Today we dusted down our rather naff Christmas trees and started to plan Orchid Christmas 2017. For anyone who has not been before, Orchid Christmas is an evening of orchids, mince pies, mulled wine and Christmas music and one of our favourite evenings of the year.
This year Orchid Christmas will be on December 13th from 6pm until 9pm and we are planning all sorts of great activities such as a Chrsitmas orchid treasure hunt for adults and children, orchid sales of course, cards, paintings, a repotting service, orchid seedling gifts – in fact everything you could want on a December evening. Everyone is welcome – adults £2, under 18s £1 entry includes a free drink and cake.
365 days has featured many of our miniature pleurothallis species. This one, with a great name, is native to the Mata Atlantica cloud forests of Brazil. It has relatively large flowers for compared to similar species such as Pleurothallis grobyi (day 72).
We find this and simiar species do well mounted, potted or in small baskets. Plants enjoy shade and cool temperatures and multiply well when happy. Plants can be divided when repotted and we try to keep clumps together with at least three leaves and these grow away quickly and flower the next year.
We have had some visitors from The Netherlands this week. Here are Eva and Liza with Masdevallia picea.
This Masdevallia species has a rather unpleasant smell likened to vomit. Of course at school species with unpleasent smalls are rather popular and great for introducing to visitors. The plant’s common name is the pitch black Masdevallia which is a bit peculiar as it is mostly dark red with a yellow centre and yellow tails.
The species is native to cool mountain forests in northern Peru where it is found at around 2700m altitude. We grow the plant with other Masdevallias in Cool Americas.
We have seen this Autumn flowering pleione species growing around Gangtok in Sikkim at 1500m which makes it much warmer growing than many of the Chinese spring flowering species. It has a wide range across the Himalayas, Southern China and South East Asia where it is found as an epiphyte in mossy monsoon forests from 600-2000m.
In cultivation we find it does best amoungst the cloud forest species in Cool Americas with a minimum temperature of 12C but a winter rest with much less water which we provide by moving it onto a shelf near the door.
The plant grows sends up new growths every spring and drops its leaves before flowering from October to December.
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 (see other species day 37,103,204,206,207 and 214)