Structure of the Orchid house (part 2 intro)

In the warm-house, Eucharis grandiflora and other species of Eucharis; Hymenocallis and Pancratiums, thrive and bloom well beneath the staging. The inside of the roof should be wired for suspending baskets containing Orchids, and this should be done before the plants are placed in the house.

As regards the form of structure, comparatively low, span-roofed houses, with brick sides reaching to the eaves, and no side glass, are the best, the ends being of brick up to the height of the side walls, the remaining part running up to the ridge, in all but very small houses, being formed of wood and glass. If several houses are built, spaces should be left between each house, and no two or more houses should be built with partition walls, for these prevent the necessary side ventilation. A house of 100 feet or so in length should have a division midway in its length, which for some purposes gives the advantages of two houses. Pitch-pine or teak, being durable, are good woods for the wood-work, and, in any case, the use of cheap, soft timber should be avoided. In glazing, only a thin bedding of putty should be used, and the glass should be bradded on the upper side, as top putty when decaying or on becoming loose is worse than useless, and tends seriously to foul the water in the cisterns. Span-roofed houses 12 feet to 15 feet wide, and of proportionate elevation, are suitable for ordinary Orchids, but if specimen plants are desired a loftier house will be necessary.

A range of houses should, if possible, be connected at the end which is most exposed to the north and north-east winds by a corridor or covered structure, in which the potting-shed stores and entrance to the boiler hold should be arranged. The greatest care must be taken that no fumes from the heating apparatus can find their way into either the corridor, potting-sheds, or plant-houses, or the plants will suffer the worst consequences. Safety can easily be assured by thoroughly ventilating the stoke-hold and making the partition between the corridor or offices and the stoke-hold as air-tight as possible.

The wood-work, when of pitch-pine or other hard wood planed smooth, may be oiled or varnished, painting being undesirable for new houses. In course of time, however, painting has to be resorted to, and it is one of the most trying operations about the Orchid houses. Great care has to be taken to obtain a reliable quality of paint that will not harm the plants, and to keep the house vacant for as long a time as possible for the gases from the paint to escape. After the plants are returned to the house some ventilation must be maintained day and night for a time. Tar should not be used inside an Orchid house for any purpose.


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