Friday, December 16, 2011

First bloom of (Brenda x Devon Odyssey)

This is a first bloom seedling of (Brenda x Devon Odyssey). Seventeen flowers on one inflorescence. I saw it's siblings in flower at Hatfield Orchids this past March.

Actually, I'm a little surprised that it's in bloom for me right now. The plant produced a spike this past August, I think in response to the Summer heat. Thankfully, the spike never blasted, even when the plant was brought indoors for the Winter.

I'll be the first to admit that the form of this clone isn't good. Cym. erythrostylum's influence can still be seen in the grandchild via the porrect-trending petals and the distinctive bow-leggedness of the lateral sepals. In truth, I don't mind the porrect petals, but these traits show how dominant Cym. erythrostylum's form can become. If done right, the porrect petals can be a good thing. Conversely, the bow-leggedness, ... yeah, that's a flaw that begs correcting.

What I did like about this clone is that the petals were more darkly colored than it's siblings that I saw at Hatfield Orchids. Maybe there's some potentiality here. However, given that the lip is a modified petal, and the distal portion of the lip curls downward, you can also see that the distal portion of the petals also recurves backwards. Not so good for form...

Neat lip patterning, don't you think?

Valerie Absolonova

I've been waiting for the flowers of this clone to open up!! The combination of Eastern Bunny 'Oborozuki' (prior posting) and Valerie Absolonova makes for a delicious scent when I go downstairs to check in with the basement orchids under lights and get some relaxation therapy. VA is a Mini Cym and has no problem dealing with our Summer heat, which is just the type of Cymbidium I need for my growing conditions.

The lip patterning may not be as good as Andy's or Kobsukh's clones, but I like this one's lip nonetheless.

The increasing importance of, and need for, Mini Cyms cannot be dismissed! For example, our local orchid society had it's Holiday party earlier this week. As a gift to the orchid society members, I gave out free, established seedlings of a (Valerie Absolonova x novelty-type) hybrid that Andy Easton had made. However, no more than 1/3 of the seedlings were taken! (No offense, Andy. Actually, your name drew positive attention to the seedlings.) Most members said that Novelty-type Cyms were too big(!) for our East coast, home growing conditions.

To be blunt, there is a market for Cymbidiums here in the eastern U.S., as I routinely field requests for suggestions of an appropriate Cym hybrid. But, Cym hybridizers need to make them Mini Cyms, or else the general orchid enthusiast in this region simply does not have the space for this genera. There's a market niche waiting (and wanting) to be filled.... nudge, nudge, ... wink, wink, ... hint, hint...

Eastern Bunny at it, again(!)

It's presently grey and overcast, with temps cooling further from our morning high. While the stew is...stewing..., I thought I'd comment on what's in bloom down in the basement. I need something to cheer me up.

Eastern Bunny 'Oborozuki' is in the midst of repeat blooming for 2011. This clone is a blooming fool, at least for me. It flowered out 4+ spikes this past Spring and largely took the Summer off. I accidentally knocked it over back in August, breaking it's clay pot, so I decided to divide the plant before it got too big for me. In response, the remaining pseudobulbs sent out five spikes!

Did you know that it's fragrant? I don't think I had appreciated this quality before. Placing it between the dining room window and the dining table definitely adds to the ambience.

I'm always interested in color patterning, so I thought I'd begin documenting how my Cyms are marked by following examples shown in the botanical specimens. Below is a dissected EB'O'.

Here are the petals.

I pollinated it last year with a couple of different diploid Cyms, all of which came to naught. The pods swelled nicely, but upon dihencing, there wasn't any mature seed. Sadness. As much as I like it's compactness, fragrance and productivity(!), it's off to the local orchid society's auction block for this orchid.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Seedling Exercise #1

This will be the first in a series of reports over the next few years to follow the progress of some seedlings. I received a flask from Casa de las Orquideas last Fall, and deflasked the seedlings October 21, 2010, keeping 60 of them. After spending the last 7.5 months growing in compots followed by cell tray, I moved each into its own 2.5” (6cm) pot . Of the 60 starting seedlings, only 53 (88%) remained for potting up. Given this denominator value, I don’t think the loss rate is bad.

Potting up means an opportunity to look at the seedling roots. As you can see, the seedling on the left has very little root growth; whereas, the seedling on the right has a much better root system. Why is this?

Well, almost all of the seedlings were potted up from the compots into the cell trays in a coir/expanded clay pellet mix. However, I ran out of the coir before I could finish the seedlings, so I potted up the last few in sphagnum moss instead. The seedling on the left with essentially no roots was grown in the sphagnum.

The seedlings clearly varied in their habit, even though they’ve been grown side-by-side. So, I decided to measure three parameters: height, number of leaves and longest leaf.

Seedling height ranged from 4 to 16.5cm.

Leaf number ranged from 2 to 10.

Longest leaf ranged from 6 to 20cm.

Seedling height and longest leaf correlate positively, that is to say, the shortest leaves tend to be in the smallest plants, and the longest leaves tend to be in tallest plants. This may seem intuitive, but I went through the exercise because some seedlings had several leaves and appeared squat; whereas, others with several leaves appeared tall and narrow.

Based upon these parameters, I kept the top 50% of the longest leaf (at least 10cm), resulting in 32 seedlings to continue growing. Below you can see a clear difference between the selected plants (on left) and those that will be culled (on right).

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Virginia Orchid Society Show, 2011

The Virginia Orchid Society held their annual Show this last weekend at Strange’s Garden Center. It was a fun show and included an Opening Night Gala Party featuring wine-tasting and a multitude of prizes obtainable by Silent Auction. The Show seemed reasonably well-attended by the public each day. The natural lighting inside Strange’s greenhouse really helped to make the orchids burst into their colors.

Exhibit by host Strange's Garden Center. Note the blue Phal's, injected with dye.

Exhibit by the Charlottesville Orchid Society (CHAOS) won the AOS Show Trophy and Best Theme Exhibit

Exhibit by National Capital Orchid Society was awarded Best Society Exhibit, Best Exhibit in Show and Orchid Digest Trophy.

Exhibit by Tidewater Orchid Society, was faulted for installing a canopy tent inside the greenhouse and obstructing the natural lighting.

Tabletop exhibit by The Bud Blasters, as small group of orchid enthusiasts.

Tabletop exhibit by VOS members Allen Black and David Sombach, displaying a multitude of high quality orchids of diverse genera.

Below are individual orchids that caught my attention at the show.

Cattlianthe (Ctt.) Yuan Nan Leopard, exhibited by NCOS member Jeff Johnson.

Cym. Dame Catherine 'Spring Day', B/CSA, HCC/AOS, exhibited by NCOS member Charles Little.

Cym. Dorothy Stockstill 'Forgotten Fruit', AM/AOS, exhibited by NCOS member Joe Francis.

Cym. Mary Green 'Pink Mist', exhibited by NCOS member Joe Francis, and a division of the plant that won Best Cymbidium at the VOS Show in 2007.

Dendrobium spectabile, one specimen exhibited by the Charlottesville Orchid Society (CHAOS) and one specimen exhibited by VOS members Allen Black and David Sombach.

Paph. Lucky Bells 'And Spots Too', exhibited by VOS members Allen Black and David Sombach.

Paph. Fred Jernigan 'White Galaxy', exhibited byMarriott Orchids and awarded an AM/AOS.

Paph. (Small World x Jenna Marie 'Bravado'), exhibited by Marriott Orchids and awarded an HCC/AOS.

Paph. Pink Paradise 'Lover's Moon', exhibited by Marriott Orchids and awarded an HCC/AOS.

Paph. (White Shimmer x Psyche 'Star Dust'), exhibited by Marriott Orchids

Phal. Millie's Atavist (World Class 'Bigfoot' x Hilo Lip), Best First Bloom Seedling, exhibited by NCOS member Gene Schurg.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

2011 Paph Forum

The 31st Annual Paphiopedilum Forum was held on Saturday. It's normally housed at the U.S. National Arboretum, but because of construction there, we changed the venue to Behnke Nurseries, who were very helpful and welcoming hosts.

The speaker program included Stig Dalstrom, Dr. Norito Hasagawa, Bryan Ramsay and Ron McHatton.

Stig Dalstrom gave a nice talk on slipper orchids in situ, e.g. kovachii, besseae, and schlimii, and using their local environments as a clue to improve their culture in our homes and greenhouses. He provided examples to demonstrate how flower shape and color can be greatly influenced by heat. To put it another way, cooler temps along with humidity or misting improve overall quality.

Dr. Norito Hasagawa gave a nice talk on the importance of species, and the human practice of selective breeding for 'improvements' within the species, e.g. dorsal sepal flatness, particular color forms, larger flower, etc... In particular, he drew the analogy of dogs having been derived from wolves. Yet mankind has pushed dog breeding to create both the Chihuahua and the St. Bernard breeds. If one did not know any better, one might think these two breeds to be distinct species, and yet neither truly represent the wolf. The goals of the grower/propagator for hybridizing may not be applicable for species preservation and conservation.

Because I was busy with AOS judging, I missed Bryan Ramsay's talk and only caught the last half of Ron McHatton's talk on Pest and Disease control strategies.

Exhibit area beginning to be populated with show plants.

Two fun exhibit categories: Best Foliage (out-of-bloom) and Best (naturally) Ugly Slipper.

This year's uglies. I don't know who won the blue ribbon, but the lower left one has my vote...

Exhibit area filling up with plant entries and public review.

Vendor sales tables filled with Paphs and Phrags of all types!

Below are some individual flower pics. Sorry, I did not record the names of the individual exhibitors, so I cannot credit the respective owners.

Basket of Mini Phrags comprising:
1. (richteri x Pink Panther),
2. Casselman River, and
3. Spot On (Lynn Evans-Goldner x Pink Panther).

Phrag. besseae var. flavum 'Virginie'

Phrag. Jason Fischer 'Phoenix Rising', FCC/AOS

Phrag. Belle Hougue Point, exhibitor achieved a cultural award.

Phrag. Dominianum 'Bob Mac', AM/AOS

Paph. fanaticum

Paph. (Avalon Mist x Mount Toro)

Paph. Yellow Tiger 'Joan', HCC/AOS

Paph. (Bella Lucia x rothschildiana)

Paph. Papa Rohl

Paph. (Tokyo Night x Great Expectations) 'Charmer'

Paph. (Lunacy x White Legacy) 'Butterfly Kiss'

Paph. Legacy's Child 'Fairy Dust'

Paph. Seduction 'Captivation'

Paph. Moody Ruth 'Inglesby', HCC/AOS