Simon Pugh-Jones shows how science at KS4 is rooted in the traditional skills, practical work, books and interaction with professional scientists. A great introduction to how the orchid project has influenced the curriculum at Writhlington school.
All this week we are moving plants to different sections to speed up or slow down the growth of flowers. This is because we want as many plants in flower as we can for the RHS London international orchid show. This is going to be our biggest London yet.
We had much excitement yesterday when a box arrived for us, full of labels and multi-coloured carbon tape for our label printer. This meant that we could put into action one of our plans for this year’s London orchid show:
With every orchid geographically positioned in it’s relavent section in the greenhouse, it seems sensible to give it a label telling you, when you buy it, where it came from! This means that whenever you buy a plant from us now, it will have a third label in (as well as the price and name labels). This one will tell you where your plant comes from, where in the greenhouse we grow it, and how we keep that section. Neat huh?
So after all the excitement of the vote Barkeria spectabilis came out a clear winner. The plant shown here is loving life in the new greenhouses where it lives in ‘Warm America’, the section devoted to species from south and central america and live at lower altitudes.
Barkeria spectabilis is found in the wild in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador in dryish oak forest from 1200m to about 2000m. We grow it with a minimum temperature of 18 degree C mounted on a cork slab. The natural habitat indicates it could be grown cool (down to about 12 degrees) but our plants seem to apreciate the heat. It fowers in the late spring and has a lot of flower for the diminutive plant size. The good news is that this plant now has a ripe seed pod hanging from the flower photographed and so expect lots of these plants for sale two years from now.
Commiserations to the orchids that didn’t quite make it, especially Dendrobium densiflorum that came so close. This lovely species from Sikkim will always be one of our favourites but the Barkeria possibly did a better job at posing for its photo. The photograph was taken on an Olympus Digital SLR with spot metering and a short depth of field to bring out the delicate pale colouring of the flower and to blur and darken the background.