About five years ago, one of my favorite orchid growers, after having his shade houses destroyed (again) by a hurricane, decided to decamp South Florida for Hawaii (how that removed him from the dreaded “cone” I don’t know). He put all of his nursery stock on sale at fire-sale prices, and I bought about a dozen little cattleya seedlings (about 2″ tall, 5 – 6 years away from first bloom) for $5 apiece.
I am, for those of you who follow orchids, a fan of primary hybrids, wherein one of the parent plants is a “species” cattleya. I feel the resultant plants have a nice resemblance to Mother Nature’s original plan, while also having the human artistic touch of the hybridized parent. As a bonus, and IMO only, I believe these plants are much healthier and resistant to disease. And being the lazy bones I am, I overpotted all of these plants (so I didn’t have to upsize pots every year), using ceramic media that doesn’t break down. And then I hung the babies up in the slat house, and waited.
It seems most of my picks have turned out to be lavender (see prior orchid post). But a few days ago, I noticed buds on one of these no-longer-tiny plants….and look what I got! It is a c. Walkeriana hybrid, which is quite evident from the beautifully shaped lip on the plant. It has a lovely citrus-y smell in the morning.
I posted pictures of some of my orchids a few weeks ago, including this one, which at the time had only one spike of flowers. Well, it seems it wasn’t quite done yet. This one isn’t one of the babies (I think I bought it at Johnny Mangos), but since it has matured, it seems to be a blooming fool (and yes, I told you I was lazy, it needs to be repotted, badly).
My Thanksgiving Orchid (c. Plieades) is pushing buds like mad (some are already open) and it will have TEN!!! sprays of flowers (maybe more, the plant is so huge it’s hard to see them all). It will be a few more days until I gather the courage to move it and take pictures, the flower spikes are so heavy that I often get breakage, and I really want to show you what a “specimen” plant looks like. It too, is due for a re-pot. Right now it is in the very largest orchid pot I have ever found. Next time around it is going into a regular azalea type pot, but w/perhaps a 22″ diameter. Henceforth and forevermore it shall require a handtruck to move, but I refuse to cut it up again.
My friend Reba in North Carolina sent me some of her Heirloom Cherry Tomato seeds: Black; Orange; Candy Striped; and Red. The little tomato seedlings are growing nicely in their peat plugs, and are about 4″ tall. Iguana Man has fashioned some Earth Boxes for them (self-contained growing boxes), and I’m going to plant them in another couple of days.
I’ve spent the last few days moving things around in the slat-house, freshening up my herbs (my beautiful rosemary bush succumbed to the torrential rains we had last month), and I’m considering trying my hand at peppers (again!). A big pot or two of mixed lettuce, and I’m ready for the growing season!
Oh yes, one final item. Must climb atop the slat house and fix that shade cloth, as well as add a bit more. I am not looking forward to THAT!
~ Blonde Gator