Thursday, April 2, 2020

A no-ID Dendrobium and my Habenaria regnieri

A few months back my wife came home from a garage sale with a single Dendrobium cane, handed it to me and said she thinks it's an orchid... I stuck it to a bottlebrush tree wood mount with some sphagnum moss and left it to do its own thing. A couple of weeks later it shot out a new growth which rocketed to about 50 cm. Recently this Dendrobium sent out a beautiful display of pink blooms. I have no idea what the hybrid is, but it is quite showy.

In addition, I am currently awaiting the first blooms from my Habenaria regnieri. I plan to cross this primary hybrid with Habenaria medusa to introduce some interesting lip detail (hopefully). I will update the photo below with one for the opened bloom before I pollinate it.

No-ID Dendrobium

Habenaria regnieri

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Green tree frog at home in my Nervilia plicata

I thought I would put this image up of a green tree frog which recently made its home in my pot of Nervilia plicata. Friendly little chap.

Green tree frog sitting on the leaf of Nervilia plicata

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Habenaria medusa first flowering and others

When I arrived in Rockhampton last year I noticed that the weather here was very similar in most respects to Townsville, just without the evening breeze sometimes during Summer - so things here in Summer have certainly been hot and humid! As part of my move here I decided to get back to some of the terrestrials that I had certainly had fun with previously over the years. I started collecting various species including Nervilia species, and a handful of Australian natives, and Habenaria species too. The latter are a bit tricky to find in cultivation, but I have a few now in the collection doing well, one of which is H. medusa. This species I managed to kill when I first attempted growing it back in South Africa a few years ago. In retrospect the conditions were just too cool, and humidity too low. I was understandably nervous when I got one last year, but it grew like a weed without much prompting at all. It is just coming into bloom now with nine buds beginning to open sequentially, and on my son's birthday! I will update some images below as the flowers progress through the week.

A day before opening - begins to unfurl slowly

Nearly fully extended
13 March 2020

13 March 2020
All open 21 March 2020

Fully open bloom detail
The other habenarias are also showing signs of growth and getting ready to bloom. I was surprised this morning to find my Habenaria dentata sprouting new multiple growth from an exposed root on the surface of the potting media. Habenaria rhodocheila should flower in the next few weeks, and Habenaria regnieri a little thereafter (see below).

Multiple additional growth from exposed root of Habenaria dentata

Habenaria rhodocheila with developing flowering head

Habenaria regnieri with developing flowering head
I also managed to get some Nervilia peltata plants from Ian at Burleigh Park Orchids in Townsville. These are tiny little chaps native to northeastern Queensland (see additional info here). They were only described in 1994, and are probably quite scarce in cultivation. I hope they do as well as my other Nervilia species.

Nervilia peltata

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A new year in Rockhampton, central Queensland

The move from Townsville to Rockhampton at the end of 2019 was disruptive for my plants, and many of them resented the relocation by road. Some of my fussier species were knocked back during active growth by at least a year or even more from the move. As a result I decided to focus on some new terrestrials (geophytes), and purchased a variety of Australian native species including Nervilia species and some others. The Nervilia species were purchased from Ian Walters at Burleigh Park Orchids in Townsville and arrived as tubers via express post. However, I quickly realised that 'express' is not quite express when the destination is outside of the main shipping centres in Australia! They took three days to arrive and the other postage occupants, two Habenaria species (H. rhodocheila and H. medusa) were very stressed on arrival. After two days of TLC and a treatment with dilute Seasol, both Habenaria species responded well and made a full recovery and are currently growing steadily. The Nervilia species (N. aragoana and N. plicata) are growing rapidly, and their foliage is unique and impressive. It is certainly worth growing these for their foliage alone. 
Nervilia plicata sold as its synonym N. dallachyana - growth period = 10 days
Nervilia aragoana
Later this week I am expecting a shipment of Corybas, Diuris, Pterostylis, Thelymitra, and PterygodiumSatyrium and Serapias species. The first four are native Australian species, while the Pterygodium and Satyrium are South African, and the Serapias are European. All of these originate from culture, from Nesbitt's Orchids. I have also joined the Australian Native Orchid Society (Victoria) to learn more about the Australian native terrestrial species and to connect with some like-minded people. This summer I also hope to flower my young Phaius australis for the first time, which is growing like a weed, and my Geodorum densiflorum which woke up recently from a 6-months sleep. I expect that the habenarias will probably only flower next year or maybe towards the end of this new year. I am still actively on the hunt for additional Habenaria species and of course Bonatea speciosa.
Old sleepy - Geodorum densiflorum

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Lots of yellow for October and November

As I relocate to Rockhampton from Townsville, I have had to rely on photographs of some of my flowering orchids from my wife. At the end of November I will be moving the whole family down, as well as the remaining plants, so it is better that they get flowering done beforehand.

My wife took these below photos of my flowering Cymbidium aloifolium, which seems to increase its number of flowers annually per spike, Dendrobium lindleyi and Dendrobium fimbriatum, which both waited until I had left before opening those buds!

Cymbidium aloifolium
Dendrobium lindleyi
Dendrobium fimbriatum

Monday, October 14, 2019

Phalaenopsis explosion and my first Dendrobium aphyllum.

I have had great success this year with my Phalaenopsis, although my wife comments that I have far too many white ones! I am actually not sure how I ended up with mainly white ones, but they may have been gifts along the way. They grow like weeds here in Townsville. The images below are of three standard show sizes from largest to miniature, with the flower span of the large one about 13 cm across. There are 28 open blooms, and 6 remaining buds to open on 3 spikes on the single large plant. The flowers are so heavy that I have had to place its pot inside a larger pot with an additional kilogram of stones in it to prevent it from falling over. This one will be entered into a future show, likely 2020.

Very large white Phalaenopsis (13 cm blooms)
The others include a nice standard large (9-10 cm blooms), with great shape, and the miniature that just went crazy this year (3-4 cm blooms). I have two of these miniatures. The other one has about as many blooms on it, but they are not as tightly spaced.

Large standard white Phalaenopsis
Miniature white Phalaenopsis
Today I also had my first blooms open on my little Dendrobium aphyllum. I was surprised that this is actually a native species to northern Queensland, and it certainly is growing well outside just hanging under the pergola. The flower is faintly scented, similarly to that of D. tortile. The rest of my dendrobiums are all waking up nicely now, and I have already begun flooding them, especially my D. fimbriatum and D. lindleyi, both of which have multiple nodes shooting flower buds. My D. anosmum has finished flowering now but is growing new growth rapidly. On Friday this week I will pop round to a friend who is almost ready to split up his D. canaliculatum. I don't have this Queensland native yet, and the flowers look amazing (see here).

Dendrobium aphyllum

Friday, September 13, 2019

Dendrobium anosmum first flowering

I have been waiting for my Dendrobium anosmum to flower since it pushed out tiny buds back in July. I have been patiently waiting while watching the buds develop to full size. I have two of these; the other is about a month behind the first one. The flowers are fragrant, not overpowering, but pleasantly fragrant of raspberries or a similar fruit. I have been wanting to flower one of these for about 8 years now. I initially began growing my own from seed back in 2011 and 2012, but never got the opportunity to raise my seedlings to flowering size before leaving South Africa. This species seems to do quite well here in Townsville (dry tropics), as do many of the Dendrobium species. My larger plant has canes of about 70-80 cm long, and is currently also pushing out new growth.

Buds just starting to emerge in July

Buds the day before opening (12 September)
Fully opened bloom, about 10 cm across

Another perspective
The next morning