Sunday, 14 April 2013

Hardy Orchids: Disappointment and Delight

The Cypripedium cryptically named 'White' ended up flowering much faster than I thought it would. I was hoping for either Cypripedium Reginae or Formosana (dude said it was probably Reginae grrrrrr) but alas it turned out to be something else. I'm not even sure what, maybe a particularly pale Kentucky? So yeah I was pretty disappointed, I really wanted one of the other two. It has been in flower for a week or so and I have mellowed a bit, it might not be the resplendent white Reginae or the deliciously weird Formosana but all in all it is still a pretty cool flower.

Walking past a florist I spotted this little beauty. I had never seen Calanthe, especially for sale at a florist for 10 euros. First of all it is a big big plant, with really cool flowers. The florist also had a darker more pinky purplish one, and said that colour is relatively rare. But I really love this colour, there is pink in there and a hint of blue tempered by some pale yellow. I'll have to do some research on how much protection (if any) it needs in winter but I'm glad to introduce it to my outside orchid selection.

See? This is one sophisticated colour palette.

I intended to buy some more terra cotta dishes to plant the new Cypripedium in. However the garden centre did not have any so as a sort of experiment I'm going to try these ArtStone dishes. These are lightweight recycled plastic planters with a little reservoir at the bottom. This should make watering quite a breeze, extra water will collect in the reservoir and if it gets too much it will overflow into the plug. I think this will be a good fit for many plants ensuring drainage while still having water available. Plus a good layer of water on the bottom might even help cooling the roots.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to find the little plug. If you want to keep the planters inside you just plug it back up again.

I bought two planters to start with (fairly cheap, certainly cheaper than terra cotta). I made up some somewhat improvised mix (orchid soil, garden soil, some moss and a good amount of perlite) and planted the  'White' Cypripedium and the Kentucky maxi. I can't wait till my other Cypripedium start flowering, shouldn't take long since spring seems to have finally sprung.

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