Posts Tagged ‘Bulbophyllum’

A great little species bloomed last week: Bulbophyllum frostii. (See the three blooms on the Photo page.) Blossoms look like tiny elves’ slippers. The only downside is that, like many bulbophyllum, frostii’s blooms are a little stinky – not bad, though, because the flowers are so small. In fact, to get even a slight whiff of the carrion odor, you have to put your nose almost in the shoe.

The photo at the left shows my greenhouse pump spray bottles. They each have a specific use – watering, fertilizing, bug spraying, etc. Sometimes the pumps on these bottles get clogged, especially the one that holds the neem oil solution I use for combatting scale. [See November 18, 2009 post for the ingredients in this effective insecticide solution.]

For a long time, I’ve tried unsuccessfully to unclog the pumps using various techniques like running hot water over the pump and/or inserting needles into the spray hole. Rarely did I have success. Last weekend, I found the solution. Most people have already figured this out, but for those few who haven’t…pump very warm tap water through the bottle. Clears the clog in seconds!

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Hats off to the folks who skillfully create and display bouquets of cut orchids. It’s not an easy skill to learn. This weekend, I made each of the women in my family an orchid corsage. While the project was fun, the results were mediocre. [The photo on the left shows one of the four corsages, this one using Rth. Hsinying Catherine.]

Pleurothallis tribuloides

The photo on the right is my blooming Pleur. tribuloides. A few years ago, this orchid was displayed in a local orchid society’s exhibit. I heard one of the exhibit’s visitors point to the plant and comment to a friend, “Why would anyone want to raise an orchid with such insignificant blooms?”

I’ve thought about that remark many times. I’m not sure that I have an answer. Certainly, orchids with big blossoms (I’ve referred to them in earlier posts as In-Your-Face giants) are hugely satisfying to raise.

The little ones are another matter. I’ve held a magnifying glass up to a tiny orchid and have seen a bloom with all the parts of a giant catt, only in miniature. Could be that’s the answer… these are blooms you have to go looking for. These are the ones that are easily overlooked.  And maybe that’s why, in their own way, they’re so satisfying, too.

Bulbophyllum echinolabium (inforescense)

Almost five years ago, I bought a Bulb. echinolabium seedling. This spring, for the first time, I spotted an inflorescence on the plant. I don’t usually take photos of bloomless inflorescence…but I’m making an exception here. [See February 6 post.] Talk about satisfying!

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Remounting the Bulb. jersey was on the agenda this weekend.

I bought the plant four years ago as a one-year-old seedling, and when it languished in a plastic pot, almost dying during one winter, I decided to mount it, since I’d had luck by mounting my other bulbophyllum. Although my mounted Bulb. jersey has now grown into a strong adult plant, it has never bloomed.

Remounting the plant consisted of applying a thick layer of sphagnum moss over the bare roots. Images of the process are on the Photos page.

This week’s photos also show Phal. schillariana in bloom. [I have two Phal. schillariana. One is potted, which is blooming, and one is mounted. I bought the latter Phal. two years ago as a young plant in order to see if I could get it to bloom on a mount. It’s still too young to flower, but I’ve included a photo of it to show the netting that I often use to secure moss on a mount. The netting came from a bag of onions. I keep that type of netting on hand to use on mounts and for lining baskets.]

Phal. stuartiana closeup

 The photograph shown here is a closeup of my Phal. stuartiana and its tiny butterfly-shaped callus just below the column. It’s just this type of easily-overlooked flourish that adds such joy to orchid growing.

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Of my 32 Top Favorite orchids, these 11 earn four out five points (See the Nov. 3 post for the ranking criteria). (Again note the ones with an asterisk *. In a few days, I’ll do a special post about these.): 

  • Brassia Rex (reliable and profuse bloomer, knockout bloom, and durable plant)
  • Cirropetalum Elizabeth Ann ‘Jean’* (reliable and profuse bloomer, knockout bloom, and durable plant)
  • Cycnoches Jean E. Monnier* (reliable and profuse bloomer, knockout bloom, and durable plant)
  • Maxillaria tenuifolia* (reliable and profuse bloomer, fabulous scent, and durable plant)
  • Makara Salaya Red (reliable and profuse bloomer, knockout bloom, and durable plant)
  • Mexipedium xerophyticum ‘Oaxaca’ CBR/AOS* (reliable and profuse bloomer, knockout bloom, and durable plant) [This knockout blossom is diminutive.]
  • Onc. Sharry Baby* (reliable and profuse bloomer, fabulous scent, and durable plant)
  • Paphinia Majestic (reliable and profuse bloomer, knockout bloom, and durable plant)
  • Psychopsis Mendenhall* (reliable and profuse bloomer, knockout bloom, and durable plant)

    3 blooms on Psychopsis Mendenhall

  • Slc. George Hausermann ‘Carl’* (reliable bloomer, knockout bloom, mildly scented and durable plant)
  • Vanda sensei blue* (reliable and profuse bloomer, knockout bloom, and durable plant)

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The Collection list is complete (see The Collection tab above). The number of my orchids is down considerably from a year ago. In an effort to trim the collection to a more manageable size , I’ve sold plants and discarded the sickly and incorrigible ones.

Of the 118 orchids that remain, a dozen or so are little more than seedlings. Many others haven’t been around long enough for me to know very much about them.

Thirty two of those 118, however, qualify as my Top Favorites. Selection is based on five criteria: reliable bloomer, knockout bloom, profuse bloomer,  fabulous scent and durable plant.

Epi parkinsonianum #2

Epi. parkinsonianum

I decided to rank these 32 favorites using a fairly objective point system. For example, a plant that is  durable and a reliable bloomer, with a knockout bloom – BUT has no scent and isn’t a particularly profuse bloomer – would earn three points.

With that system in mind, here are the last four orchids on the 32 list. Each earned two points (none of the 32 only received one point):

  • Bulb. lasiochilum (reliable and durable – and a very interesting but not a knockout bloom)
  • Epidendrum parkinsonianum (durable and knockout)
  • Phal. bellina (reliable and fabulous scent)
  • Phal. tetraspis (reliable and durable)

Next post will talk about the orchids among the Top 32 that received three points — the largest group in the rankings.

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