|Colman's Mustard... |
Nollie went on to describe the continuing quest for blue orchids - specifically blue Cattleya Alliance orchids - briefly covering the biochemical basis for orchid colours (anthocyanins and anthoxanthins), the role of intracellular pH on flower colour (explaining colour shift with flower age), and that intracellular pH was governed by about 5 genes, making it an extremely tricky quality to adjust through selective breeding and hybridisation.
|Colman's State-of-the-Art Glasshouses at Gatton Park|
From Gatton Park Archive
And from what I saw last night, "true blue" is pretty elusive in this Alliance; plenty of flowers got quite close, but they were always a bit purple or lilac or some similar "I'm a man and I have no idea what that colour is called, but it's not blue". OOAB's better half declared that perhaps some Cattleya weren't all that bad - and that they photographed poorly. We'd previously agreed they were trying a bit too hard to be fancy, and prefer less "showy" flowers on the whole.
Somewhat predictably, Cattleyas yet again walked away with the plant table prizes; one was a stunning red miniature grown by Cattleya enthusiast Sean, which won two prizes. Sean spent a few minutes chatting to us last night and invited us to stop by his greenhouse next time we were in PE - thanks for the invitation! Our plant table effort was our Stenoglottis, which an Orchid Board member pointed out was named Ganymede - so we now have a name for it beside its hybrid ancestry.
I could hardly pass up the opportunity to acquire some more orchids from Plantae, so we returned home with four new plants - apparently, I was the only person from the society to order a blue orchid from them, despite Nollie conveniently highlighting all the blue Cattleya Alliance plants in their price list! We've now added a Maxillaria tenuifolia (yay, coconut fragrance!), Mediocalar decoratum (cute miniature), Dendrobium unicum (another cute miniature with great yellow flowers) and, in honour of the talk, the aforementioned "blue" - Laelia sincorana f. coerulea. It was pretty hard to keep the order down to just four plants, but under strict instructions to only order two, I didn't think I'd push my luck... :) I'll post over the weekend with pics of these plants - as usual, great packaging and healthy plants.