Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The post-Easter chill

Hello everyone

It has been some time since my last post and with all these days off I have been spending more time in the greenhouse than at my desk. The cooler weather certainly came fast and night temperatures in the greenhouse have dropped to just above 20 Degrees Celsius. I must add that I am running out of space in there! All the plants are doing well and I have been busy pollinating and staking. On Easter Sunday, I took the family to Klein Joostenberg just outside Stellenbosch where there is a small nursery which has an orchid house attached. It was cold and misreable but I went through their ex-Duckitts collection for anything interesting. Apart from the bread-and-butter stuff there were the odd collectables, of which I bought an Angraecum didieri (from Madagascar) which I selfed, and another A. sesquipedale var. angustifolia which was labelled as A. bosseri incorrectly (this name is a synonym of A. sesquipedale var. angustifolia). I also found a Polystachya anceps which had several pods developing on the spikes. I have no idea how old these are but I will keep a close eye on them and harvest some for embryo cultivation when ready.

Angraecum didieri selfing

Polystachya anceps pods
Yesterday my Phalaenopsis Tzu Chiang Balm flowered for the first time. These flowers are also fragrant but I have a slight cold presently so I could not enjoy the smell. I actually had to re-pot this plant as well because I had not noticed that its original bark chips had begun to rot. It is happy though now in new media.

Phalaenopsis Tzu Chiang Balm
All my pods are coming along nicely. The Doritaenopsis Purple Gem 'Blue bird' selfings are swelling nicely as are the P. hieroglyphica selfings and the cross between P. hieroglyphica and Doritaenopsis Purple Gem 'Blue bird.' All my attempts at pollinating Anacheilium cochleatum (= Encychlia cochleata) have been successful too.

Doritaenopsis Purple Gem 'Blue bird" selfings

Phalaenopsis hieroglyphica selfing

Anacheilium cochleatum

A. cochleatum pod
I recently bought some rhizomes(?) of Bletilla striata Alba, the white form of this terrestrial Chinese species from an obscure nursery in Johannesburg. The new shoots are just beginning to produce leaves now and I hope to get some flowers later in the year. In adddition I received some seeds of Bletilla striata (Penway Rose x Briganthes moonlight) x (Yokohama x Penway Sunset) and B. striata (Ochracea x Brigantes Saturn) x (Ochracea x Brigantes Imperial) x (Penway Rainbow x Ochracea x Penway Imperial) from a friend in Richard's Bay and some green pod B. striata from Bradley. I am still waiting for the green pod embryos to germinate but all the other seeds have germinated and are growing really quickly on my newly manipulated medium.

Bletilla striata Alba
B. striata germinating
B. striata germinating
I have also been meaning to include the slow but steady progress of my Bonatea speciosa protocorms. These develop slowly and strangely too. They take forever to creep along the medium surface before sending droppers down from which the leaf primordia finally grow upward from. I have included two images, one taken in March and the other now in April (showing the leaf primordia). Bonatea speciosa is one of our many local species but I have not seen one in the wild yet. This is one local species which I have found to be quite tricky in vitro, similar to some of the Summer rainfall Disa species in difficulty. I hope that they develop well in their mother flask and I hope to get some strong ex vitro seedlings eventually to add to my collection.

Bonatea speciosa protocorms March 2011

B. speciosa protocorms April 2011