Sunday, December 11, 2011

Masdevallia Marguerite 'Pink Champagne'

This is the second time this Masdevallia has flowered this year (sadly just a single flower each time) - last time I didn't get around to taking a picture of the flower (surprising seeing as it was the first Masdevallia we ever bloomed, but it's been a crazy year). Masdevallia Marguerite is M. infracta x M. veitchiana. This is supposed to be one of the more forgiving Masdevallias with regards to temperature tolerance. I guess flowering is a good sign! I had this in sheet moss (what I had to hand - it arrived bare root), but decided that was no good and changed to sphagnum/perlite the other day. It's now also in a clay pot, which may help keep it a bit cooler now OOAB is heating up for the summer months. For some strange reason, this flower has decided to grow sideways!

Masdevallia Marguerite 'Pink Champagne'
Most Masdevallias repay close inspection with a fabulous assortment of coloured hairs and other minute decorations.
The purple hairs on this hybrid certainly do!

OOAB Blooms Spring #2

Here's the continuation of the previous post.

Every so often you succumb to YAP (Yet Another Phalaenopsis) syndrome. These plants are everywhere, flaunting their orchid-ness in your face from shops around the world at oh-so-reasonable prices... Sometimes you just have to give in. The plant below was bought from Sherwood Garden Centre where the EPOS annual orchid show was being held; somehow, we didn't succumb to any of the plants for sale at the show (many of them were not in flower, and I don't know enough about orchids yet to jump up and down at just the name on a label, outside of things that happen to be on my wishlist!). Many of the others were large, and we're trying not to have to cover couches with plants to find them a home... However, we were faced with some delightful mini-phalaenopsis at the check-out, and we decided we had to have this one (which is still in bloom months later). How can you not find enough space for a mini-phal?
Phalaenopsis NOID mini.
NOID mini-Phal. I like the colours, particularly the off-white/yellowy picotee at the edge of the flower.
I've decided that certain groups of orchids are just great. Living in Africa, it kind of makes sense to have a fair number of Angraecoid orchids, and I cunningly bought a fairly epic tome on this group to feed that idea (perhaps not surprisingly, it's called Angraecoid Orchids: species from the African Region!). Here is another, Aerangis modesta. The leaves are a little shrivelled; previously, the aerial roots hung way down from the plant, but I've now persuaded them to wrap around the stick mount; adding a little sphagnum helps keep them a bit damper. I took this to an EPOS meeting, and Leon (owner of Caro-Lin Orchids) remarked that I should probably laugh off work to come home during the day to mist it... I think my solution is more fiscally sustainable! The plant has a jasmine scent, but much much more subtle than fastuosa; rather than filling up the room, you need to get quite close in and have a sniff.
Aerangis modesta close up
I didn't notice that crazy little structure in the middle of the flower until I took this picture.
Aerangis modesta
Aerangis modesta - long spurs on the flowers.
Aerangis modesta - whole plant

 We were quite pleased with our Dendrobium nobile, but apparently with only 7 large flowers it was a pretty poor show compared to the potential of these plants! Dendrobiums, it turns out, are a group of plants that mostly enjoy being tortured. In the wild, many (including nobile) go through a distinct dry season before they flower; if you don't replicate that (for instance, by being cavalier enough to water the poor thing), they tend to keiki more than flower. Ours did both! Apparently, you can also confuse them by making sure you don't fertilise - any nitrogen at all during the "rest period" seems to turn flowers off and keikis on!
Dendrobium nobile, close up of lip.
Fantastic colour!
Dendrobium nobile - note the whitish roots behind the flowers
Those are now attached to keikis, which I imagine I'll have to detach and pot up at some stage!
I like the delicate pinky/purple on the edges of the flowers and that deep purple throat.

Masdevallia Tangerine Dragon
Just before it opened
This is the second of our Masdevallias which decided to give us a flower; unfortunately, I never got around to taking a picture of the bloom once it opened, but it remained as a tubular flower with a fairly narrowly opened end. The M. mendozae in its ancestry clearly dominates over the M. veitchiana!  

Tolumnia pulchellum
Apologies for the rather dark photo...
This plant managed to put out a spectacularly long spike from a relatively small plant. I'm quite pleased with it, and can see why many people find Tolumnias very pleasing. In nature, they're twig epiphytes in the caribbean, so they enjoy breezes, light showers and quick drying off. I guess this loooong spike helps it stand out from the tree/bush it lives on! Note to self: remember light coloured flowers fool your light meter.

Dendrobium unicum
This plant has very unusual flowers, and I can't wait for this plant to get bigger and bigger!

Dendrobium loddigesii
This is a fabulous little plant - it had about 20 something flowers on it. I really like the colour combination and the frilly edge to the lip. Very sad I never got around to using my "proper" camera on it.

One of the nice things about belonging to an orchid society is you get the chance to interact with lots of other orchid growers, many of whom are generous with not only advice, camaraderie and encouragement to squeeze in just one more plant, but also help out in that regard by thrusting plant material at you. You can almost picture it as Orchids Anonymous.
"Hi, my name is James and it's been over 3 weeks since I last bought an orchid"
"Shame! Here, have this one!"
Eventually, I'm sure I'll be able to repay the kindness other growers have shown me, but it's a while off yet!

The following plant was kindly given to me by fellow EPOS member Sean, who said that Senior Management needed a gift (she's currently in Poland for 6 months).

Epc. Kyoguchi 'M Sauno' sub var SVO x L Seagulls Tangerine 'SVO' HCC
I imagine crossing the Epc with the L would make this an Epilaeliocattleya (Eplc.)!
Close up of the lip

I think SVO = Sunset Valley Orchids. They've recently bred an orchid that has essentially black flowers. For $100, you can have one...

This picture was taken just before the flowers finally scenesced, so it was originally better, with fuller flowers. It's a nice orange colour, and I like the contrasting colour on the lip too. The fairly understated flower overall also appeals.

After the EPOS annual function, where as well as a delicious braaied (barbequed) lunch, we also went on a walk down a forested valley looking at indigenous orchids (mainly Polystachya, all resolutely far away from my camera lens), Sean invited me back to his house, where we spent a pleasant afternoon wandering through his shade house and garden admiring the various plants he had. As well as the plant above, he also gave me a NOID Masdevallia which was practically bursting its pot, so I later divided it into 3, a Prosthechea prismatocarpa and a chunk of his Nepenthes pitcher plant, which I'm trying to persuade to root! EPOS gives each "family" that attends the function one plant in a lucky draw - ours turned out to be a Cattleya aquinii 'Francisco Miranda' x Cattleya loddigesii 'Aranda B' AM/AOS, which was not in flower - something to look forward to!

I ended up effectively swapping one of the NOID Masdevallia divisions for a Brassocattleya Morning Glory (B. nodosa x C. purpurata) a few weeks later with another member Margaret, after I trekked through to Port Elizabeth for some orchid supplies on a wet and rainy Sunday. It turns out that the society's "Cottage Shop" is on the plot where Caro-Lin Orchids greenhouses/shadehouses are, and I got a tour around the greenhouses and shadehouses from Christo. I saw even more examples of that orange Epilaeliocattleya cross, and each of them was quite different. There were lots of tempting things wafting around, and an entire mini-greenhouse filled with Masdevallias. And literally tens of thousands of Cymbidiums. Absolutely staggering numbers of plants, and I imagine I'll have to go back there with Intent at some stage in the future!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

OOAB Blooms Spring #1

I have, alas, continued in my plague theme of being far too busy to muck about with plant photography and blog posts; there have been quite a few nice blooms come and go here at OOAB HQ. I did manage to snap a few pictures of them here and there - sometimes only with a cellphone camera, but here they are nonetheless!

Beallara Peggy Ruth Carpenter 'Everglades'
(Bllra. Tahoma Glacier x Milt. Purple Queen)
Taken way back in September

This plant has recently re-bloomed; the flower looks better coloured this time (last time the inflorescence had several crowded blooms; this time just one - see below) - although Senior Management reminds me that the colour fades as the flower gets older, and the picture above was of fairly old blooms.

This plant seems very easy to grow and keeps throwing out new growths like crazy - it's starting to look quite crowded in its pot and may be ripe for a spot of dividing. One thing I was surprised at is if you stick your nose right in the flower and sniff, it smells very much like freshly ground white pepper. I've decided I quite like the idea of fragrant orchids, so I often "stop to smell the flowers". Apparently some of the other closely related hybrids smell of pepper strongly enough to fill the room with that scent.
Senior Managemetn and I really like the crazy petals both in their blotching and twisted shapes, but I'm sure orchid judges - those whimsical arbiters of "greatness" - would hate their deviance from perfection!

Zelglossoda Calico Gem 'Green Valley #1'
This is a great little plant that Senior Management saw at the local florist and decided we must have. I had spotted it a few days earlier and been sorely tempted by its deep purple flower buds, but Senior Management had strongly hinted that there is little space at OOAB HQ for new aquisitions, so I sadly passed it by. Imagine my delight when it showed up a few days later in bloom as a gift! Unfortunately, it didn't have a label and was a NOID for a little while. Shortly after we got it, I thought I should take it to the next EPOS meeting in case anyone had any idea what it was. It turned out that local orchid vendors Caro-Lin remembered selling this to the local florist, and so a few days later, I was given the name of this charming little plant.

Aerangis fastuosa
We took this Aerangis fastuosa plant along with the Zelglossoda above to the September EPOS meeting. One member remarked to me that we should have taken it to the annual show, where he considered it would have done very well in miniature or African sections - of course, stubbornly, not a single flower was open in time for the annual show. In the end, it won best species on the plant table at the meeting, joining the ranks of our plants other people think are quite good (the other being our Rhynchostylis coelestis)! This plant is remarkably strongly scented, like jasmine - almost overpoweringly so in a small car, particularly as the scent is strongest in the early evening; precisely when we climb into the car to go to EPOS meetings! I really like the delicate white flowers. I'm thinking about mounting this plant when I can find something to mount it on; the flowers would display much better.

Finally, here is our Dendriobium kingianum, one of our original orchids (prior to the fateful trip to Exotic Plant Company nearly a year ago) - i.e. before full blown orchid mania struck!

Dendrobium kingianum
These plants have an amazing variety of different lip and flower patterns - some people have literally hundreds of them! They're quite tough, forgiving orchids - pretty good beginner plants in my opinion - although their flowers are quite modest in size. I think they smell like hyacinths (not a smell I particularly enjoy).

I'll add another post a bit later with some more - spring time is good to us around these parts!

EPOS Annual Show

Bit of a break between going there, taking the pictures and getting around to posting, but they do say "better late than never", sooo...

Foolishly, I didn't make a note of many of the names of the plants (lesson learnt!), so quite a few of these won't have terribly informative names/captions. Unfortunately, none of our plants decided to declare it "spring" in time for the show.

First, some of the many, many Cymbidium on show.

Some of the awarded Cymbidiums: 
Close up of the flowers.
Judged Best Specimen Plant;
Cymbidium Brook Street 'Featherhill" x Cymbidium Ruby Eyes 'Red Baron'
Owned by Christo Botes.
Best Miniature Cymbidium
Cym. Mad Doctor x Cym. primulum 'Album'
Owned by Leon Davies

Best Orchid on Show &
Best Standard Cymbidium
Cym. Solana Beach x Cym. Bexley Radiance 'Deo Volente'
Owned by Christo Botes

Best Pendulous Cymbidium
Cym. Devon Gala x Cym Devon Odyssea 4N
Owned by Christo Botes

This post has been sitting in my drafts for ages - I'll follow up with some of the other orchids in due course :)