Monday, March 21, 2011

Some new flowers

This long weekend was spent pottering around in the greenhouse and fussing over some of my new orchids. I had placed an order for some Polystachya species from Van Rooyen's Orchids in Johannesburg about two weeks ago and these arrived safely last week although the box they had been packaged in was severely squashed upon arrival. Luckily the solid wooden rafts of two of the plants stopped the plants from becoming damaged. The new plants include P. caespitifica, P. ottoniana, P. paniculata and P. pubescens.

P. caespitifica
P. ottoniana
P. paniculata
P. pubescens
The Phalaenopsis hieroglyphica that I recently got from Plantae have just started to flower now too. One of the buds was a bit damaged but I took a couple of shots of it starting to open. The pics were taken in the morning and late afternoon to show the day's progress. This flower has been selfed and the others will be used for cross-pollinating others. The other flower opened on 22 March and looks good.

P. hieroglyphica early morning

P. hieroglyphica late afternoon
Second flower opened 22 March 2011
As some of you will know, I am not a fan of the Cattleya alliance. The flowers to me seem so fabricated...anyway, they do smell wonderful. My wife likes these so I do have a few in my collection. Recently, one of "my wife's plants" flowered. I am not quite sure what the grex is but I will add this in here some time when I have a closer look at the tag burried at the bottom of the pot somewhere. Here are some pics of this plant in flower:

Single flower: my wife's plant
Flowers and buds opening on my wife's plant

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Phalaenopsis and new spikes

In the past few weeks I placed an order for a variety of Phalaenopsis species and hybrids from both Else Hall at Outeniqua Orchids in George and Plantae in Johannesburg. I bought an AM/AOS awarded Doritaenopsis Winter clouds 'Mendenhall' and an HCC/AOS awarded Phalaenopsis Carolina Bronze Meteor from Else, both clones from originally awarded mother plants from Carter & Holmes (USA). I contacted Nollie at Plantae to request info on their Phalaenopsis species stock. He mentioned to me that some of their plants were not in the best of shape and some were in stress due to low temperatures but that he would offer them to me for a reduced price if I took the species he had remaining. I did. I bought 1 P. gigantea, 2 P. mannii, 2 P. hieroglyphica, 2 P. violacea, 1 P. mariae, 1 P. sanderiana, 1 P. schilleriana and 1 hybrid, P. Tzu Chiang Balm. To view images of the flowers of all of these species, click on their names which will link you to external pages.

I have attached images below of some of the plants which arrived from Plantae. They are not too bad at all. A bit of leaf damage but nothing that a season's growth or two won't fix.

P. gigantea
P. hieroglyphica

P. mannii with P. violacea on the right

P. sanderiana

P. schilleriana
P. mariae
The past week or so has seen a sudden production of spikes in the majority of my other Phalaenopsis hybrids. The plants have are reacting to the cooler nights now as we approach Autumn. I had a good look yesterday to see who was spiking and it seems as though most of my plants are now. I have attached a few images here below. I am looking forward to some more flowers and of course some spikes to use for cloning. By the way, I cut off some old flowering spikes from P. hieroglyphica and P. Caronlina Bronze Meteor and processed 5 and 4 nodes respectively this past weekend so I am hoping to get some clones from these and will make them available in due course!

Two large spikes nearly ready to harvest for cloning 

Large white Phalaenopsis spike just pushing through
P. Brighton Belle again!

P. mini pink
Last year I scooped up some pathetic little Phalaenopsis plants that had been dumped outside in the nursery section at Builder's Warehouse in Parklands after flowering to suffer a slow and sun-burned death. The nursey staff do not know how to look after their Phallies at all and I have spoken with them on several occasions - with little success! Their plants are usually placed outside with the other plants after flowering and are all hopelessly over-watered so most of them are drowned when I find them. I keep a close eye on these plants when they arrive at Builder's Warehouse and there are some there now that have just finished flowering. I rescued 6 plants last year and these all survived. They were in very poor shape but recovered quite well in the last year. One of these has just flowered now too and appears to be very happy! I just find it so sad that the staff there don't seem to want to improve their knowledge of the basic requirement of these plants. Indeed, how do you offer advice to the customers if you can't seem to look after these plants yourself??? They seem to be more concerned with getting rid of them quickly than looking after those which are finished flowering - and this would be so simple. I even gave them my contact details so they could phone me if they were wanting to get rid of any stressed non-flowering plants or for general advice. I certainly won't be selling any of my plants to them in future. Anyway, here is a pic of the happy ex-rescue plant in flower.

Happy white Phal
I have also been keeping a close eye on my few Disa uniflora seedlings that I had to remove from a contaminated flask a few weeks ago. I planted these in a bed of moss at the base of one of my rafts housing a Phalaenopsis pulchra. They are doing well and growing nicely.

Disa uniflora seedlings at the base of P. pulchra
I also have a few curiosities to include here. My Bulbophyllum scaberulum that was given to me in January has been growing steadily but one of the new pseudobulbs appears to have sent out a half-hearted attempt at a spike. I am not entirely sure if any buds will come from it but I have included a pic of it here. Bradley, what are your thoughts on this? Do you think it could just be the change in temperature that has confused the plant somewhat? In addition, if anyone has any idea of what species is in the second pic, please let me know. It was colected in Limpopo from a tree in Afromontaine forest by a friend of mine. It is growing very well but probably won't flower for a while although it does appear to be a mature plant since the previous year's growth that I removed, had the remains of flowers and a small dispersed seed pod.

Bulbophyllum scaberulum with half-hearted spike

What am I???