Saturday, May 9, 2015

Dendrobium bigibbum in flower

One of my dendrobiums currently flowering, another name for this orchid is Cooktown orchid and its Queensland's state floral emblem. It's native to northeastern Australia and PNG and many variations of color and form exists for this specie - from pure pristine white to dark purple this orchid delights with abundance of blooms during it's flowering season.

My Cooktown orchid white with many purple stripes at the end of the petals and always flowers at about this time of the year. These orchids are easy to grow for the beginner, not fussy, they like plenty of light and reduced watering in winter. The blooms are long - lasting and new flower spikes are forming during it's growing season giving recurring wonderful display of perfect, beautifully formed blooms.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cymbidium orchids - new flowering season

Cymbidium orchid "Lucy"
Cymbidium orchid "Orange Gem"
Now that our hot weather well and truly over, some of my earlier cymbidium orchids started their blooming season. Interesting, the first one's to flower were these two purchased by me couple of years ago as small unflowered seedlings with hope of seeing something unusual in color or structure of the blooms. They have spent all this time at the back bench growing and maturing and this is their first flowering season.

Until they flower, one does not know exactly if the seedlings will mature into beautiful orchids and I always hope that I will see special blooms, adding to my ever increasing collection. These two did not disappoint - love the vivid colors, the masses of flowers, the structure of the lip. the plants robust heath - great addition to my cymbidium clan.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Phalaenopsis - back to basics

In this post I thought I'll go back to basics and will share with you my techniques for growing these beautiful plants. One of my personal rules for growing any orchid is to find out as much as I can about it's native habitat and to try to match it as much as possible. This genera contains more than 60 species which been crossed between themselves to obtain the beautiful colors and shapes and sizes. but the basics remain same for successful cultivation. Of course, every growers conditions are different, yet once the basics are understood, these orchids will reward you with many many years of blooms.

Here is the video showing phalaenopsis growing in natural habitat -

Note the light intensity, the amount of moisture, the way the plant positioned - all of these things are the clues for understanding what these orchid need and how they like to be kept.
I don't know how many times I've heard advice not to over water them, yet in they natural environment moisture is everywhere and from my personal experience mastering the watering  techniques is a major part of growing them successfully.

What they don't like is overhead watering, with moisture collecting between the leaves because in nature they hang on the trees at an angle so all excess moisture just slips away.  They are sold potted upright in containers, so the easier way to water them is by dunking them just below the crown so that the roots can absorb the moisture from the bottom.  Also, I fertilize them same way - dissolving fertilizer in the water at a very weak rate may be once a month - they really appreciate it.

Phalaenopsis are epiphytes ( air - plants) , they roots need plenty of air and light to flower successfully and what usually happens is that they sold in plastic pots where only air roots at the top see the light and the bottom, the feeder roots promptly start rotting away because it’s unnatural for them to be enclosed in thick plastic pot. What I always do is re-pot them in clear plastic pot with many large holes made around and the bottom of the pot. The choice of container is up to you - anything with clear plastic will do, as long as the light can penetrate the area around the roots, the more holes made, the better it is for the plant. It means that they will get watered and dry out quick, imitating their natural requirements. They love this kind of environment and send many flower spikes during growing season.

Here are some of my plants that flowering at the moment -

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cycnoches loddigesii orchid “Wine Delight”

Cycnoches loddigesii orchid “Wine Delight”

This orchid was one of "impulse" purchases a few years back that happens to me from time to time and for a long time I had a bit of problem flowering it. The other name for this orchid is "swan orchid" because the blooms suppose to resemble swans.

The specie native to Brazil and the North of South America and lives in hot, steamy lowland habitats and for a long time I could not replicate it's growing requirements or the light factors. It died back quite substantially and spent a lot of time on the back bench however this summer decided to flower by sending a couple of flower spikes.
It just finished flowering and the blooms are quite interesting, deep wine color. I am still not sure if it need a lot of care or total neglect to induce blooming, so I am learning with this one bit by bit.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

“Come Waltz With Me” this Valentine’s day…

Phal Midnight Waltz

To all romantic hearts of Past, Present and Future...

 Come walk with me and let go of the way you are going
Come talk to me and I'll tell you what's really worth knowing
Life's much too good, my friend. Don't let it end.

Come dance with me and I'll give you a gift worth giving

Take a chance with me and I'll show you a life that's worth living
Life's much too good, my friend. Don't let it end.

 Come and waltz this Valentine’s day with Demis Roussos, Dmitri Shostakovich and all who gave their heart freely and unconditionally to the other.

PS - thanks to Nina Janka for creating such special tribute to Demis Roussos

Monday, February 2, 2015

Brassia arcuigera

brassia arcuigera

One of my brassia's just finished it's flowering season, again rewarding with masses of delicate, slightly perfumed flowers.
This plant native to Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, and Peru and like to grow under a light, filtered shade. In it's native habitat it grows in wet rain forests and in home situation it's very easy orchid to grow.

The flowers have slight jasmine scent and last for several  weeks and the plant tolerate normal garden conditions quite easy - it needs plenty of water during growing time and shady situation for most of the year, making it an ideal orchid to grow for the beginners. It also flowers twice a year during spring and early autumn, putting up quite a show of delicate, spidery blooms.
brassia arcuigera1

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My stanhopea tigrina var nigroviolacea

Stanhopea tigrina var nigroviolacea

At the moment we are experiencing hot and very humid weather here and not many of my orchids currently in flower, however there is a group that enjoy's this kind of conditions and it's stanhopea orchids.

My stanhopea nigroviolacea flowers opened up this morning and I was able to take this picture as the blooms were unfolding. It have the most magical scent - heavy chocolate mixed with strong vanilla and the smell very forceful and lingers for a long time.

Unfortunately, the blooms only last a few days and then it's all over for another season which will be next year - these orchids are not for an impatient grower, however they have their own unusual beauty and many people appreciate their uniqueness. I find them easy orchids to grow - they need open bottom planters so that flower spikes can push thru, they appreciate shade for most of the year and plenty of watering. Then what's left is just to enjoy them and marvel at Nature's creation.

I can't say enough about stanhopea's and their special beauty, but Barney Greer, one of first Australian experts on this genera documented and described them this way:

"...I couldn't believe my eyes. It's huge savage beauty, it's uninhibited perfume, the incredible sculpture of the lip! The way the buds exploded into life, flaunted their brazen charms like Can Can dancers and then fell in a heap! This was an ORCHID. I was hooked..." B Greer

Friday, January 2, 2015

My flowering phalaenopsis orchids today

Some of my phalaenopsis orchids are flowering at the moment. They always bring a lot of color at the time when most of my orchids are resting - right in the middle of our summer. The flowering period is long and there is plenty of time to enjoy their fabulous blooms.

I found that there is a bit of confusion especially for beginners on how to grow and to maintain these orchids, volumes of information abound everywhere and most of it complicated. The result is for many they became throw-away plants, quickly replaced by the new one's with same outcome. Right now I have a few plants in my "intensive care orchid unit" given to me for revival
 that are doing nicely, recovering with great speed.

In the near future I'll do a post and will share my own techniques for growing these fabulous plants and in the mean time here are the pictures of my flowering phalaenopsis

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dendrobium aemulum "Star Shower"

This beautiful native been with me for quite a few moons, originally purchased as a discounted plant in rather sorry condition yet recovered fully in it's first growing season. Every year it rewards with long spikes and massive displays of scented creamy flowers and usually blooms when all other orchids resting filling the gap nicely.

In it's native habitat it grows in moist areas of eastern Australia and loves plenty of watering especially at the beginning of it's flowering season. Other than that, it's very easy to look after and tolerates most conditions, in winter I grow it in a greenhouse in a sunny spot with some other natives and then take it out under the shade of the trees for the rest of the year.

"Star Shower" is a beautiful orchid, appreciated by everyone for it's masses of scented blooms that reward year after year.

Dendrobium aemulum "Star Shower?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Back to Orchids... Back to blogging...

I've taken a break from my blog for a while and recently decided to get back and start sharing again information about the beautiful orchids that I love.  I needed a break to deal with drama's of life , to travel and to attend to some pressing health issues, to learn and to experience many new concepts and understandings.

I am forever grateful for all messages that I received via this blog and happy that I was able to share with you all my love and fascination of orchids and hope that I will be able to continue to do same in the future.

Here are some pictures of my travels where I tried to capture the mystery and the energy of the places, to learn and to apply the magic of the places and the plants that native to them and to glimpse at the world that is so close to us yet so mysterious.

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.