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Published Friday, June 18, 2021

By Victoria Torley

Today we moved the stag horn fern into the pool house. Truth be told, it has been looking ragged for some time now and Iíve been meaning to do something about it ever since I got home from vacation. Boy, was it ragged. It also had a few extra ferns growing in it plus wandering Jew wandering up the sides of the container. My bad.

It is a big pot and quite heavy. After I weeded it out and cut all the dead fronds, we sort of tilt-rolled it into place. Then came fertilizer and water. Itís now looking good in the corner of the pool house.

So Ė the pool house. You wouldnít think one would be necessary in Costa Rica but, because of the rain, we are unable to use the pool about five or six months of the year. We didnít come to Costa Rica to be rained out of our pool so it is now enclosed with four walls, a roof (half-transparent), wide windows and a set of sliding doors.

It is echoic.

If there is one thing a gardener knows about an echoing space is that you can fill it with plants and the echo will stop. Thus, the stag horn fern but it is only the first step. I think you all know that I love orchids. Well, there are plenty of orchids that require consistent high humidity and high temperatures, temperatures that my greenhouse doesnít provide during the rainy season. Catasetum orchids like it warm, so do the Vanda and Calanthe orchids. My Coelogyne will move into the warmth soon. They will also appreciate the constantly maintained humidity of the pool house. Trust me, itís humid. I may move a vanilla orchid or two in there as well and let them climb the walls.

Now, it may begin to sound as if we enclosed the pool house so I could raise more orchids. Not true! Itís just that it resonates in there and we need something to sop up the sound.  I already have things hanging on the walls, so it isnít just about plants.

Anyway, thatís the story of the pool house. If you know of a plant that will thrive in a nice warm environment with a lot of humidity, send me a note. Better still, stop over with a cutting or some seeds and Iíll find a good spot for your friendly gift.

Oh, and bring your bathing suit; the water is at a nice steady 80F.

Plant for the Week

Hereís a wonderful bed of flowers that I found in Istanbul, looking for all the world like primroses Ė except for the bright yellow tulip. I definitely need some of these for the garden.

Editor's note: More information on this article or about gardening, Ms. Victoria Torley, gardener columnist, can be reached at

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