Great weekend at the Bristol University Bee and Pollination Festival

We have had a busy weekend in Bristol at the Bee and Pollination day. A wonderful display was set up on Saturday by Issy and Rosie and with Ed today and our wonderful parent helpers Gareth, Adam and Agnes and volunteer Zoe we have spent two days making new friends and talking orchids and their diverse pollinators.

Students will be working hard with staff at the University Botanic Garden this term to develop new orchid displays in the Botanic Garden’s Sub-Tropical house.


365 days of orchids – day 606 – Coelogyne pulverula

Today we do have a bee pollinated orchid for the Bee and Pollination Festival

This dramatic Coelogyne flowers reliably in August but as you can see the flower spikes are very long and pendulous making this not the easiest plant to transport for display. However, it is worth the effort.

The species is native to Malaysia, Thailand and Borneo where it grown on the trunks and lower branches of large trees in evergreen forest from 300 to 1800m. We find that the species enjoys growing warm but well shaded and kept moist throughout the year.  We find that leaves can become damaged by bright sun or by plants being allowed to become dry for long periods.

The flowers do bruise quite easily and so it is worth moving a plant in spike to a safe place for the flower spikes to grow where they can’t touch things or be knocked.



Tickets for the British Orchid Show and Cogress

For all of those looking for information on our show and tickets for the Bristish Orchid Show and Congress we have a summary here:

Public Day Tickets – £5 on Saturday 3rd November and Sunday 4th November – Please pay on the door (no advance tickets)

Preview Evening and Buffet  £20 – Friday 2nd November – and buy in advance

Science Symposium (Saturday 3rd November) £10 – Please visit and buy in advance (Access to a day of scientific lectures on Orchid biology and conservation – includes show entry)

Hardy Orchid Day (Sunday 4th November) £10 – Please visit and buy in advance (Access to a day of  lectures on hardy orchids including identification, travel, cultivation, propagation and conservation- includes show entry)

Full registration for the weekend (£35 single, £50 Joint) including access to preview evening, science symposium, hardy orchid day and show access Please visit and buy in advance

Congress dinner Saturday 3rd November – £25 Please visit and buy in advance


365 days of orchids – day 605 – Dendrochilum filiforme


This is one of our smaller Dendrochilum species that in common with most of the genus produces a pendant spike of delicate little fragrant flowers.

The species is native to the Philippines where it grows from 660-2250m altitude. We find that our plant does best cool and damp in our Cool Americas section (yes we know the Philippines isn’t in the Americas) as it enjoys the conditions we provide for our Masdevallias.

It is nice to have it with us at the Bristol University Bee and Pollination Festival as the species like many orchids is pollinated by tiny midges and not by bees that get all the credit and the festivals – though would anyone go to a midge and pollination festival?

So the last three species features have been bird, moth and midge pollinated – three cheers for the amazing diversity of nature 🙂


365 days of orchids – day 604 – Epidendrum ciliare


This attractive epidendrum species is found right through Central America and down through Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Out of flower it looks very like a uni-foliate cattleya but soon shows it’s unique character when the flower spikes appear. Spikes produce up to six large flowers evolved to attract a moth pollinator although it offers no reward and in common with many orchids relies on deceit pollination. Some interesting research indicates that the species produces an variety of scents presumably to aid with deceit pollination.

The species is found high in trees in warm forest from 500-1000m altitude and we find that the plant succeeds well mounted or in baskets of course bark where it can dry out rapidly between watering. In pots we have found it prone to rot in the new growth from being kept to wet. It also enjoys bright light.

The plant here was divided 12 months ago and is growing vigorously and will be another star at the Bristol Botanic Gardens Bee and Pollination festival (though moth pollinated not bee pollinated).

It was nice this week to get news from Anna at the Bristol Aquarium where her plant of Epidendrum ciliare there is also in flower (below)