365 days of orchids – day 676 – Coelogyne ovalis

We have lots of our big Coelogynes in flower for this weekend’s show.

This species is a cool growing Coelogyne from South East Asia and the Eastern Himalayas. We have seen plants growing on the Bolevan plateau in Southern Laos at around 1200m where they form large clumps in evergreen trees.

It is a very variable species in growth habit but in our collection is distinguished from the very closely related species Coelogyne fimbriata by having larger flowers with relatively smaller side lobes to the lip.

This plant forms a fantastic specimen when grown well as the plant shown here was awarded a Cultural Certificate from the Royal Horticultural Society in November 2016 at the British orchid Congress. This year the plant is even bigger and over a metre across.(see photo below)

We grow the plant flat on a large slab of cork bark and water it heavily throughout the year to grow fat pseudobulbs that flower successively for about two months. Our advice id never to let bulbs shrivel

The flowers seem to be very attractive to wasps that pollinate flowers in the greenhouse and presumably supply a last little bit of autumn sugar to the insects.


Packing the registrants bags

A massive thank you to my wonderful team of volunteers who make the British Orchid Show possible (volunteers filling registrants bags above). Tomorrow is set up until 4pm and then Preview Evening from 6-9pm.

Registration starts at 10am tomorrow and all registrants will collect their goodie bags (which include some nice surprises) with information, wrist bands and meal tickets.

The first plants have already arrived and tomorrow will be all action as Societies from across the UK and trade from across Europe bring thier best plants to Writhlington. Look out for more posts tomorrow.


365 days of orchids – day 675 – Guarianthe bowringiana (Cattleya bowringiana)

Earlier in the month we had the coerulea (blue) variety of this Central American species and today we have the more usual pink form flowering.

This species was known as Cattleya bowringiana until renamed by the great US botanist Bob Dressler.  I had the honour of exploring Costa Rican Forests with Bob in 2003 and learnt an enormous amount about Central American orchids.

Guarianthe bowringiana is native to Guatemala and Belize in Central America. It is usually found in dryish lowland forest and was seen by students on our trip to Guatemala near Yaxha at 300m altitude (see photo below). Plants come into flower during autumn and winter and produce long spikes with many flowers from the robust pseudobulbs.



365 days of orchids – day 674 – Cymbidium erythraeum

Autumn is here and our autumn flowering Himalayan Cymbidiums are coming into flower. The first is Cymbidium erythraeum and this is a smaller growing clone which we have grown from seed at Writhlington.

This Cymbidium is one of the many found in the Sikkim Himalaya and students on our school expeditions to Sikkim have seen this graceful species growing in large evergreen trees  at around 2000m altitude around Gangtok and in Southern Sikkim near Tinkitam.

Cymbidium erythraeum is a lovely orchid when not in flower due to its long thin dark green leaves. The flower spikes emerge in the autumn and the long lasting flowers are a treat throughout the winter. The spikes are generally arching or pendulous and this plant has one of each. We also have a taller growing, and later flowering, clone with much longer and more upright spikes but very similar flowers.

We grow this plant with other cymbidiums in a winter minimum of 6C and vents that open at 12C so it grows really cool. We keep it very wet in summer with plant food in most waterings. In the winter we keep it damp and never let it completely dry out. The evergreen forests we have seen the species in have large amounts of moss and abundant epiphytes indicating a very wet climate.

Don’t miss our display of fantastic Cymbidium species in the greenhouses during the British Orchid Show.


Scottish Orchid Society confirm their exhibit the British Orchid Show

We are really pleased to anounce that the Scottish Orchid Society will be amongst our exhibitors at the British Orchid Show. Travelling from north of the border with vehicles full of plants shows real commitment.

A massive thank you in advance to the growers from societies across the UK, and trade from across Europe for making the British Orchid Show  2018 truly spectacular – we couldn’t do it without you.