Last Day to register for the British Orchid Show and Congress

Day tickets for the British Orchid Show will be available on the door this coming Saturday and Sunday for what will be an amazing orchid event.

If however you want to be part of the whole weekend you should  register here for the following access:

  • Entry to every day of the Orchid Show and Congress 2-4th November
  • Entry to the Preview Evening 6-9pm on Friday 2nd November
  • Entry to science symposium lectures on Saturday 3rd November
  • Entry to the Hardy Orchid Day Lectures on Sunday 4th November
  • Access to the registrants lounge with free wifi and refreshments
  • Your registrants bag with information and goodies.
  • Access to everything else that makes the Orchid Show and congress special – Great refreshments, Tours of the glasshouses, displays and activities

Registration has been held at £35 single and £50 Joint


365 days of orchids – day 673 – Coelogyne barbata


We are now looking around the greenhouse to spot the plants that will be the stars of the greenhouse visitors to the British Orchid Show this week. Perhaps our most dramatic plant of the moment is our monster Coelogyne Barbata with twenty spikes opening this week.

Barbata means ‘bearded’ and the bearded coelogyne is a truly spectacular thing. This plant has been growing in Cool Asia since 1998 and is rapidly becoming a specimen plant. This year there are eleven spikes each with about ten large flowers. The dark brown ‘beard’ on the lip is probably an evolutionary adaption to limit access to just one species of bee to increase the chances of successful cross pollination.

The plant grows in a large basket and is kept wet in the summer and damp in the winter to reflect the habitat which is wet evergreen monsoon forest from Nepal to Southern China. We haven’t seen this species in Sikkim but we have visited the habitat (1000-1800m) where coelogynes are abundant.

We have lots of seedlings from this plant growing well in the lab and these are the result of a cross made at the last British orchid Congress on Norwich. A congress is a great chance to set seed from the wonderful plants that come together from all of the UKs top growers. We are expecting the orchid hall to be truly spectacular.



365 days of orchids – day 672 – Aerangis brachycarpa

This stunning species is native to East Africa from Ethiopia through Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and south to Zambia and Angola. It is found in highland forests (1500-2300m) in deep shade on tree trunks.

The plants are quite stout for Aerangis and this plant that we de-flasked in 2005 has taken thirteen years to reach its current size but now flowers regularly with multiple long elegant spikes.

We find that Aerangis species are particularly easy from seed especially the potentially tricky de-flasking stage. Fortunately, lots of the species are much quicker flowering from flask than Aerangis brachycarpa.

This wonderful plant must be one you come and find in the greenhouses if you are at the show at the end of the week.


West Country Woodcarvers at the British orchid Show

We are delighted that the West Country Woodcarvers will be joining us for the British orchid Show and Congress next Saturday and Sunday (3rd and 4th Nov). They are regulars at Writhlington Shows and always add extra interest. They will be working in the technology rooms and happy to show their work and talk about the group to visitors. They may even have some original carved work for sale for charity.

The West Country Woodcarvers was formed in 2001. The aim of the club is to provide a meeting place for its members to carve and discuss the art of woodcarving, to demonstrate at public shows and exhibitions and to encourage an interest in various skills involved in woodcarving. The membership has a wide cross section of skills and abilities. Absolute beginners are welcomed, and given help and encouragement.


365 days of orchids – day 671 – Xylobium subintegrum

We have a wonderful of diversity of orchid species ready to share with visitors to the British Orchid Show and Congress next week. We only have one genus of orchids beginning with X and that is Xylobium.

Xylobium is a genus of terrestrial and epiphytic orchids from South and Central America and we saw one species in Brazil on our expeditions there.

Xylobium subintegrum is a cool growing epiphyte from Ecuador and Peru where it grows in cool wet forest from 1700 to 2000m altitude. It is a robust plant with large pseudobulbs and thick large leaves.

In late summer the new pseudobulbs produce a number of 50cm long flower spikes each with ten to twenty attractive flowers and prominent bracts. The spikes are a little unruly but we resist the urge to stake them as they look very attractive against the leaves without canes to spoil the effect.