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The Exotic Rainforest

If only orchids bloomed all the time! 

 Having been fortunate enough to see orchids growing wild in SE Asia and parts of South and Central America it has long been my desire to grow them as they grow in the wild.  In the rainforests of the world these exotic plants grow on the sides of trees, not in orchid bark and a clay pot!  When we conceived the "Exotic Rainforest" we set out to find logs and tree stumps that would work as natural hosts for these and other epiphytic plants.  This stump just happened to be in the yard of our pre-1900 colonial home and works perfectly as host to a number of different species of orchids and bromeliads.  We also borrowed an idea from Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Miami, FL.  Fairchild has a large display of orchids and bromeliads attached to fake "logs" in a wing of their indoor tropical exhibit.  So using the same technique we created our own "trees" and "logs" by building them out of natural rolled cork bark attached to 4 inch PVC pipe (you can't see the PVC).  These "logs" make perfect hosts for orchids, bromeliads and other epiphytic plants since the plant's roots easily (with some coaxing with a bit of Liquid Nails glue) attach themselves to the cork.  The humidity stays high most of the year in the atrium and being cool (or cold) much of the year in Arkansas the average atrium temperature is cool.  As a result we are fortunate to have orchids blooming much of the year.