365 days of orchids – day 652 – Cattleya maxima

What an orchid! This is definitely one to look out for at the British Orchid Show (just two weeks away now from 2-4th Nov)

Cattleya maxima is one of the real stars of autumn in the school greenhouse with long lasting enormous flowers in heavy sprays from the relatively short pseudobulbs.

Cattleya maxima is native to South America from Venezuela down to Peru. It grows in forests from sea level up to 1500m making it an accommodating and straight forward species to grow. We find in enjoys baskets hung high in Warm Americas and keep it watered throughout the year.

We have this free flowering pink clone as well as the blue grey coerulea variety. We are delighted that the council chose this species to to put on the road sign welcoming drivers to the village of Writhlington – a tropical twist to the North Somerset Coalfield. The village of Writhlington is also famous for its coal mine – the last to close in Somerset and the coal tip which has provided remarkable fossils of giant dragonflies.


365 days of orchids – day 651 – Dendrochilum cobbianum

This stunning orchid species is native to the Philippines where it grows in damp evergreen forest  above 1200m altitude.

As I said earlier in the week this plant won Best in Show at the last British Orchid Congress in Norwich (Nov 2016) and now as a bigger plant will look an absolute treat when fully out in two weeks time for our own British orchid Congress and Show under the care of our fantastic Cool Asia team.

Flowers are produced from the centre of new growths every autumn and this year our large plant has 60 flower spikes with a total  of over 2000 flowers. The flowers have a strong and rather peculiar smell that remind me of overheated electrics.


Still time to register for the British Orchid Show and Congress

We are delighted to have well over 100 registrants already signed up to enjoy the full event at the the British Orchid Show and Congress.

There is still time to register here for the following access:

  • Entry to every day of the Orchid Show and Congress 2-4th November
  • Entry to the Preview Evening 6-9pm on Friday 2nd November
  • Entry to science symposium lectures on Saturday 3rd November
  • Entry to the Hardy Orchid Day Lectures on Sunday 4th November
  • Access to the registrants lounge with free wifi and refreshments
  • Your registrants bag with information and goodies.
  • Access to everything else that makes the Orchid Show and congress special – Great refreshments, Tours of the glasshouses, displays and activities

Registration has been held at £35 single and £50 Joint


365 days of orchids – day 650 – Restrepia condorensis


Every day is Restrepia day at the orchid project as these small growing species flower frequently and are always a point of interest for visitors.

Restrepia condorensis is a small growing species with long thin flowers in a startling pinky-red and a real show stopper. The species is endemic to Ecuador and grows in cool wet forests with the conditions we replicate in our Cool Americas section. We find that the species does well in pots and small baskets where it will turn into a ball or leaves covered in flowers.

Restrepias are also popular because they are easy to propagate by division or from leaf cuttings (put a leaf and its stem into a pot of moss and you will usually be rewarded with a new little plant)


Full programme announced for the Hardy Orchid Day at the British Orchid Show and Congress (4th Nov)

A highlight of the British Orchid Congress is a Hardy Orchid Day that includes lectures exploring a broad range of relevant topics. Speakers include experts in a number of fields and should provide an enlightening insight into hardy orchids.

The Congress runs from Friday 2nd November to Sunday 4th November and features orchid displays and sales from across Europe as well as a separate public lecture programme, a Science and Conservation Symposium 3rd November, tours of the Writhlington School Orchid Project facilities, refreshments and other activities.

Registrants for the Hardy Orchid Day will have free entry to the British Orchid Congress and Show throughout Sunday 4th November.

Registration for the Science and Conservation Symposium costs £10, Registration for the full three day congress (including the symposium and many other events) costs £35 single and £55 joint. Further details and an online registration forms can be found at