Come and join us for Orchid Christmas on Dec 15th – 4pm to 6.30pm

Our next public event is our annual Orchid Christmas – with tours of the greenhouses and lab, orchids for sale (lots to flower for Christmas), a repotting service, and Christmas refreshments.

The event runs from 4pm until 6.30pm on Thursday 15th December. No need to book, just come to Writhlington School BA3 3NQ and follow the signs to the Orchid Project Greenhouse.


The Orchid Greenhouses in November

November is time for Post 16 Open Evenings and tonight the orchid team are part of the Somerset Studio School open evening for young people wanting to join us in the sixth form. Tonights display was designed by Erin, Jonah, Matt and Jude. Erin described it as “A diverse sparkling explosion of colours and scents” – he is not wrong.

Highlights include two Dracula species

Dracula bella and Dracula amaliae with their fascinating fungus mimic polination stratedgies.

We have two Cymbidium species and the flowers will be used for visitors to learn about orchid pollination.

Two Himalayan Autumn flowering Cymbidiums, Cymbidium tracyanum and Cymbidium erythraeum.

Other plants include Coelogyne barbata and an enormous Xylobium subintegrum.

This November has been very mild and wet and so we are only needing to water the greenhouse every few days. There is lots of autumn growth on many of our cool orchids from the Americas (Masdevallias, Pleurothallis, restrepias etc) and we find the autumn to be a good time to propagate species that enjoy this time of year rather than the stress of summer warmth and bright light.


The Orchid Greenhouses in October

October is a lovely time in the School Greenhouse. Warm days and cool nights mean the greenhouse really comes into its own and every lunchtime we have a a good crowd of students working hard, weeding, watering, repotting, pollinating flowers and taking photographs.

Star plants this month include our Stenoglottis (above). We have both Stenoglottis longifolia and Stenoglottis fimbriataand their long spikes of delicate flowers last from September through to Christmas.

Amongst our miniature species we have Barbosella dusenii – with leaves just a few millimetres across and the slightly larger growing Barbosella australis (below)

We also have some lovely large flowering plants at their peak including Coelogyne barbata (the bearded coelogyne)

…. and autumn flowering Cymbidium species such as Cymbidium elegans.

Some of our blue flowered species are looking lovely in the autumn sunshine:

Vanda coerulea and Dendrobium victoria-regina

Next week should see the opening of flowers on two clones of Cattleya perrinii – a good opportunity to pollinate flowers for seed.

We are starting to think about resting those orchid species that appreciate a cooler dryer winter – but more on that in November’s post.



Epidendrum paniculatum – 365 days of orchids – day 2000

The final orchid for 365 days of orchids is this lovely epidendrum species. We really hope that you have enjoyed our daily orchid species in flower. We have now covered each of our 1000 species at least once and feel it is time to move on. We will still be posting every week with ‘this week in the greenhouse’.

Exploring the forests of Costa Rica on our school expeditions we have been fascinated by the diversity of epidendrum species we have come across.

We were fortunate to observe a glass wing butterfly pollinating the similar Epidendrum piliatum in Costa Rica on our last school expedition (photo below). Epidendrum paniculatum is also a classic butterfly pollinated species that both provides a nectar filled tube at the base of the lip, and a grabbing platform at the end of the lip.

Epidendrum paniculatum is a lovely species and as traditionally described was found throughout Central and South America in cool wet forest above 1000m but the complex (group of similar species) has been split into several species with the true Epidendrum paniculatum being endemic to Peru.

We grow the species in baskets and it flowers from small plants 15cm high with a few flowers and when taller produces many flowers on branched spikes.