365 days of orchids – day 462 – Odontoglossum hallii

This species is native to Ecuador and forms a large growing plant with long spikes of 8cm wide flowers. Odontoglossums have now been included in Oncidium but as a genus Odontoglossum is useful as the species that were included share cultural requirements – cool, damp shade similar to their cloud forest homes – that differs from the majority of Oncidium species that come from lower altitudes and dryer forests.

We find Odontoglossum species do particularly well hung in baskets and watered daily


Thoughts turning to wild flowers and native British Orchids


This time of year is time to get out and enjoy the fantastic wild flora of Britain. This has been a cold spring for our corner of Somerset and a walk through nearby Asham Wood (The Mendip’s largest and most biodiverse ancient semi-natural woodland) shows that many species are flowering a little later than usual. The wonderful native daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) are still in full flower (above) and the Early Purple Orchids (Orchis mascula) are still not showing their flower spikes but the lush spotty leaves are full of promise for next month (below).

Some of the other gorgeous woodland wild flowers to see along with the daffodils are primroses, wood anemones, common dog violet, alternate leaved saxifrage and barren strawberry.




365 days of orchids – day 461 – Stelis lapoi

Today’s species is another that flowers for several months of the year. Stelis lapoi is one of our larger Stelis species with leaves reaching 20cm and long flower stems with partially opening 1cm flowers. The flowers bloom all together and when several stems flower together they look very attractive.

The species is native to Ecuador and enjoys conditions in our Cool Americas section. We find it does well in a basket.


Show dates coming up – The Devon Orchid Show and the Malvern Show

We have been asked by a number of people when we will next be selling plants and flasksand we are pleased to say that the next two shows are among our regular favourites.

The Devon Orchid Society Show is on 5th May at the Public Hall, Budleigh Salterton, EX9 6RJ – it is always a great day and we will have a young team designing their first public display and selling plants.

The International Orchid Show, Malvern takes place from the 15th-17th June as part of the Three Counties Show and is always a wonderful three days under canvas. Don’t miss it.

We will have a number of species new to the Orchid Project sales table thanks to students’ propagation efforts in the lab and greenhouse.

In November we have the British Orchid Show and Congress which we are hosting at Writhlington School from the 2nd-4th November and so the next few months are exciting times at the Orchid Project.


365 days of orchids – day 460 – Cymbidium lowianum

Cymbidium lowianum is native to Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and China where it grows as an epiphyte in cool montane forest. Cymbidium lowianum rows into a very large plant and has lovely large pseudobulbs, long thick leaves and very long arching flower spikes that naturally grow out to the side of the plant. We are keen to show off the natural grace of these flower spikes and so do not stake them – though that does have issues for space.

Lowianum has been used extensively in Cymbidium breeding and the red V on the lip is a dominant feature that can be seen in many hybrids. One thing that can be frustrating with hybrids is the confusion about flower spike direction and a modern hybrid can easily contain Cymbidium insigne – spike straight up – Cymbidium devonianum – spike straight down – and Cymbidium lowianum – spike sticking out in an arch. I think we will stick with the species which all have an elegance that is hard to beat.

We grow Cymbidium lowianum with our other Cymbidiums in our Temperate section (minimum 6C)