365 days of orchids – day 625 – Dendrochilum magnum

This magnum is ‘magnum’ in many ways as it is our largest growing and largest flowered dendrochilum species. Ed shown here for scale has just counted the flowers at 1920 on 48 spikes, and they are all really fragrant. The smell has been described by visitors as ‘lovely’, ‘horrible’ and ‘weird’ reflecting its rather odd and hard to pin down fragrance that visitors have likened to ‘bakery spice’, ‘Easter’, ‘Shaving foam’, ‘toilet cleaner’, ‘old female teachers with too much stuff on’ or best of all ‘bubbles’ by a visiting seven year old. The only way for you to find out is to buy one for yourself!

Interestingly the flowers come out green and over a few days change to a golden yellow.

The species is native to the Philippines where it grows in mossy forest from 1600 to 2000m and we find it appreciates heavy watering throughout the year and it enjoys conditions in our Warm Asia section although it would grow cooler. It grows quickly into a sizeable plant and is a really rewarding species to grow.




365 days of orchids – day 624 – Scaphyglottis pulchella

This rather unusual orchid is native to Costa Rica and Panama. It has thin leaves on top of long thin pseudobulbs that climb up the mount on a long rhizome. The single flowers come from the top of mature bulbs and are long lasting. The effect is rather elegant.

The species is found in forests up to 1350m and so is best suited to our Warm Americas section but seems to prefer shaded spot.

Costa Rica and Panama have an extraordinary diversity of orchids and we have spent spectacular times amongst this diversity in the Orchid Project’s visits to Central America.



365 days of orchids – day 623 – Coelogyne asperata

This is a wonderful large growing Coelogyne species found from Malaysia to New Guinea and the Philippines. The stiff ridged leaves are 90cm long on top of stout pseudobulbs and the dramatic 8cm flowers are produced on arching spikes from the centre of the new growths in summer.

Otto noticed that the flowers look as if they have been dusted in cocoa powder and they do bring to mind a cappuccino. Our plant has three spikes and the first has just opened so the plant will look amazing in about a week.

The species grows in warm forests in shade up to 2000m and really seems to enjoy growing warm and wet in our Warm Asia section.

There is a lovely record of a plant in Borneo being pollinated by a large flower beetle here and as mentioned it does have a sweet spicy smell.

This is certainly not an orchid for a small windowsill but it has a grand elegance that warrants the space it occupies in our greenhouse.


Orchids of Estonia at the Hardy Orchid Day (Sun 4th Nov at the British Orchid Show and Congress)

 Simon Tarrant

We are delighted that the Sunday of the British Orchid Show and Congress will include a ‘Hardy Orchid Day’ with lectures and workshops covering British native orchids, UK reintroduction projects, hardy orchid culture and propagation, and European travel to see orchids in the wild. Amongst the speakers will be Simon Tarrant talking on “Orchids and Conservation in Estonia”.

Simon Tarrant is an amateur orchid enthusiast and photographer. He is also the Publicity Officer for the UK-based Hardy Orchid Society. Simon has spent many years exploring different parts of Europe in search of orchids. Over the years his travels have focussed increasingly on East European countries as travel to them has become easier and Simon has visited Estonia several times at different seasons. Estonia has a rich orchid flora, with around 35 species to be found. The best populations of orchids are in the west of the  country, especially on the island of Saaremaa in the Baltic. Most recently he has led a group of British orchid enthusiasts to western Estonia in conjunction with a local tour operator to visit orchid hotspots in the company of local orchid experts, and there are plans for a similar trip in 2019.

All registrants will have access to the Hardy Orchid Day lectures along with those who register just for the Hardy Orchid day. Registration and further information is available at and we hope to have the full finalised programme for the Hardy Orchid Day by next week.


Life after Writhlington and Two Bonus Orchids

Following on from Heather’s fantastic post I thought it was time to write up my version. I left Writhlington a full year ago now to study a degree in Wildlife Conservation at the University of Kent. Whilst the course is a very general conservation based course, I  have been squeezing orchids into as many pieces of work as possible. I also travelled to Guayaquil, Ecuador last November to attend and speak at the World Orchid Conference, unfortunately my time that I missed at Uni I could not get officially written off as speaking at a conference is not a good enough reason to miss lectures, apparently. I have also been lucky enough to travel with project to Paris for the European Orchid Conference in March and to be another helping hand at the London show in April. Orchid shows are something I really don’t want to give up, and they really are something I can’t do as a member of the public too well.

Phalaenopsis bellina, this is an excellent clone from breeding involving the noted ‘Red Apple’ clone


Phalaenopsis bellina, this clone is a meristem of the ‘Miki’ clone, unfortunately the flower is trapped under a leaf so it could be flatter and better presented

Despite moving between Canterbury and Writhlington a few times a year I have continued to keep a collection of orchids, which is now split into two between the two houses. My collection is still Primarily Phalaenopsis species, where I have had an excellent flowering of Phalaenopsis bellina this year, with a few novelty hybrids thrown in such as Phalaenopsis Samera, which is a primary hybrid between P. bellina and P. violacea which have both previously featured in 365 Days of Orchids and produces a nice compact plant with pretty, fragrant flowers. It’s a hybrid I am planning on remaking with two fantastic parent plants I have.

Phalaenopsis Samera

Bonus Orchid number 2 is a plant on a different scale, Grammatophyllum Jumbo Grand is another Primary Hybrid between G. martae and G. stapeliiflorum. My plant is carrying 73, 2 inch flowers (My dog managed to eat 2 buds) on spikes up to 5 feet in length. Despite my parents complaining we have managed to transport it across the country to Canterbury where it is only just tall enough to fit on the stand that I built around it over the summer. I managed to exhibit it at one of our local flower shows, the Timsbury Flower Show, where it won both it’s class and the trophy for the best orchid.


Grammatophyllum Jumbo Grand in situ, in Canterbury The Flower of Grammatophyllum Jumbo Grand