM

Post #9167318

Love your house and the lattice work has given me an idea.

Lavina

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

June 17, 2012
4:19 PM

Post #9169159

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.

Melanie
plantsforpeg
Ventress, LA
(Zone 8b)

June 20, 2012
7:02 PM

Post #9173550

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.

Can't wait for the next pic.

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

June 20, 2012
7:05 PM

Post #9173555

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. : )

Melanie

mellielong

mellielong
Lutz, FL
(Zone 9b)

August 20, 2012
1:53 PM

Post #9247967

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!

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hawkarica
Odessa, FL
(Zone 9b)

August 20, 2012
2:42 PM

Post #9248029

Congrats on the door. You are inching closer to completion.

Jim

dyzzypyxxy

dyzzypyxxy
Sarasota, FL
(Zone 9b)

August 20, 2012
7:47 PM

Post #9248414

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)

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Nefitara
Port Richey, FL
(Zone 9a)

August 21, 2012
8:28 AM

Post #9248830

Awesome, your dad did a great job!! Nice ochids :)

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