We are now collecting menu choices for the Congress dinner to be held on Saturday 3rd November. If anyone is still wanting to register for the dinner they need to book by the end of Wednesday this week so that the final orders can be placed with the Chef. (book here)
Thank you to those who have already made their meal choices – if you are interested the choices so far make the Pork and Wild Mushroom Pate with seasonal salad and Cider Chutney the most popular starter, Braised Beef on fondant potato with heritage veg and red wine jus the most popular main and Tarte au Citron the number one sweet.
We are very fond of miniature orchids and this species is one we find easy to grow and very rewarding. Ornithophora radicans is a warm growing miniature species from Brazil found near the Atlantic coast at around 400m altitude. However in cultivation our plants are not fussy. We find that the species prefers deep shade and will grow cooler than the habitat suggests and so does well in both Warm and Cool Americas.
The plant rapidly multiplies into an attractive ball of thin green leaves and little pseudobulbs and is happy mounted, potted or in a basket. We keep plants watered well throughout the year and are rewarded with a profusion of the attractive little flowers that last a long time.
Sixth form student James has worked really hard to prepare things for the British Orchid Show and he has been in charge of wristbands. He is delighted that they have arrived. Wrist bands will help us to manage the large number of people coming to the show and pre-booked for all the different registration options.
If anyone is wondering what colour their wrist band will be, here are James’ notes:
So registrants will have red bands giving them access to show days, preview evening, scientific lectures on Saturday (Science and Conservation) and scientific lectures Sunday (Hardy Orchid Day)
If you have just booked for one of the scientific lecture days then your bands give access to the show too and day visitors will have their own bands too.
All those who have preregistered will find their wristbands in their registrants bag on arrival.
If you still haven’t registered please visit https://wsbeorchids.org/bos2018/ for full ticket details and registration. If you are just coming for the day on Saturday or Sunday you can buy your ticket (and get your wristband) on the day.
On Friday we gave you Cattleya maxima and I refered to the ‘coerulea’ variety we have today. Coerulea means blue but in this case the flowers are a very pale grey version of blue but despite this they are elegant large flowers with the delicate shape and intricate lip characteristic of Cattleya maxima.
Here is a reminder of the more normal variety
The two plants out together show the wonderful diversity present in so many orchid species and we would not be without either.
Rather excitingly we have seed germinated of a cross between the two varieties and it will be lovely in about five years time to see how these turn out.
As we said on Friday, Cattleya maxima is native to South America from Venezuela down to Peru. It grows in forests from sea level up to 1500m and so is warm growing.
Another species at its peak in the autumn is Epigenium amplum.
This is a large growing and rather straggly species from the Himalayas that we have see in expeditions to Sikkim where it grows around the trunks of large trees forming enormous plants over time. We have found it growing in moist evergreen forests at around 1400m although it has been recorded from 500 to 2100m.
The large flowers are long lasting and although well spread out provide a great display on a large plant.
We find that baskets are the best way to grow the species and spray daily to ensure that the plan t gets sufficient water. As the plant grows the growths can eventually be trained round in a circle to give a denser specimen that is both easier to handle and provides more flower impact than one where the flowers are all at the ends of long growths. In the wild large plants encircle trees in mossy damp conditions and that is what we are trying to replicate in our greenhouse.