As regulars will be aware, we specialise in orchid species and have over 900 species in the school orchid houses. I do however have a small number of hybrids and I grow these two to remind me of my orchid childhood.
I began growing orchids at the age of 13 and in 1975 aged 14, I started to work for the famous Dorset orchid Nursery, Keith Andrew Orchids, on Saturdays and school holidays. Keith was an inspiring orchid grower and a fantastic breeder of new hybrids.
This is Cymbidium Bulbarrow ‘Our Midge’ a hybrid between the wonderful small flowered species Cymbidium devonianum (below) and a large pink hybrid Western Rose.
Keith registered the hybrid when the first seedlings flowered in 1976 and I clearly remember the excitement in the nursery as all the plants were fantastic – and very new at the time. From 1978 Bulbarrows started winning major awards and the different clones made for some absolutely wonderful displays at shows including my first Chelsea Flower Show in the late 70s and early 80s.
This is Vulylstekeara Cambria ‘Plush’ FCC, another plant that made Keith’s nursery in Plush famous. The hybrid was registered in 1931 by Charlesworth Nurseries but it was in the 1960s that Keith won the top RHS award (an First Class Certificate) for the plant. By the time that I was at the nursery we had meristems of the awarded plant for sale and the long lasting flowers were almost always in view. It was one of my first purchases with my wages. The plant went on to be grown by the millions in Holland, and formed the basis of the modern oncidium type house plant industry. Sadly, Keith did not benefit financially from dutch sales of the plant he made famous.