Friday, January 23, 2009

Cymbidium Eastern Morning 'Shunshoku'

This is a neat plant! It is a primary hybrid between Cym. goeringii and Cym. lowianum var. 'concolor'. It is surprising that goeringii (pod parent) had the ability to shrink lowianum (pollen parent) down to a compact plant. For someone like me who has limited growing space indoors, this is definitely an advantageous feature. Definitely a keeper!

Natural Spread: 7 cm (h), 7cm (v)
Dorsal Sepal: 5.3 cm (l), 1.5 cm (w)
Lateral Sepal: 5.0 cm (l), 1.5 cm (w)
Petals:4.3 cm (l), 1.2 cm (w)
Lip:3.0 cm (l), 1.5 cm (w)

Five flowers on an upright inflorescence measuring 40 cm in length. Substance light; texture creamy. Sepals and petals light green, yellowing towards the margin, with green longitudinal veins; lip creamy white base overlaid with light yellow, mid-lobe enhanced with red along the margin, lip center enhanced with vertical line of red stipples; column dorsal surface light green with yellow anther cap, column ventral surface comprising red-stippled stripes towards column base. Noted for open flower shape with evenly spaced segments.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

January NCOS meeting

We had reasonable attendance for today's orchid club. Plenty of room for improvement, though, in my opinion.

At issue for several members were:
i) the cold weather,
ii) traffic due to inauguration events on the capitol mall,
iii) attending inaugural events on the capitol mall, and
iv) televised football games.

Our speaker was Tom Mirenda from the Smithsonian, who described his visit to Taiwan this last March, and the Taiwanese orchid industry. Their ability to produce a large quantity of orchids is both amazing and sobering.

Below are examples of club member's orchids on display today:
Brassovola Little Stars, exhibitor Gene Schurg

Bardendrum Nanboh Pixy 'Cherry Moon', exhibitor Gene Schurg

Phrag. Lutz Rollke, exhibitor Gene Schurg

Dendrobium Sea Mary 'Snow King', exhibitor Marie Soutar

Bc. Maikai 'Louise', exhibitor Marie Soutar

Thursday, January 15, 2009

lowio-mastersii x Summer Sands

This is a wonderful first bloom seedling, originally purchased from Hatfield Orchids back in November '05.

The hybrid was advertised as "Pre-Christmas intermediate tetraploids, compact plants, masses of spikes". The plant was successful in all but one category. It sent up three spikes pre-Christmas; however, flower ripening/maturation stalled until this past week. I could only show my Christmas family guests the buds.

It is fragrant, though "soapy", to my nose. (Yes, I need to find another adjective. But the first thing that came to my mind was some association with the 'Oil of Olay' soap and the 'Dawn' dishwashing detergent my grandmother uses. Clearly, there are reasons why I'm not a wine steward!) It does not possess the sweeter floral traits that Cym. tracyanum, Cym. sinense and Tiger Morning yield.

Natural Spread: 7.6cm (w), 5cm (h)
Dorsal Sepal: 2cm (w), 4.7cm (l)
Lateral Sepal: 2cm (w), 4.6cm (l)
Petals: 1.7cm (w), 4.2cm (l)
Lip: 1.9cm (w), 3.5cm (l)

3 upright inflorescences, each measuring about 64 cm in length and bearing an average of 12 flowers. Petals and sepals white, suffused with faint, light green along mid-ribs; lip white base upon which a raspberry red is patterned along the margins in broken stripes and stipples; callus ridges yellow; column white shading to pink towards apex. Substance heavy; texture waxy.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Estate Planning

I recently visited the widow of a longtime member of our orchid society who died last year to receive several orchids and corresponding supplies that are to be put up for sale at are society’s annual auction. The experience got me thinking... What do I want done with my orchids and orchid supplies if/when something happens to me and I can no longer care for the plants??

1. Do any of my survivors or caregivers want any of my orchids? Let’s face it—orchids are my hobby, and not everyone is keen to spend the necessary time to care for such plants. For example, my partner considers them only in the context of “pretty flowers”. So, the prevailing odds are that when I can no longer care for the orchids, they need to go to new homes.

2. Who and When? Orchid Society names and corresponding contact information are attached to my Medical Power of Attorney. If I should suffer a debilitating illness, then my caregiver is to contact some key members of my local orchid society to request either temporary orchid boarding or have these individuals come over to my home to care for the orchids while I recover. If my condition is deemed a long-term incapacitation or death, then my plants and supplies are to be donated to my local orchid society for auction. The sooner the plants find new homes, the better chance they’ll stay healthy and retain economic value.

3. Knowing that someone else will be faced with the task of grappling with and managing my collection, how can I pro-actively help this person? Well, I can stay current with updating the status and organization of my orchid notebook that comprises a master list of the orchids, their names, dates of virus testing, etc…I can also make sure that the plant tags and labels are actually available, attached to the respective orchid pot, and legibly written. Lost Tag’s, No Name’s and Gobbledygook’s quickly render an orchid with essentially no economic value. Also, the notebook contains instructions regarding how to water, fertilize, provide lighting (an issue for indoor husbandry), provide viable temperature ranges, avoid/control pest infestations, and avoid virus transmission, especially if any orchids need re-potting.

The widow remarked that at the time of her husband’s illness, she was simply overwhelmed, and understandably so. However, it was only after his death that she found notes on the computer, and by that time the orchids were suffering from lack of water and insect infestation. Unfortunately, several plants were thrown away as unrecoverable or infected with virus. The remainders are undergoing pesticide treatments to eradicate the scale and mealybugs. While a handful will be in reasonable condition for auction, the majority need at least another year’s worth of rehabilitation.

I realize that orchids are just plants. But, when you consider (do you?) how much time and money one actually spends on an annual basis to maintain an orchid collection, then it makes sense to make pre-arrangements for their care when you no longer can do so. I expect there are additional elements I haven’t thought of just yet. What are your ideas?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tiger Morning seedlings, part 2

Below are pics from Tiger Morning seedlings "B" and "C". As you can see, Tiger Morning "B" is quite similar to Tiger Morning "A" (earlier post), except that the brown-red (anthocyanin) pigment is more pronounced at the petal base and mid-rib, and even more so along the lip's side-lobes. I like "A" better than "B".

Tiger Morning "C" is not albescent, as are "A" and "B". You can clearly see the anthocyanin pigment.

Greig Russell published an article in the Cymbidium Society of America journal (Jan.-Feb., 3(1):6-11, 2003) on the topic of albescent Cymbidiums. Russell states that:
i) Albescent and Albinistic refer to plants which show a significant degree of reduction in normal anthocyanin production;
ii) Alba is a useful term for anthocyanin-free plants, especially where cattleyas are concerned; most alba cattleyas being white. Unfortunately many alba cymbidiums are green; and
iii) Concolor refers to plants having the lip similarly coloured to the tepals and are not necessarily anthocyanin deficient.

There have been several articles published in the orchid journals describing the similarities and differences between albescent, alba and concolor. Perhaps this will be a topic for a future post, but I need to do more research on this topic beforehand.

Back to Tiger Morning--all three plants yield upright inflorescences with well-spaced, nicely shaped and wonderfully fragrant flowers. The plants are reasonably compact intermediates, and grow well for this climate in that they haven't shown undue heat stress during their Summer growing season outdoors. While I don't think these are AOS award quality, they are good pot plants, and may be useful for continued hybridizing.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cymbidium tracyanum

One of my favorite Cymbidiums is presently in bloom: Cym. tracyanum. It takes up some real estate, an especially important issue for orchid growers who need to bring their plants in to over-Winter. The flowers are wonderfully fragrant, and it is unfortunate that the technology does not yet enable “scratch-and-sniff” via the web.

I have three different tracyanum cultivars: a) ‘Burmese Bronze’ obtained from the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate, b) a cultivar from the cross “tracyanum FCC/RHS x tracyanum F1” made by Andy Easton and obtained from Top Hat Orchids, and c) ‘New Horizon’, 4N obtained from Hatfield Orchids. The latter two plants did not flower this year, so I can’t yet post a comparison between them, e.g. color, shape, size, etc… Next year.

‘Burmese Bronze’ is late to bloom this year. My notes from last year indicate that it bloomed early November. While visiting a colleague’s greenhouse this afternoon, I noticed that his Cym. tracyanum flowers are also just beginning to open up. Perhaps it was the longer stretch of mild Fall weather that delayed spike initiation.

Natural Spread: 9cm horizontal;
Dorsal Sepal: 7.2cm length, 2.3cm width
Lateral Sepal:6.3cm length, 2.3cm width
Petals: 6.6cm length, 1.3cm width
Lip (horiz.) (vert.):6.1cm length, 2.2cm width mid-lobe/side-lobe junction; 2.5cm width at apex.

13 evenly-spaced flowers and 2 buds on an upright to arching inflorescence measuring 130cm in length.

Below are pics of one or two flowers as they are opening up. They reminded me of the Vorlon ships in the “Babylon 5” series.

January AOS judging

Today was a busy day at the judging center. The judges were broken into two teams, and screened 18 plants, six of which were awarded. The judges at one table faced two interesting and separate issues today.

The first issue dealt with plant health. A Paphiopedilum was denied an award because both the plant and the flower looked anemic, with light green foliage and light green colors on the small flower. 'Intensity' was not a suitable adjective to describe the plant. Because the Paph. was an alba varietal, it was unclear if the light color was a genetic trait, or if the plant was suffering from a nutrient deficiency, e.g. chlorosis. Comparisons with other alba forms of record clearly showed intense greens are possible, so the plant was passed as suffering from inadequate culture.

The second issue dealt with history and judging standards. A complex Paph. was presented, whose grex was originally registered back in the 1950's or so. Some clones of the grex had been awarded at that time. The question for today was whether or not the instant flower should be judged by today's standards, or those at the time the grex was registered. Clearly, the standards in complex Paph. flower quality has changed since then. I wasn't able to listen in on the final decision because I was running plants over to the second judging team. However, after the overall judging was complete, the chairperson of the first table noted that the scores suggest that some judges used the historical standards (higher scores), while other judges used current standards (lower scores). I expect the judges will revisit this topic as part of their education program for this year.

Below are pics of plants from today's judging:
Blc. Chia Lin 'Red Rose'

Paph. Borobudur (javanicum x wardii), HCC/78

Paph. Ripple 'Penns Creek' (hirsutissimum x Via Virgenes), HCC/78

Paph. Hawaii Wings (hennisianum x mastersianum), HCC/78

Oncidium Twinkle 'Fragrant Fantasy', CCE/90