Todays sad news has reminded me of our meeting with Prince Philip in 2004, at the RHS anniversary show. He was great with students Chris and Callum, reflecting his commitment to young people, and declared the orchid project “Marvellous”. He will be greatly missed.
Regulars at our online shop will have noticed that for the first time since April 2020 it is empty! Don’t worry we will be restocking this week after an Easter Break, and in time for our virtual talk to Devon Orchid Society.
To finish Dendrobium week we have another of our favourite dendrobiums.
Dendrobium loddigessii is a small growing but spectacular species found in Laos, Vietnam and Southern China. The species is semi deciduous and grows pseudobulbs no longer than 10cm The growths grow quickly each summer and then drop some of their soft leaves in the winter. Flowers appear from last year’s bulbs in late spring. We find that this species needs a distinct summer and winter to flower well as it can tend to just keep growing if kept warm all year and forget to flower.
We grow the species bright, wet and warm in the summer – Warm Asia seems to suit it best. Then cooler and dryer in the winter when the roof of Cool Americas seems to be its favourite spot. This may seem like a bit of a faff but it is definitely worth it for the sweet little flowers appear from March to May.
We have tried the plant mounted and potted, and it definitely works best for us mounted where it can develop into a mass of little growths. However we find young plants seem to grow best in little pots before being mounted once they are really thriving.
Thursday’s orchid in Dendrobium week is the Dendrobium jenkinsii, a miniature close relative of yesterday’s Dendrobium lindleyi.
This is a delightful small growing species from the Eastern Himalayas and South East Asia. The species is well suited to growing mounted as its bulbs hug the surface of the cork. Flowers are produced at in late spring from last years growths in ones and twos and each year as the plant grows the number of flowers increases.
We find that this is a species that likes to be moved for the winter. Its altitudinal range from 750 to 1500m indicates that it likes a warm summer but a cooler winter and so it spends the summer in Warm Asia and then moves to the roof of Cool Americas for a dry winter rest.
This year the flower spikes emerged in March and at that point we moved the plant back to Warm Asia but continued to keep the plant dry until the flowers opened late last week.
I hope that you are enjoying Dendrobium week as much as I am. Today’s species is Dendrobium lindleyi a lovely small growing orchid that gives clouds of large flowers well clear of the stiff leathery leaves.
This plant was deflasked in 2010 and so is 13 years from seed and is still no bigger than my hand on its cork mount. It produces a great display every year.
Dendrobium liondleyi is found over a wide range from Assam through South East Asia and we have seen it growing in Loas near Luang Prabang near the Mekong river at around 700m growing in seasonally dry evergreen forest. The species was most common in the lower branches of big semi-deciduous trees near the river, and close to this Buddhist temple with a Cymbidium growing in its gutter.
Like other members of Dendobium section densiflorum (like yeasterday’s Dendrobium farmeri) we find that the species does best with a warm wet summer in Warm Asia and then a dryish cooler winter, and we find that Dendrobium lindleyi enjoys the roof of our Cool Americas section.