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Re: artificial trees

Dear Wim ,
     Perhaps 15 years ago the Chicago Botanic Garden built a tree in their tropical conservatory.  It is still functioning, and magnificent.  They constructed it of large + smaller diameter PVC pipe, using the regular joints and perhaps some metal armature since it is quite large
(perhaps 12' tall and 12' wide), but in a smaller tree that would not be necessary, though a stable base is needed.  They installed a drip irrigation system and attached pieces of cork that would be used to mount ferns or orchids with wires, fishing line and/or that nasty expanding
insulation stuff.  I would imagine molly bolts into the pipe would also work for large pieces.   Then started adding sphagnum (amended with compost) etc for water retention, and attaching plants, again with wires etc..  There is nothing difficult or exotic about what they did, and it
has evolved over the years.  Wires used to attach plants get grown over, moss has arrived and thrives, and there is even a very large (4') birdsnest Asplenium that seems to have been mounted as a young plant directly on the bark, atop a branch..  Really, the attachment power of epiphyte
roots is quite great.  Orchids also like the set up, as do bromeliads.  All on the base of PVC with simple methods.

Betty, South Bend IN

"Winter, Wim de" wrote:

> Keith,
> The result of what you describe is much like the terracotta earthenware dovecots that are commercially sold here as "strawberry pots" (see for shape, but apparently different material http://www.potvis.org/Gallery_2_4.html). You remind me that I still wanted to try them for fern use.
> The difference with the proposed method is that the plants only can crop out from your predifined cups, at least, I suppose the won't grow over the pvc outside. Also, the mortar/peat outside might look more attractive even when not overgrown.
> Wim0
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Keith Rogers [mailto:kerogers@iprimus.com.au]
> Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2003 09:13
> To: ferns@hort.net
> Subject: Re: [ferns] artificial trees
> Hi Wim
> Forget Mortar, it appears not to be a concrete suggestion!!
> Use 4 in or 6in PVC Sewer pipe for an erect pipe perhaps 3 or 4 ft long.
> You could just do a series of cuts in the pipe 3 or 4 inches long with a
> hacksaw around the circumference in varying positions.
> Warm it up bending the upper in and the lower out, this forms a say half cup
> shape.
> The problem is if you put the pipe in the oven to real hot, the lot becomes
> pliable.
> Heating with a blow torch, burns.
> Perhaps a hair drier would work.
> Clean up the rough edges with a file and sandpaper.
> Get a PVC cap, add a larger base for support, cut drain holes in it and glue
> onto bottom.
> The contents is easy, use sphagnum moss.
> Kindest regards
> Keith Rogers
> Mannum  South Australia
> Keith's Fern Page is at
> www.lm.net.au/~kerogers/
> Supporting the Fern Society of South Australia on
> www.chariot.net.au/~saufern/
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Winter, Wim de" <Wim.dewinter@wisl.nl>
> To: <ferns@hort.net>
> Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2003 5:12 AM
> Subject: [ferns] artificial trees
> > A colleage of mine told me something about constructing artificial trees
> for epiphyte growth. However, he did not know any details. Maybe some of you
> do?
> >
> > It starts with a pvc drainpipe. This is enveloped with a mixture of mortar
> and peat (1:2 ?). Litthe holes in the pipe allow water from the pipe's
> interior to moisten the outside substratum. Cups could be shaped in the
> mortar to allow for easier planting.
> >
> > It's an intriguing idea, but imagining to construct it, questions arise:
> >
> > - whats the size of the holes?
> > - is the pipe topped of with water, so should it be water tight at the
> bottom end?
> > - is the pipe filled up with any kind of spongy matter?
> > - is 1:2 the correct mortar:peat rate?
> > - isn't the mortar to alkaline for epiphytic species?
> >
> > Any experiences?
> >
> > Wim de Winter
> >
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