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Posts Tagged ‘Vivarium’

Vivarium, at five months…

New city and new place of work have kept me and left me busy and tired. I do like (almost) everything about this new phase of my life, but there is definitely a period of acclimatisation. I have a small but persistant headache and my eyes are a bit strained. I have made some progress on my borders and figured out the story a bit more on one of my Graphic Novel ideas. Apart from that I have read some books (Jasper Fforde, Celis T Rono, Conan Doyle and Jaqueline Carey), watched a lot of Farscape and started to paint the small figures that came with the boardgame Mice and Mystics I bought at Orcs nest this spring.

I brought my vivarium (of course). At five months running everything have been developing nicely. I have had to fight off a small fungal infection with neem oil and cinnamon powder. Seems to have worked and now I have made sure to improve the ventilation. None of the orchids have flowered yet. The Sinningias flower profusely, very prettily. I have sown another batch and they also seem to sprout small new plants from the base. The Kyoto moss spores have thrived in the treefern-wall in the back.

I am really annoyed at not being able to take better pictures, like the ones my father took in this post. Below is the best I managed, after some computer manipulation

Vivarium month 5

In other news: WordPress informs me that “sometimes your visitors will see ads here”. I have gotten more than a couple of e-mails from people wanting (sometimes for a small fee) to write guest posts. I guess this comes with this blogging thing. I have had plans on paying the fee to get my own domain and get rid of ads, but I am not yet decided. This was supposed to be a no-cost/no-earn blog and I hope to keep it that way. I hope it is not too annoying!

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Sinningia muscicola 1

Another look at the vivarium, now with flowering Sinningia muscicola Rio das Pedras.
This species is one example of a collection of species and hybrids commonly called “micro-mini Sinningias”. The diameter of the plant rosette is about 3 cm (that’d be a little more than an inch). The flowers are about 5 millimeters, pure white except for some vague blue mottling in the throat. My plants really thrive in the humid environment with constant air- and water circulation and good lighting (all these variables are important to avoid molds, algae overgrowth and rot. More on the construction of the vivarium in this post). There are other micromini species and I plan to try them all out. Having a vivarium this small is a bit like having a reverse bonsai, grooming meticulously inwards instead of pruning borders. I am looking forward to continue working with it. I do like the idea of restricting my huge intrest-drive to a smaller space like this. Restriction makes for quality and lots of time for this one structure. This thing is like a tiny green jewel.

There is a lot of information on Sinningia cultivation on the ‘net. A good start is googling “micro-mini sinningia” or visiting the American Gesneried Society homepage. I joined the Swedish Gesneriad Society earlier this year and I am very happy with the magazine and general attitude towards newbies (the homepage is partly in English).

Sinningia muscicola closeup

Thanks to my father for taking the very fine photographs!

In other news: two weeks until I move and start working at my new, very exciting place of work. Looking forward to it immensely.
Recently read: I finally got to read Jasper Ffordes Shades of Grey, and oh, was that a great read! The only good thing about putting off reading it for so long may be that the next book in the installment (of three, I believe) comes out later this year. The wait from 2010 would have been long, had I read the first installment earlier. Since I love reading about colour, perception, weird stuff and dystopia-flavoured adventures in mad bureaucracies, this book is just up my alley. The general colourfeeling of this book is a somewhat bleak sepia tone. The constant referencing to colours messes up my synaesthetic book-sense, though (and I am not bothered by that in the least). This book is among getting-in-hardback-for-regular-price-territory for me, which is sort of epic since I am a bit neurotic when it comes to spending money. I have gotten better about that, though. Largely because I like authors getting their due.
Future plans: I wish I could get started making small illustrations related to books I have really enjoyed, to try to capture the vividness of imagery a really well written book creates in my mind. Next blog post is wholly original though, but unfortunately not yet finished (and may never be…).

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Back from spending the better part of three weeks at my childhood home. I had a great time, reading a lot. Among others by Jo Walton and Zoo City by Lauren Beukes were two of the books I looked forward to reading the most and I am not regretting it, having read them (gah! Wonky grammar! Good thing this is not a blog on writing). The links lead to the Little Red Reviewer, one of my favourite book bloggers.

I love all sorts of herbs and have a special spot in my heart for Lavender. I am not sure which cultivar this is. One of the purchases I made at Kew Gardens this year was a book on Lavender. I cannot seem to remember the exact title and the book is in a box somewhere by now. Sigh. I’ll get back on you about that. This cultivar is originally from a 50s suburb in Stockholm. It is on the greyer side of the scale compared to many other varieties. It is amazing how much they differ if you bother to look. The thread is linen, from ropemakers at Beck & Rep at Fardhem, Gotland. I cannot recommend them warmly enough.

Lavender and linen thread

Back at my other home, the vivarium I started in May have, well, exploded. The image below is after some severe pruning of the Ficus pumila (a species which really isn’t suitable for a vivarium this small). The Java moss have been especially vivacious, but there has also been some growth of the smaller mosses I found in the forest. The small sinningias which were nonexistant in May are now ready to flower. Pics upcoming.

Vivarium expansion

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The Nano Vivarium

This is the reason I haven’t updated the blog in a while:

Exo Terra Nano 1

Another obsession of mine is tropical orchids and plants in general. I have, together with my father, made plenty of glass houses/vivariums/orchidariums/paludariums over the years, but none with moving water and none with an aspiration of looking semi-natural. Inspired by the aquascapers nano aquariums (just google it, you won’t regret it), I decided to make a nano vivarium. I decided not to make it from scratch, since I plan on having this one at my place of work in the future. Places of work tend to shun home-made containers of water, for obvious reasons. Since this has been some sort of a trend for some years now, a small terrarium was easily aquired.

Container: ExoTerra Nano 20x20x30 cm
Pump: ExoTerra ReptiFlow 200
Important Notice: Yep, this might seem a little overkill on the construction side. Smaller containers are more sensitive to disturbances and actually harder to keep than bigger ones. My experience tells me that making sure all parts of the container is well ventilated is paramount. I plan to add a micro (2.5 cm) computer fan for air movement. Some of the plants will have to be removed, since they will probably outgrow the container. I will continue to work on the interior, gathering micro-mini plants and really try to get some moss growing. Update is coming in about six months or so.

Shops (OBS: nothing is sponsored in any way!)
Herpers Choise: the terrarium, the pump, Pleurothallis niveoglobula, Rubellia (or possibly Pleurothallis) lateritia, Sigmatostalix radicans. The ONLY thing I didn’t like about this shop outside of Uppsala is that they didn’t exist until I moved away from there. Warmly recommended.
Dusk Tropic: Hygrolon and Epiweb, also inspiration (take a look at the pics on the homepage).
Dartfrog.co.uk: Xaxim, tropical moss, Kyoto moss spores.
My aquarium: Java moss (probably Vesicularia dubyana), Java fern (Microsorum pteropus).
The woods: sphagnum, which I nuked in the microwave to get rid of pests like snails)
Local garden shop: coconut fiber, Chirita tamiana, Cryptanthus species, Ficus pumila (a great little climber and impossible to kill).
Local lawnmover shop: rubber fuel line. The only thing flexible enough to work for the waterfall. I am ambivalent, but liking the out-of-the box thinking I did on this one.
Fellow orchid/plant enthusiasts: Angreacum distichum, small Dendrobium, Sinningia Rio das Pedros seeds.

Forums
Vivariumforum: rather inactive, but with plenty of inspiration and how-to.
Dendroboard: Poison Dart frogs stuff, but loads on building terrarium habitats.
Pilgift.se : Swedish Poison Dart Frog society and forum.

Behind the cut is several images of the building process (pic heavy): (more…)

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