Criss Cross Katrina

by Colleen Rochette

Despite my Mum’s petite, lady-like figure and impressive smarts, she definitely dons a few tattoos, tours the town on a motorcycle that is larger than herself and surely knows how to dance around a wood shop. Katrina’s ‘oh yeah, I can do that’ attitude is pretty hot and her green thumb is even hotter.

Before my Mum boarded the train to New York, I had been fairly forewarned.

“Mum, You are bringing a suitcase full of what?”

“Colleen, we are making Vanda baskets. Tons of them!”

So my Mum arrived in New York with a suitcase full of tightly wrapped wood bundles and wire hangers. Her bundles of sticks were perfectly square and cut into an assortment of sizes. Upon being alternately stacked, glued and drilled, these pieces would transform into a mountain of truly unique Vanda Baskets. Fortunately enough, her empty suitcase would then serve as a “I just bought all of these amazing orchids in New York and now I have room to bring them home with me” suitcase. Smart woman!

Vanda 1Aligning the material for the first basket.

Vanda 2Upon determining placement, the wood is initially secured with wood glue.

Vanda 3The first basket bottom is completed!

Vanda 4Continuing to stack em’ up.

Vanda 5Both my Mum and I use Vanda baskets for their well-known purpose – to hold an orchid, particularly one with big ol’ wandering roots.  But we also use the baskets to house a handful of smaller potted orchids. The little potted orchids congregate amongst one another to form a humidity community within these slats.

Compared to the traditional baskets that are readily available, my Mum purposely designed her baskets to be slightly shallow. This feature allows light to fully reach the smaller pots, without the excess height of the sides blocking the sunshine.

Vanda 6And yes – I am madly in love with this particular basket! Small, but very tall. It is absolutely perfect for my leggy NOID Dendrobium, providing a lot of support to keep it from toppling over while it develops a stronger root system.

One step that I did not outline was drilling the holes for the hanging wire. Using a standard drill, holes were drilled completely through each side of every basket. The hanging wire was then slipped through and the tip of each wire was then twisted into a little spiral with a pair of needle-nose pliers. This will help ensure that none of the slats would come undone. The baskets would then remain perfectly stacked when filled and hung.

Vanda 7After creating a few standard Vanda baskets, we turned this one sideways and placed the hanging wire through the top. We then halved an extra cork mount and inserted this into the bottom. Snug as a bug! This created an ideal surface for little clingy roots to crawl all over.

Vanda 8So here is the happiest little bunch of NOID intergeneric orchids. They are now growing big and strong together. Sphagnum has been placed over the roots while they develop. This Vanda mount will be watered about every other day as it fully dries out.

Thanks Mum!