Some of the Writhlington Team with Glasshouse Supervisor Alex Summers in The Cambridge glasshouses
Catch the Writhlington team in Cambridge this February at the Cambridge Botanic Gardens Orchid Festival. We will be there on the 21st running workshops and joining Botanic Garden staff for this really exciting event.
Students who went to India last Easter have supplied plants helped to design a new orchid exhibit at the gardens which represents the diverse forests of the Sikkim Himalaya. Two artificial trees have been constructed each festooned in the dramatic species found in the hot tropical valleys or cool evergreen forests of this biodiversity hotspot.
There are lots of other things to see and do at the Festival for more details check out the botanic gardens website http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk/Botanic/NewsItem.aspx?p=27&ix=154&pid=2722&prcid=4&ppid=2722&edit=y
Warm Asia of the greenhouse has looked a bit like a building site during the past week. Lots of stone has been chesiled and carefully placed to form a wall, which will in time have many Paphiopedilums growing from it. We got the idea to build a Paph wall after seeing two successful walls during out travels in Sikkim, one was at the Hidden Forest hotel in Gangtok and the other was at Udai Pradhan’s orchid collection in Kalimpong. We are still looking for more stone, so if anyone has any unused stone they need to get rid of, then please contact us for it to be used as a growing space.
The UK’s top award for any orchid grower is the Royal Horticultural Society ’s Orchid Trophy. The award is given each January to the grower of the most finely grown orchid plant seen by judges during the previous year and the 2013 trophy has been awarded to Writhlington for our Coelogyne holochila shown at the London International Orchid Show last March.
Credit has to go to Jacob Coles who succeeded in getting the plant into perfect condition for the show while many of the Orchid Project were in Sikkim last Easter. Jacob describes the plant as “A real specimen. It has been growing at Writhlington since 1993 and it is now enormous with one hundred and eighty-three flowers open when it flowered last spring.”
Jacob will collect his trophy at the Royal Horticultural Society Awards Ceremony in Westminster and the plant will be flowering again in time for Writhlington’s next orchid open evening on March 6th from 5pm until 9pm.
The plant is looking even better this year (see Jacob watering it above) but may now be too big to fit in a van and get to a show!
Starting the new year has been very productive in the greenhouses, getting many plants together to sell in the following year. The past two weeks has involved the splitting up, repotting and cleaning of Epidendrum radicans which was deflasked in November. Many of the growing seedlings had started to creep into one another’s pots and it was starting to get very crowded in the trays. We now have many Epidendrum radicans of all sizes at different prices to sell.
Our larger Epidendrum radicans is pictured in full flower..and has been for a very long time. Every time I venture to the corner of Cool America, this plant is always in flower. So if you want continuously blooming orchid, Epidendrum radicans is the plant for you!
Can we take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful 2014. 2013 has been a fantastic year for us with our trips to Rwanda and Sikkim, possibly the best London Show ever and of course a great year of growing in the greenhouses thanks to the efforts of Greenhouse Club.
There are lots of great things to look out for in 2014. In January we are going to Cambridge Botanic Gardens where we are working with Alex Summers to help him set up an exciting new exhibit based on the orchids of Sikkim. Two large artificial trees will present the orchids of Sikkim’s hot tropical valleys and cool sub temperate forests. More news on this later.
We are also working with Dave Roberts and Amy Hinsley from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, to prepare a joint exhibit for this year’s London Orchid Show.
In July we will be displaying at the Hampton Court Flower Show and then heading back to Rwanda. The 2014 Rwanda expedition will be based at Kitabi College where we will be setting up Rwanda’s first orchid propagation laboratory and working with both Kitabi students and school pupils from Kigali Schools.
The photo above shows a little of the our current winter wonderland and Masdevallia polysticta native to Ecuador.