Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My late flowering cymbidiums

Our cymbidium season well and truly over now and these beauties were flowering right at the end of our spring. I thought I'll show some of them here for everyone to enjoy their special blooms.
Now all of my cymbidium orchids on well deserved rest and I am looking forward to next flowering season.

Cymbidium Mem Marvin Gale "What's Going On"

Cymbidium "Orange Tango"
Cymbidium "Tropical Inferno"
Cymbidium "Passion"
Cymbidium "Pink Solitude"
Cymbidium "Luna Wall" x "Viva Las Vegas"
Cymbidium "Sussex Moon" x "Peteete Doll"
Cymbidium "Orange Dreamtime"

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Miltoniopsis Orchids

Mps. Lillian Nakamoto "Tanto"

Mps. Pink Mooma "Yosemite Sam"

Couple of my Miltoniopsis orchids currently in flower and I love their bright, cheerful blooms. They are native to high altitude wet cloud forests in the Andes of Costa Rica and they have large, showy flowers with a large lip. Their common name is "pansy orchid" and they produce many brightly colored, fragrant flowers on vigorously growing plants.

Many hybrids have been made utilizing the bright colors and attractive flower shape. They are easy to grow and their native situation gives glue to their cultivation - they require cool conditions with high humidity and good air movement. No watering rest period, well drained, yet moisture retaining potting mixture and no direct sunlight.

My plants get a lot of shade during our hot months and their seems to love their situation, I get a lot of repeat flowerings from these orchids throughout the year and I feel that they well worth the modest effort required to see their flamboyant, striking blooms.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NOID - Cymbidium Orchids

Here our cymbidium flowering season nearly finished, I still have a few late blooming varieties that are yet to put up a show, but I thought I'll feature a few beautiful cymbidiums that been with me for quite a few years, yet I have no idea of their names or origins.

Some were given to me by friends when they stopped flowering for them, some were rescued by me from old gardens being "redeveloped", others were picked up by me from the back benches of garden nurseries discarded, dried up and shriveled, not suitable for quick sale.
All of these plants gone through my "intensive orchid care unit" and with a bit of attention and patience  started flowering again and been rewarding me with their flamboyant blooms year after year. From my experience it does not take a lot to revive neglected plant - just quick checking of the root system, new fresh compost, shady situation in the garden and plenty of watering with occasional feed. And a bit of time to let the orchid to recover properly - after that just enjoyment and appreciation of these special plants.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Lycaste Kiama Margaret AM/AOS

My Lycaste Kiama Margaret just finished it's flowering this season, it's an interesting hybrid (Lycaste Koolena x Lycaste Macama) that have large flowers and good color, making it's a nice addition to any orchid collection.

Lycaste - from the Greek word for nymph, this genus was dedicated to the daughter of Priam, last King of Troy and the blooms have regal appearance to them, for sure. I love the deep wine color of the petals with some white markings on the lips and always look forward every season seeing this beauty in bloom.

These orchids native to West Indies, Mexico, Central and South America where they grow on trees or rocks from near sea level to high elevations in the mountains and have pseudobulbs and large, thin leaves which are shed as the growths mature. In the home situation it means that they require good drainage and air movement, some shade in the middle of our summer. They love plenty of water while actively growing and then reduced watering in their resting period.

Another beautiful orchid that easy to cultivate for experienced orchid grower as well as beginner and will reward year after year with it's special, majestic, spectacular blooms.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cymbidium orchid Cymbiflor Montage x Valley Zenith Discus

These days cymbidium orchids are the result of complex hybrids and produced and crossed to show unusual markings or larger flowers and this cymbidium have complex parentage. It's a cross of Cymbifor "Montage" x Valley Zenith "Discus" and it's currently in flower.

The blooms are very large, even for cymbidium, with many round petals, it have white extended lip with pale pink to dark burgundy colors and the effect is very nice, unusual blooms. While green color flowered orchids usually not as popular as other "traditional" colors, this one seems to work so well, it even have slight scent, very crisp and fresh.

I got seedlings of this plant couple of years ago and been looking forward seeing it in flower and this season it flowered first time for me. It would probably need another couple of seasons for the plant fully mature and reveal more of it's beauty and I am very happy with another beautiful cymbidium for my collection.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cymbidium orchid "Love Potion"

Some of my cymbidium orchids started to flower now and I am hopping to showcase their beautiful blooms later on in this blog, some are old trusted plants that been with me for many years and others, like this "Love Potion" completely new to me.
I got small seedling of this orchid a few years back and it's spent all of this time on the back bench growing and maturing and finally this season decided to send flower spike with a few blooms, but what a blooms - they are large, showy, very interesting color with many tones to them from dark burgundy to lighter with a bit of brown in the mix. The effect is flamboyant orchid with "an attitude", just like Love Potion. Since it's been awhile, I don't even remember how it came to me, must of been one of the experimental seedlings that I get from time to time, hopping to see something unusual and different. Until it flowers one does not know, but I love surprises and Love Potion seems to be true to it's name.

And of course I could not resist original "Love Potion" written by The Clovers in 1959 and so well performed by The Searchers and a little trip down the memory lane:

I took my troubles down to Madame Rue
 You know that gypsy with the gold-capped tooth
 She's got a pad down on Thirty-Fourth and Vine
 Sellin' little bottles of Love Potion Number Nine

 I told her that I was a flop with chics
 I've been this way since 1956
 She looked at my palm and she made a magic sign
 She said "What you need is Love Potion Number Nine"

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Flamboyant Odontioda's in flower

Oda. Eric Young x Oda, Holiday Dream
Oda. Vision Point

Couple of my Odontioda (Oda)  orchids in flower at the moment, they are complex hybrids from the Oncidium alliance and they bloom with most spectacular free-flowing colorful flowers. They are native to Brazil and the Andes where they grow at high elevation. The flowers of these orchids are large and showy and they are very popular with many orchids growers.

They are not the easiest orchids to bring to flower and require a bit of understanding and dedication and the answer, as usual, is to try to replicate their native growing requirements - they love constant watering and high humidity with plenty of air movement and prefer plenty of shade, especially in our hot summers. At the same time it's a delicate balance not to overwater them, since they dislike water droplets in the leaf axis and can go backwards quite quickly.

They are always a challenge for someone like me and I love their exotic, delicate , rare, romantic blooms and looking forward this time of the year to see how they reveal their special beauty, their colors and flamboyant blooms.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pot. Free Spirit "Liana" x Drumbeat "Triumph"

Here is another of my Potinara orchid that have been crossed with "Free Spirit" - this one is Pot. Free Spirit "Liana" x Drumbeat "Triumph", it's just finished flowering and I love the shape of it's blooms , it's colors combination  and it's striking, flamboyant beauty.

This cross is quite generous in terms of developing many flower spikes during it's flowering cycle and flowers for a number of weeks each year, giving constant bust of color during our winter time. I've purchased this orchid quite a few years ago and always looking forward seeing these blooms at flowering time.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pot. "Free Spirit"

Potinara genus, perhaps more than any other, has captured the enthusiasm and imagination of many orchid breeders and orchid growers throughout the world. Many orchid growers and collectors specialize in cultivation of Potinara's and other related genera, with these flamboyant, colorful hybrids found in many collections.

My Pot. "Free Spirit" is flowering at the moment and I love the color combinations of this orchid, it always gives me a boost of color therapy in the middle of our winter. It's so nice to see reds/ orange/ yellow colors during gray rainy weather. The blooms of "Free Spirit" are large, showy, lush, spectacular, uncompromising and beautifully sculptured and I hope I was able to capture the beauty of this orchid.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Potinara "Dream Cloud"

Here is an introduction to another beautiful orchid that just finished flowering - it's Potinara "Dream Cloud". It's complicated hybrid between Cattleya x Brassavola x Laelia x Sopronites and was created by breeding between closely related genera. There are many such interesting hybrids around these days and this one is just one of them.

The flowers of Dream Cloud" are quite large and it's very generous, producing many beautiful blooms during flowering season and I hope I was able to capture the beauty of them. Relaxed petals, vibrant color combinations, flamboyant look is what usually attracting people to these orchids. My "Dream Cloud" been with me for quite a few years now and always rewards me with these special, majestic blooms. In our climate it flowers right in the middle of winter, nicely filling the gap between autumn and early spring flowering orchids.
These orchids very easy to grow and always popular with beginners, they very tolerant of poor conditions and neglect, yet reward everyone with these attractive, special blooms.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cattleya labiata

Some of my cattleya orchids started to show their flamboyant blooms and one of the first one's to flower is cattleya labiata - pretty orchid originated in mountains of Brazil. They have kind of compressed middle and it usually blooms with these beautiful 2 flowers on each pseudobulbs.

These orchids are among the easiest orchids to grow, very tolerant of different conditions and suitable for beginner as well as for experienced grower. They will grow in almost any compost provided it drains well. They like light shade and plenty of water during growing season and in our climate do well in the green house as well as under the shade of the trees in summer. They usually flower in late autumn/ early winter with large, beautifully sculptured fragrant blooms and they very popular with orchid hobbyist as well as general gardeners. I am looking forward seeing some more of these fragrant, colorful beauties this season.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Song of the Plants

We are currently in between flowering season here and majority of my summer flowering orchids now resting. All late autumn and winter blooms not here yet so my attention turned to repotting and general maintenance of my plants. That of course does not meant that new and exiting discoveries not happening.

For a while I wanted to write about the Song of the Plants and to introduce everyone to this magical energy. Since everything is a vibration, plants like everything else have their own tone and harmonics. Many "plant" people know this already, in the deeper parts of themselves they have discovered this truth.

Do we talk to our plants and do they talk back? What do they communicate back to us and can we understand them? Often one needs to go beyond the mind and the logic and just let plants to express themselves. I've been asked numerous times about cultivation techniques for different orchids and I am always lost for words to describe the whole growing cycle of any plant and my best advise is to just listen to the plant, it will tell one exactly what it needs to thrive in your own environment. Some people find this concept difficult in our "Age of Reason", yet growing beautiful orchids or roses or trees or herbs is never a mental or logical exercise, we all do that because we love their energy.

Native people have always considered plants as living beings who's power lies in their energetic or vibrational qualities. The energy pattern of every plant is unique and has it's own special characteristics. We all grow different plants because we are now rediscovering concept of wholeness - a recurring theme in many ancient philosophies and it's relevance to us. Wise men living several thousands of years ago proposed that when we are totally integrated, the life force abounds, bringing with it real sense of health and happiness. The way to attain such inner harmony, they claimed, is to respect Nature and her ways.

Quite a few years ago I had an opportunity to visit eco village of Damanhur in Northern Italy, the sustainable community of people who live in balance with all Nature and have the most fondest memories of that place and it's people. And I was delighted finally to find recording of singing plants taken at Damanhur and to share it with you all.
As usual, I have more questions than answers, questions like" do native plants have different harmony" or "is healing plants have different energy" or "does ancient plants vibrate differently from hybrids" or "different color of same plant have different harmonics" or "do birds singing in the trees or in the forest contribute to plant's energetic makup" - and many many more questions. I am still looking for an answers and in the mean time, here is the Celestial Song of the plants - enjoy it:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Orchid Odm. Serendipity

This beautiful odm. Serendipity currently in flower in my greenhouse, its a cross between odm. cirrhosum x praestens and it flowers with abundance with many free-flowing arching flower spikes. The blooms predominately white with dark burgundy shadings and spots and bright yellow middle and the flowers have a bit of spidery appearance to them. I don't know who crossed this orchid, but by the name given to it it tells a story of "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise" with the finished product.

Like all Odontoglossum's it likes constant watering and high humidity with plenty of air movement, dislike sun and prefer to be in the shade most of the time. Their origin cloud forests of South America, constantly cool, wet habitats and in cultivation can be a challenge to replicate their native growing condition. Still, with a bit of dedication they reveal their beauty and reward with many special blooms that last a few weeks.

I've been away from blogging for a while, did some travel, attended to urgent family matters, done some studies and now back and hopefully will be able to share more of the magical orchids with you all.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cymbidium orchid - "Dream Therapy"

Another beautiful cymbidium orchid just finished it's flowering season and it's a cross of cymbidium "Dream Therapy" - very nice and unusual. It's parentage is quite complicated, giving a kind of two-tone effect to the blooms. It's a cross of Dream Therapy x Eazan Shining "Ginger Kisses" x Glittering Gold .

The flowers have a bit of oriental feel to them, displaying interesting color of bronze/ yellow and a touch of green with wide white/red middle and the whole effect of the blooms have very pleasing to the eye combination. It also have very nice light scent that is difficult to describe, it smells of "freshness" - crisp, clean and bright.
Some time ago I purchased couple of seedlings of this orchid hopping to see unusual flower and this season it's flowering first time. The plant is still small and as it matures I expect to see more of these interesting and special blooms.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Native Dendrobiums in flower

Being first month of spring, my native dendrobiums orchids currently in bloom. They are some of the easiest orchids to grow and every year reward me with many scented and sculptured flowers.

All of my natives grow outside under the shade of the trees and exposed to all elements, they don't get any special treatments - just an occasional watering during hot summer months, other than that they are very tough and enjoy all kind of weather. In nature they grow attached to the trees or on the rocks and used to surviving harsh weather making them ideal orchids to grow for the beginner.
They are rather un-complicated , have the beauty all of their own and every year, in early spring put up a show and a display heralding the new growing season.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Trip to Far North Qld

I've just returned from my trip to Far North Qld, been away for a while visiting this beautiful part of the world. Took many trips and excursions and seen many natural wonders of that protected World Heritage area. Learned so much from passionate people and local guides who really care and preserve this delicate environment and was given an opportunity to share in their knowledge and wisdom.

Seen whales frolicking in the ocean and crocodiles in Proserpine river, visited some sacred Aborigines sites and learned about healing properties of many native plants, seen beautiful native orchids growing in canopies of trees in Daintree river and was introduced to many species of birds and animals that are at home in these protected areas. Walked in the rainforests that are thousands years old and learned many old legends, as old as the "time" itself. Tried many exotic foods and fruits and seen the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef in all it's splendor.

Met many local and native guides and shared their knowledge and experiences, legends and stories, promised Tui of Daintree River Cruise Centre to thank him via this blog for his passionate love of the Daintree river and for manuvering and taking the boat so much closer to the edges so that I can look at the plants and orchids, while snakes were resting on the overhead branches and crocodiles lurking in the water below. The local guides and local guided commentary is so important on the trip like that and all these people share such passion and love of the area, delicate eco-system and their real love for environment. There is so much healing energy in that part of the world, energy that is bold, uncompromising, sacred, primeval, majestic, spectacular, unusual, unchanged, confident and I feel enormous privilege to be able to share and experience that healing energy.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cymbidium Henri Choo

Winter in our part of the world is cymbidium orchids flowering time and this beautiful cymbidium Henri Choo is currently blooming in my greenhouse. It's one of the novelty cymbidiums that have a lot of splashes and stripes on it's petals. At the moment it's one of the "collector's items" but I am sure that in the near future it will be available everywhere.
There is definite trend in cymbidium orchids and current one is to have many stripes and different blotches on the blooms and "Henri Choo" splendidly represents this trend.

It's parentage is Enzan Shining x Death Wish and the blooms have this oriental appearance to them, the color predominantly orange/bronze with many markings with large lip slightly lighter color and the whole effect displayed as if been painted by a paint brush. Another beautiful creation by a breeder who can see so much potential in both parents.

My plant is only a couple of years old, I got it some time ago as seedling and it's interesting for me to discover it's beauty and it's potential. It's been growing strong and this season "Henri Choo" started to show off it's beauty - large, bold blooms, unusual markings and strong, vigorous plant with repeat flowering - another winner for cymbidium world of orchids.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Coelogyne mooreana orchid - "Wild One"

My Coelogyne mooreana "Wild One" in flower at the moment. It's one of the beautiful varieties that are easy to grow for a beginner, as well as experienced orchid collector. It flowers with these large pristine white blooms that are sweetly scented, and quite a delight to see in the middle of our winter.

Coelogyne genus currently consist of about 150 different species, native to India to the Pacific Islands and as far north as southern China and the Philippines. They grow in the habitats from sea level to the high mountains and prefer semi-shade conditions and situations and in our climate quite happy to grow outside under the shade of the trees.

They are one of the easiest orchids to grow and to bring to flower and can grow quite quickly into large, bulky plants producing many sprays of sweetly scented blooms. They can also be planted in hanging baskets to show off their special flowers.

My plant is var "Wild One" native to Vietnam where it grows at moderate to high altitudes. It have upright inflorescence that usually develops from the new growth and have fragrant flowers, each about 8cm across. I've been growing it quite a few years now, it's quite constant performer and lives up to it's name, I divide it every couple of years and many of my friends share the beauty of the "Wild One" now.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cymbidium Orchid - "Night Angel"

This is the first month of winter in our part of the world and it means that fabulous cymbidium orchids started it's seasonal flowering again. Many of my plants very busy at the moment, developing new flower spikes and ready to to put up a show. It's nice to see some of my old plants growing strong as well as discovering new and unusual first-time for me bloomers.

Right now earlier flowering varieties started to show their flowers and one of them this cymbidium Night Angel. It's parents "Sylvania" x "Something Fabulous" and it looks like a very interesting cross. The flowers predominantly pink with slight stripes and a bit of luminous quality to them offset by darker velvety middle - very nice combination.
I got a couple of small seedlings of this variety some time ago and this is it's first flowering, so only a few blooms on each flower spike this season, but it looks like "Night Angel" will be another beautiful addition to my cymbidium orchid collection.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Turkish wild orchids ice cream

My first taste of salepi dondurma, a unique Turkish ice cream made from tubers of wild orchids was many years ago in Grand Bazaar of Istanbul during school trip to this vibrant, beautiful colorful city. Since then, I've tried it many times at different international Food and Wine shows here in Sydney and always love an opportunity to taste it again and again.

Dondurma is the Turkish word for ice cream and salep is the whitish flour milled from the dried tubers of wild, terrestrial orchids grown through Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor. Local people collect the orchid tubers for this uniquely Turkish delicacy and this dessert made from tubers flour, milk and sugar. The frozen mixture then beaten with metal rods until it's very elastic in texture and can be eaten with a knife and fork. The taste - slightly sweet, nutty, subtle earthy and comes in many flavors - apricot, pistachio, peach, vanilla, red currant and many others.

Originally, salepi dondurma was mixed by hand. It was then pounded to a smooth consistency with metal rods, and then stretched by hand. These days gelato machines used for freezing and mixing, but the final product is still beaten and kneaded with metal rods for some time, to achieve the proper degree of elasticity.
This delicacy, I was told, also have unique medicinal properties and according to Gioscorides, Greek Physician from First-Century AD and other more recent experts in this field, salepi dondurma can " heal the spleen, prevent cholera and tuberculosis, facilitate childbirth, stop your hands and feet from shaking, prevent getting lump on your back, keep your chest soft, heal bronchitis and used as an aphrodisiac when needed." For many years now I've been evaluating long-term benefits of wild orchids ice-cream and look for it anytime opportunity presents itself.

Ahh, but perhaps the best medical advice about the properties of salepi dondurma I received from colorful ice-cream vendor in Istanbul all these years ago - "it will cure those who mentally fallen crazy in love"... No comment.

Here is a short video showing traditional serving of ice-cream by Turkish ice-cream vendors:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Oncidium chrysomorphum orchid x Oda.(Cherubino x Wearside Pattern)

There are many hundreds of handsome hybrids made with Oncidium orchids and with closely to them related genera. Some of them quite complex and complicated and this is one of them. It's Onc. Chrysomorphum x Oda. (Cherubino x Wearside Pattern) and it's currently in flower.

My orchid flowers at the end of our autumn/ early winter with masses of bright, yellow/orange blooms with many long flowering arching spikes that about 50 cm long. It's slightly fragrant, just a hint of cinnamon , not overpowering and very pleasing. It's always nice to see vibrant flamboyant colors in autumn and winter and I get my "color therapy" fix from this one.

Despite its complicated background it's quite easy to cultivate and to bring it to flower, it like well-drained bark mix and plenty of moisture during warm weather with less watering during colder months. It can be mounted on tree-fern slabs or cork mounts.

It's another beautiful orchid to have in one's collection that rewards with exotic, special, colorful, flamboyant blooms.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Odontoglossum nobile orchid ( Full Moon x Tiffany)

Another of my beautiful Odm. nobile orchid currently in flower - it's very nice cross named 'Full Moon x Tiffany" and it flowers with huge white pink dotted blooms. The flowers are large and free flowing relaxed petals and plant producing many long sprays of them during it's blooming season. It's also a scented orchid that have strong smell of jasmine that lingers for a long time - an absolute delight!
The flowers stay on the plant for about three weeks or so and many new flower spikes develop during it's flowering time, giving an opportunity to really enjoy this beautiful and special creation.

Odontoglossum nobile native to clouded forests of Colombia, found in an high elevation of 2400m and in our climate perfectly suited to greenhouse cultivation - it needs moderate light, dry conditions between watering and free flowing orchid compost so it can drain freely. Odm. nobile have pristine white large blooms and this variety of Full Moon x Tiffany displaying larger ( 8.5cm) and more colorful flowers.

It's another beautiful orchid that easy to cultivate for experienced orchid grower as well as beginner and will reward year after year with it's special, majestic scented blooms.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Oncidium orchid Sharri Baby "Sweet Fragrance"

My wonderful Oncidium Sharri Baby currently in flower - it's variety "Sweet Fragrance" and have beautiful scented blooms, reminiscent of "sour cherries" - what a delight! It flowers with masses of small sculptured flowers on long arching flower spikes and flowers are burgundy color with just a touch of white on the petals.

Sharri Baby is one of the most famous of the Oncidium hybrids ( Jamie Sutton x Honolulu) and "Sweet Fragrance" lives up to it's name, it's one of the best known fragrant orchids on the market today. It's very generous in it's growing habit, producing many new bulbs and leaves and flower spikes during it's growing season and can get quite large specimen in short period of time. This never a problem to me - I just divide it and share it with friends and other orchids growers and collectors.

It's one of the easiest orchids to grow for the beginners - it likes a lot of water during it's growing time and to be a little bit drier when it's resting, in our climate it's quite happy to grow outside under the shade of the trees, but in colder climates it loves sunny window situation. It have large pseudobulbs that will shrivel if the plant not getting enough moisture, indicating optimum growing requirements.

The original Sharri Baby hybrid have chocolate/vanilla scented flowers and Sharri Baby "Sweet Fragrance" beautiful "sour cherry" scented blooms and if you ever wanted to grow an orchid or two, give them a go - they easy and will reward you with their special fragrant blooms.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Laelia tenebrosa "Nicci"

My beautiful and flamboyant Laelia tenebrosa native to Brazil just finished it's flowering season - it's variety "Nicci" and in our climate it's blooming in autumn.

Laelia genus previously comprised more than 60 different species, but it has recently been revised and now contains only a few from Central America. Their growth habitat closely resembles that of Cattleya's and in cultivation they require similar conditions. They need well-drained mix and plenty of watering during growing time and then drier situations during dormant months.
The flowers of Laelia tenebrosa are large and showy( 19 cm/7 1/2 inches) , scented, wide open up to four blooms on each flower spike. Colors can vary and my "Nicci" variety displays beautiful bronze/purple blooms that loved by everyone, even though it's unusual color combination, being on the opposite side of the color wheel. Nature's creations...

This beautiful orchid was first documented in 1800's and it's origin's traced to small area of Espirito Santo state in Brazil, where it now considered virtually extinct. It grew in dense forests on large trees and that area of the rain forest now been totally destroyed. Most of the plants available today come from sub crosses or clones of old jungle plants. One really hopes that some original genes still left and breeders can recreate this magical orchid, to be enjoyed by everyone.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Phaius tankervilleae orchid

These beautiful orchids native to India, Southern Asia, New Guinea, Australia and many islands of the pacific very popular with gardeners and orchid collectors. There are currently about 50 species in phaius genus and tankervilleae is one of them. In nature they can be found in a variety of habitats and altitudes. They have squat pseudobulbs and large, pleated leaves. The flower spikes erect with several large, colorful flowers.

These species are terrestrial, which means that they happily grow in the garden and present great opportunity for landscaping with orchids in mild climates. They quite easy to grow and to flower, providing some of their requirements are met - they love organically rich soil, they prefer to be kept moist year-round and fertilized while actively growing. Plants of this very popular species will grow and flower under direct sunlight, but the best results are achieved with shaded conditions. If you have shaded spot in the garden and would like to grow an orchid or two, try phaius - they quite hardy and easy to grow and will reward you with many beautiful blooms.

There are other colorful phaius varieties - for instance phaius flavus have huge yellow/red color blooms, phaius pulchellus blooms with dark burgundy color flowers, there are others with lime green or dark brown or orange/ copper colored flowers, presenting quite a range for landscaping with orchids.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rhizanthella slateri - rare underground orchid

This very unusual and very rare eastern orchid lives under the ground as rhizomes. When it wants to flower, it comes up to the surface and breaks the surface but is still under the leaf litter, and that's where it flowers.

Eastern underground orchids have been spotted at just a handful of sites in NSW and southern QLD, but scientists think there may be more undiscovered colonies of this rare and unusual prehistoric orchid. Through painstaking field work about a dozen of this endangered orchids were identified - but the exact locations were kept secret from the public.

Scientists are celebrating saving of this unusual orchid from the blades of a bulldozers on the NSW central coast earlier this year and their protection from a new highway project, north of Newcastle. They collected the plants for seed and transported them 430 km south to Canberra, but never expected them to survive and to flower. But they have - sending up several red-brown heads of flowers about the size of 20 cent piece - living scientists, and all orchid enthusiasts hopeful for the future of the species. They are planning to introduce this orchid back into the wild and ensure the long-term survival of this rare plant.
There was also extensive negotiations with RTA ( Roads and Traffic Authority) and the route of the highway was altered to avoid the known colonies of rhizanthella slateri, while other native plants were salvaged from the bulldozers.

So, here it is - extremely rare underground orchid saved for future generations to admire and to study and preserve and cherish and the motorists using soon-to-be-completed highway bypass North of Newcastle will notice strange bends in the highway - they actually tweaked the highway... it's got slight kink in it, because the orchid's there.