19th June 2022
Bletilla Brigantes WCOS .
It has been a week of extremes. The sun has shone brightly, the temperatures rose again and the ground was dry. The garden is almost empty of colour. I
carried my collection of Rhodohypoxis up to the new herbaceous border and planted them along the edge. The ground was dust dry as far down as I could dig
(not very far since the new herbaceous border is mostly stones). I have seen several attempts at planting out Rhodohypoxis in borders, none of them have worked very well.
Perhaps mine will be successful. No sooner were they planted than the rain came. It wasn't as much as we need but it settled them in. More is promised for later today.
In the greenhouse the Bletilla have been flowering for several weeks. This is my darkest flowered clone of B. Brigantes. At first sight it looks very like B.striata
but the flowers are presented better and it continues to bloom over a long period, a consequence of having B.ochracea as one parent.
When B. ochracea first became available it was valued for the possibility of producing yellow flowered hybrids but that doesn't seem to have happened.
So far its real value has been in extending the flowering season right through the summer and producing flat-faced flowers that are well presented along the stems.
19th June 2022
Coelogyne intermedia .
I am slowly, moderately and with enormous restraint, replacing orchids I have killed in the past and buying new orchids that might survive in my climate.
The greenhouse is unheated so it is sensible to be cautious. Anything I grow has to be able to survive an occasional frost. It requires enormous restraint and I am not inherently sensible.
I try to remember that last winter was exceptional, we hardly had a frost and I don't think it penetrated the greenhouse. The orchids I bought in 2021 have not really been tested.
I have bought a few more this year, a sharp winter could see the greenhouse benches filled with blackened dead plants. So I am exercising restraint.
The longest day is upon us and that is the last day for new purchases. It gives plants time to settle in and adapt before winter strikes.
Coelogyne intermedia has been with me for three years. It has survived without damage and manages to flower so I think it might be a good prospect for the long term.
I'm not sure how it would cope with a "beast from the east" event but C. cristata, which may or may not be one of its parents, came through the freeze well.
I have restrained optimism.
19th June 2022
Dendrobium moniliforme 'Akerne' .
The big problem is that orchids are not very restrained. They are excessive, exotic and ebullient. They treat caution with contempt and unfortunately orchid growers do the same.
Dendrobium moniliforme is a good example. The species grows in China and Japan in regions where it will regularly experience frosts. It has an enthusiastic
horticultural following in Japan where growers have selected many cultivars. The enthusiasm has spread to South Korea and is beginning to take hold around the world.
It has made it to Cornwall. I only grow a few but I grow them with an obsessive determination that surprises even me.
Although it is frost hardy it comes from a climate that delivers a hot summer monsoon. It doesn't mind a cold winter but it needs a very hot and wet summer.
I'm sure it couldn't grow outside here but the greenhouse seems to suit it well.
This is an example of the typical form of the species. I got it from Akerne Orchids a few years ago and now it has established it flowers well. It has ordinary white flowers and plain green leaves.
It is slightly more compact than a typical plant but not in a noteworthy way.
19th June 2022
Ponerorchis graminifolia .
Japan provides a number of interesting and beautiful orchids for growers. Ponerorchis japonica is a small terrestrial species that is widely cultivated in Japan
and usually available as tubers in spring. I do not succeed with terrestrial orchids and have killed Ponerorchis on several occasions. Last year
I bought five tubers, one of them has survived into a second year. I'm not sure what I am doing wrong but perhaps that's a stupid statement - If I knew what I was doing wrong I would put it right.
I'm not alone in killing them, I think it is a widespread experience however a few people seem to succeed. I just need to jiggle my cultivation until I get there.
The garden is almost empty, the greenhouse is full of orchids. This week seemed like a good time to celebrate them. It is certainly not a self-indulgent compensation
for not being able to get to the Malvern Orchid Show this weekend. I am certainly not sulking because I mustn't get any more orchids this year.
I am certainly not obsessed, this is just a healthy celebration (unless you are a two year old Ponerorchis looking a bit dodgy).
Never mind, the Disa have started. They will keep me occupied through the summer. The winter will be filled with futile panic. I will continue to exercise
enormous restraint and note that there is no calm Zen of orchid culture. It is an oxymoron.