Yellow Bird’s Legs

by Colleen Rochette

As I previously mentioned, a small order for vanda baskets and suitable medium for each of these special creatures was placed early Saturday afternoon. Their necessities were supposed to arrive on Monday, but the delivery had been delayed until Tuesday. I was growing impatient.

Ah. I could not stop looking at these plants. They have been sitting in my big purple tub for the last two days. They needed some grooming, big time. As I stood above them, routinely examining the new buds on my Phalenopsis orchids, I kept looking down and thinking: Ugh, I’m going to have to rip these baskets apart. Ugh, these roots are going to be awful to untangle. Ugh, I cannot even imagine how long this is going to take. I KNOW there will be something creepy crawly inside. Yes was the answer to every single one of these simple premonitions.

IMG_4695Lodged within Yellow Bird’s ridiculously expansive root system were three huge chunks of black tree fern. Initially, each probably served as a mount for a small, individual plant. The mini trio were then combined within a vanda basket to grow into one mighty specimen.

Upon drenching the roots to make them more pliable, a few centipedes sprung out and scurried away. There was no way I was going to let them hide! These tree fern bits definitely needed to be removed… no ifs, ands, or buts. The tree fern had aged to the point where it’s stick-like structure had collapsed around the few roots that were inside of it. Surprisingly, most of the roots were a pure, mint green and had grown completely around the black slabs.  I grabbed a flat head screwdriver and began chiseling.

IMG_4696Post surgery. An au naturel, Yellow Bird in her Birthday Suit.

IMG_4699 So, a lot had went on during that hour. Yellow Bird’s vanda basket was so decomposed that I easily snapped it apart piece by piece, with no damage. I am sure that the centipedes had a hand in making this possible. Gross.

The roots that had been pressed against the tree fern were also a little brown. Some spots had become slightly rotten. I snipped away the few sodden, stringy roots. Unfortunately, the green roots that had been lodged within the collapsed tree fern medium were removed as well. Win some, lose some.

IMG_4700To finish up, an old milk crate served as a rather large strainer for the last wash. All debris; tree fern bits, old roots and small pesky criminals were washed away, far away. I did not want anything getting lodged in the dense, pointy foliage to hide. Yellow Bird looks much happier!