Watch the green light

You may have noticed that thethird webcam ‘orchid of the week’ is not pointing at an orchid at all but giving a great view of the computer control in Warm America. This shows one of the real benefits of webcams in winter weather as all night this camera shows the comforting glow of a big green light. The light means that everything is fine with temperatures in the greenhouse…phew! …this saves a lot of putting on boots and driving late at night to check the greenhouse. I hope that all our wsbeorchids watchers are managing ok with the winter weather and your plants are coping.

Our Masdevallias are flowering their socks off this month so here is Masdevallia setacea from Ecuador to bring some cold weather cheer. Happy Chrismas.

Masdevallia setacea
This species comes from the mountains of Ecuador and we grow it in 'Cool Americas' with a minimum of 12 degrees C


Thank you for being such a brilliant team

I can’t let the end of 2010 pass without thanking all the members of Greenhouse Club for being so brilliant and working so hard this year. Without your committment the orchid project would be nothing.

Congratulations Luke Barnes for your fantastic 2010 with the Society of Biology Prize and thankyou for the hundreds of hours you have put in to run the website and the lab as well as organising all of our major events.

Thank you Luke Shackleton for making the move to the new greenhouses such a success, especially your supervision of the younger students at lunchtime and clear thinking whenever we encounter problems. You lead by example and have an admirable calm patience.

Thankyou to our year 10s, Zoe and Mitchell, you both show great maturity in you work with the project as well as real skills.

Our year 8 and 9 team are now the power house of the project with your growing knowledge and irrepressible enthusiasm as demonstated in the greenhouses, runing workshops and at shows. You have a gowing group of fans across the UK. Then of course there are the new year 7s. Congratulations for an amazing first two terms in the project, I can already see the signs of great orchid students and we can all be confident that in the years ahead the project will grow from strength to strength.

Finally a thank you to the adult team the supports the project so. Annie who has been working for the project now for nearly twenty years and is not only a great horticulturalist but is so good at quietly organising the students to deliver a really proffessional service. Lauren who again this year has given time and inspiration to the project as well as making a real difference to individual members of greenhouse club. The parents who support the project, actively and behind the scenes, especially Lynne and Dave, Hayley and Paul, Janet and Jon, and Sarah.  Marie for supporting the project so and ensuring that it has secure foundations for many years to come.

2010 has been a special year but look out 2011, here we come.

Simon Pugh-Jones (Teacher in charge of the Orchid Project)


Merry Christmas All!

Well, the time has come once again for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  And what a year it’s been!

This year, among other things, saw us move over to our brand new greenhouses!  Since moving over at easter, we’ve been spending most of the time organising all of our plants into their correct climate zones; Cool Asia, Warm Asia, Cool America, Warm America and Temperate Sub-Tropical.  You can see what’s going on in all of our sections from our webcams.

This year also saw the first Writhlington Autumn Orchid Festival (given the acronym ‘WAOF’) which was enjoyed by all.  We filled the school with orchid societies, the dining room with food and the greenhouses with people.  We also held lectures in our brand new theatre (which, as some of you may remember, I learnt I cant tech and lecture at the same time in!)

If you missed the festival this year, join us for WAOF11 taking place on the 17th September 2011.  You can also join us for a similar event in March.  The London Show Preview will be on the 12th March.

Remember, we’re not done yet!  Join us tomorrow evening (Thursday 16th December) for ‘Christmas Orchids‘, an evening of Orchids, refreshments and music.  Entry is £2 on the door, running from 7-9pm.  See you there!


What is snowy on the outside and has Brazilian sunshine on the inside?

Answer – The Writhlington School Greenhouses 🙂

This has to be the best time of year to have a heated greenhouse. While many little mammals are thinking of hibernating to sit out the cold months, the students of Writhlington School (little mammals too) are busy surrounded by some of the of the world’s most stunning flowers.

Sophronitis cernua is a good example. This species comes from Brazil where it grows in warm forest in the coastal mountains. Like many tropical orchids it flowers in its ‘dry season’ which is winter (that means temperatures down to 15 degrees C). It’s red flowers attract pollinating hummingbirds. What a perfect antidote to winter weather.

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Our New Labels!

You voted, you commented, we listened, and we now have our new label design!  It’s all very exciting for us, particularly because we got to use the laser cutter again.  (The most awesome use of ‘file – print’ there is!)

The Laser Cutter, Cutting Labels!

We’re going to wait until it’s light, position the labels in front of some appropriate plants, and show them off to you in their full glory tomorrow!  They do look good!