Laeliocattleya Star Parade ‘Volcano Queen’

I’ve been quite busy lately and haven’t had a chance to do a post on this orchid–The one flower it put out is starting to show signs of fading, so here it is:

I got this mini cattleya a few years ago as a division; I love the splashes of vibrant yellow and purple on the lip–The flower doesn’t have perfect form, but it’s still pleasing–

‘Volcano Queen’ has pseudobulbs and leaves that are only about 10 inches, making this hybrid perfect for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of room–One issue: I am concerned about the color break on the left petal–This could be a sign of a virus, an environmental issue or insect damage–Until I can test it, I’ll have to be careful to keep this one in an area away from the rest of the orchids–

Brassavola Nodosa in Bloom

This Brassavola nodosa has just come into bloom:

It only produced two flowers on one spike this year–Still, considering that it didn’t bloom at all last year, I’ll take them–

The leaves of this plant are described as terete, meaning cylindrical and tapering–This orchid species is not a fast grower for me, putting on an average of two to three leaves a year, unlike some hybrids of B. nodosa that produce many new leads and pseudobulbs each year, like Brassocatleya Ladybird–

The flowers of B. nodosa are only fragrant at night, and what a fragrance it is–Like the moonflower and many other night-scented flowers, the scent of this orchid is a rich , slightly powdery floral with a citrus edge–In fact, these spidery white blooms reminded me of the moonflowers I grew last year when I first inhaled their scent a few nights ago–I prize fragrance above all in flowers, and this orchid does not disappoint–Speaking of moonflowers, I have several growing from seed I collected last year, not yet old enough to bloom–Later in the summer I’ll post pics when they do–

I have a fondness for orchids that are green, or green and white–They seem more mysterious and exotic–I also love how particularly satisfying it is to stand on a darkened porch and inhale this delicious fragrance, unencumbered by visual or audio stimuli, just falling into the scent–

Brassavola nodosa is found from Mexico and Central America to parts of South America–Where mine sits he gets a few hours of direct early morning sun and several hours of late evening sun, with bright shade during the hottest parts of the day–I water when dry, making sure to let the medium dry out again before the next watering, as with cattleyas; this guy is in a small pot, so it averages about 3 times a week in summer–This is a rewarding orchid to grow, and I have several other Brassavola species on my list of desired plants– 

Bratonia Shelob ‘Tolkien’ in Bloom

I took a video of this fantastic orchid, a cross between a Brassia and a Miltonia, hence the name:

This guy has multiple spikes this year; the spidery flowers are beautifully spotted and spiky and make quite a visual impression en masse–Theme Shelob comes from J.R.R. Tolkien’s evil spider creature from his Middle Earth series of novels–

I have Bratonia Shelob ‘Tolkien’ potted in a mixture af 70% bark and 30% spagnum moss–I give him early morning sun and bright shade the rest of the day–In the summer he gets watered twice a week–This is a rewarding and easy to grow orchid, perfect for beginners–

A closeup of the fantastic lip–What A marvelous hybrid this is!–

Euchile Mariae in Bloom

This is one of my favorite orchids, Euchile mariae, previously known as Prosthechea mariae–It hails from mountains in northwest Mexico–

These flowers carry no scent that I can detect; their allure lies in the juxtaposition of two unassuming colors, the green sepals and petals gracefully fanned out above the voluptuous, white-skirt lip–

Euchile mariae is not particularly notable foliage-wise when out of bloom–That may change as the plant continues to grow and add pseudo bulbs since the foliage has a cool, glaucous sheen–This year it put out three spikes, and if the last two buds continue to develop properly, I’ll have 7 blooms–Here you can see five open on two spikes–

Two blooms on the second spike–I grow this orchid no different than my cattleyas: warm with bright light, drying between waterings–

Dendrobium Loddigesii

I’m behind on posts, so now that I am on vacation I have time to sort through photos from the last 5 months and post them–This is Dendrobium loddigesii from April:

Deciduous cane dendrobiums are my favorite kind–This little guy, a miniature Asian species, was the first one I acquired–

I grow this orchid on a small piece of oak–The brightly-colored flowers are about 2.5 inches across, and lightly fragrant–

I water Dendrobium loddigesii daily in the warm months, and give it a winter rest from November to February with little to no watering–It makes keikis (baby plantlets) like crazy–

The beautiful fringed flowers, above–Bright light with morning or late day sun is best for this dendrobium–This is an easy and rewarding orchid to grow–

Hippeastrum in Summer

As soon as it’s warm enough each year, I put all my hippeastrum (amaryllis) under the pecan tree in the yard–Usually all are done blooming then and are growing their leaves–After a few months they go in the sun for the summer, as here on the deck steps–I love the big, strap-like leaves–Massing the pots together emphasizes their lushness–Some of these plants are 3 ft high–

In august I’ll stop watering them, lay them under the deck on their sides, and let the foliage die–In November it’s time to start over–

Seeds and seedlings

Among the many joys for me of growing plants is raising new ones from seeds and cuttings–This requires a different kind of nurturing as opposed to established plants–I thought I’d start sharing some of my ongoing projects and observations–

I’ll start with these Schlumbergera (Christmas cactus) seedlings–I hybridized these by sharing pollen among various plants of differing color in my schlumbergera collection–

This was an experiment so I didn’t keep track of the pollen parents–These community pots are labeled with the color of the pod parent–I’m excited about the possibilities here–I will be moving these up to larger pots soon–

These are hippeastrum (amaryllis) seedlings, not quite a year old–I collected this seed from unidentified heirloom hippeastrum blooming in the studio garden next door–This variety has been in the same family for generations and has bloomed every spring, rather early–They are winter hardy here in Georgia, and I had a 90% germination date with these seeds–

A photo of the flower, a beautiful reddish-orange–I am in the process of tesearching the name of this hybrid or species, possibly an impossible proposition–

These are 7 week old hippeastrum seedlings, from seed I collected from two that bloomed in the greenhouse at work; something got in and pollinated them–One was a red similar to ‘Red Lion’ and the other one a red and white–Neither pod was very large and many of the seeds inside were misshapen–I wasn’t sure if they were viable, but I would say I got about a 45 % germination rate for the number I planted–The hardy hippeastrum from the yard had larger pods with more and better quality seed–

This deli tray contains tillandsia (air plant) seeds I collected recently in my travels–They are sown on a bed of damp sphagnum moss that I mist regularly with distilled water–I recently found that they had sprouted–

If you look closely, you can see the green sprouts clinging to strands of moss, many no bigger than the head of a pin–

In this deli tray I’ve sown Dionae muscipula (Venus flyrap) seed on a bed of rinsed, shredded sphagnum moss–This seed was taken from my own plants; They are tiny, like black pepper flakes:

I look forward to growing these to maturity-

This Sarracenia leucophylla (pitcher plant) seedling is about a year old–It it the only survivor from seeds I ordered online–A wren got into the deli tray of seedlings and dug them all out–I was only able to save this little guy–

A closeup of an adolescent pitcher–When mature, the pitchers can be several feet tall and patterned with beautiful white and green, sometime white and red striations–I imagine at this point if it’s even eating yet, it’s probably consuming very small insects, like gnats–

These are Clivia miniata seeds I purchased fresh from an online grower–They are large and substantial, like a smooth macadamia nut–I have an immature yellow-flowered clivia I bought last year, an unknown hybrid–I decided I’d like to have Clivia miniata also; though more common, it’s nonetheless just as lovely with flowers of reddish-orange and yellow–

Here you can see one of the seeds rising out of the soil, pushed up by a fat new root–These seeds are buried halfway and kept moist but not wet–

I love rhizomatous begonias and have been propagating them through leaf cuttings rooted in water–

This is an easy method of propagation, and one can use the same leaf to make a new plant more than one time–

Rooting begonia leaf cuttings is a foolproof way to increase a collection or have extra plants to share with friends–

My Griffinias bloomed recently, and though the plants are young, I’ve decided to keep the stalks on to see if the pods will mature and produce seed–Fingers crossed–

Some plants are so good at replicating themselves that all you have to do is divide them–Here is a small rectangular planter of a recently divided clump of butterworts–I potted these up not three months ago and already the plants are making plantlets–

If you look closely at some of the leaves,  you will see not only the carcasses of tiny insects, but also tiny new plantlets forming–Amazing–

Cattleya Canhamiana ‘Azure Skies’ in bloom. 

I bought this cattleya hybrid 3 years ago and this is the first time it has bloomed:

C. Canhamiana ‘Azure Skies’ is a hybrid (cross) between Cattleya mossiae firma coerulea (A “blue” variety) and Cattleya purpurata variety wekhauseri, a white with a slate blue lip–This is a primary cross, meaning a cross between two species–It has three spikes with five flowers–

I was thrilled to finally see this guy bloom–The slightly spicy fragrance is wonderful, the flowers well-presented and sizeable–I love all cattleyas but have a fondness for purple and coerulea varieties–This is one that does not disappoint!–

Above one can see the pale yellow deep in the throat overlaid with purple striations–I give this plant bright light most of the day with several hours of direct late-afternoon sun–In the summer I give lots of water with drying between watering; I scale back in the winter somewhat when he goes in the greenhouse–This is an older cross, and well worth seeking out for ease of culture–

Atlanta Botanical Garden: Behind the Scenes, Part 1

The ABG recently gave a private tour of the Orchid houses and the greenhouses not open to the public at the ABG–I took a number of photos, this post is the first of two–

Starting out with this fantastic vanda, above–Below is Arundina graminifolia, the bamboo orchid–I just ordered some of these for my own collection–Seeing them at the botanical garden convinced me–

Green-flowered catesetum and a cattleya hybrid, below–

Laelia purpurata, above and Cattleya warneri (I think!) below–These are huge, fragrant flowers–

I love these zygopetalums, above–Wonderfully fragrant–

Above, a cool epidendrum species–

A lovely species Phalaenopsis, above–The yellow vanda below had cool chartreuse shading–

A beautiful pink vanda–

A cool peachy-colored vanda–Love the deep magenta spots–

Not sure of the species, above, but I love these blooms–Below, the blooms of a lovely vining plant–

A bromeliad bloom in a beautiful purple color–A paphiopetalum almost hidden in plain sight–

Above, the tiny, pendulous white and crimson-spotted blooms of a Dracula species–Dendrobium victoria-reginae, below–

Yes, the plant above is an orchid–Several of us looked for tags, but could find none–It is gorgeous–

Another phalaenopsis species, above–

A lovely cattleya, below, and an interesting species, above–

That’s it for this post, a second with more photos to follow–Looking through these at this later date, I continue to be amazed at the ABG collection of orchids and other rare and unusual plants–

Griffinia Species

Two Griffinia species in bloom–The one on the left is Griffinia liboniana and the one on the right is unidentified, possibly espiritensis or a primary hybrid of–The flowers, though similar, are different in size and shape–

The leaves are different as well: liboniana has white spots, the left-side one has plain leaves–Grow these warm and in bright shade with good drainage and regular watering–I use a mix of 50/50 perlite and potting soil–Hopefully I’ll be able to identify the one soon–