365 days of orchids – day 476 – Dendrobium jenkinsii

This is a delightful small growing species from the Eastern Himalayas and South East Asia. The species is well suited to growing mounted as its bulbs hug the surface of the cork. Flowers are produced at in late spring from last years growths in ones and twos and each year as the plant grows the number of flowers increases.

We find that this is a species that likes to be moved for the winter. Its altitudinal range from 750 to 1500m indicates that it likes a warm summer but a cooler winter and so it spends the summer in Warm Asia and then moves to the roof of Cool Americas for a dry winter rest.

This year the flower spikes emerged in March and at that point we moved the plant back to Warm Asia but continued to keep the plant dry until the flowers opened late last week.



Glowing OFSTED report praises Orchid project

‘The ‘Orchid Project’ is genuinely impressive, with pupils given real life-changing experiences to showcase their work around the world.’

That is according to the new OFSTED report on the Medip Studio School which has given every aspect of the school a ‘Good’. We are delighted that the inspectors took the time a trouble to find out what students are up to in the greenhouses and propagation laboratory and recognise their hard work.


365 days of orchids – day 475 – Coelogyne velutina


Last week I described April as Coelogyne month and here is another stunning species to emphasis my point.

Coelogyne velutina has a lot in common with other warm growing species with long pendulous flower stems such as Coelogyne tomentosa, Coelogyne pulverula and Coelogyne swaniana but is very distinct in the colour of the flowers that turn from creamy-salmon to a deep salmon pink after opening. The Photograph below shows flowers that have been out for two weeks (pink) and two days (cream)

The flowers are relatively long lasting if kept dry and not bruised, and the species is very free flowering and so a dramiatic display is guaranteed. The plant here originally came from Burnham Nurseries and grows in bark compost in a large pot that we hang up at flowering time. We grow the plant in Warm Asia (min 17C) although it could grow a little cooler as the species is native to lower montane forests in Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia from 900-1950m. We find that the species enjoys plenty of water throughout the year.


365 days of orchids – day 474 – Vanda coerulescens


This wonderful small growing Vanda is native to dryish monsoon forests in the Western Himalayas (Arunachal Pradesh), Myanmar, Thailand and Southern China from around 300 to 1200m. The habitat we have seen in Arunachal Pradesh is open forest with a distinct wet season in the monsoon summer.

We grow the species high in Warm Asia where it gets plenty of light and dries out quickly between waterings.

This plant was given to us by Dino (find out more about Dino’s amazing Orchid and Culture Tours in our previous post) as two leaves an half a root about three years ago so the plant is growing fast and we hope will develop into a multistemmed and multi-flowered specimen with time as this species can make magnificent mature plants.


365 days of orchids – day 473 – Vanda denisoniana

This is the second flowering of seedlings grown in our school laboratory from seed collected from cultivated plants in Luang Prabang, Laos, in 2006. We found plants growing in a back street in this wonderful city (a world heritage site) and were struck by the beauty of these subtle flowers (see photo in Luang Prabang below). The flowers are also fragrant in the evening.

The plants had ripe seed and a small quantity collected was sown back at school in 2007. The majority of the seedlings were returned to Laos when we visited our partners and set up their laboratory in Paksong in 2011 but a few were kept to grow a permanent seed source at Writhlington. Now that we have three seedlings in flower together we should produce good viable seed and seedlings will be available from 2020.

The species is found across South East Asia and Southern China where it grows in open forest from 450-1200m and the colour combined with evening scent suggests it is moth pollinated. There is a range of colour forms but our seedlings are all greens and creams. Our plants all grow in small baskets hanging in Warm Asia (although the thick roots are now hanging down a metre below the basket)