Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Spring has sprung, and I am back!

Hello again. Many things have changed since my last post at the onset of Winter!
Firstly, with great thanks to Bradley, my greenhouses and the majority of my collection were moved to Bradley's residence in Worcester after I accepted a new job in the Hermanus area. We relocated to Hermanus and it has taken some time to adjust and to settle into all the new things. I miss being able to walk through my plants and view how things are flowering and how they are growing but Bradley has been kind enough to keep me updated with cell phone images of flowering plants from time to time. Unfortunately I have had to stop working on the in vitro side of things for now but I have retained all of my hardware for the time when I can hopefuly get stuck into it again. With the new job I doubt whether this will be any time soon.
Secondly, All of my Phalaenopsis seedlings of my various hybrids were loaned to the Cape University of Technology in Cape Town for an MSc project looking at the cryopreservation of orchids and other bits 'n pieces including cloning techniques. An inventory of flasks was given to them and all of the seedlings produced will be returned to me in a year or two after the completion of the study. So far they are growing well according to the head of department of botany. My more demanding species from various parts of the world that required further in vitro work went to Richard at King Plants for grow-on and I got to see how they were getting on a few weekends ago when I popped in for a visit. It is always a pleasure to visit Richard. I am always amazed with the awesome quality of all of his plants!
Satyrium carneum in the garden
I have been keeping my eye out for any local terrestrial species in the area and recently I was fortunate to spot some Satyrium carneum growing in Gaansbaai. Unfortunately just the other day the local municipality went through the area with mowers and flattened the entire lot! I thought that they could at least have waited until the flowers had set some seeds. In fact, I will draft a letter to them to voice my opinion and let's see what their response will be. On S. carneum, my specimens have flowered too and I put some in the garden amongst some other indigenous plants. I have a pair of lesser-collared sunbirds nesting in the garden with a single chick and they have been very busy (messy) pollinating the flowers. I do wonder though how on earth these birds actually get it right since I am constantly finding pollinia all over the place, except inside the flowers!
S. carneum close-up
In addition, some of the plants which I did take along with me to the new house in Hermanus seem to be doing well. My Eulophias seem to enjoy the climate and E. streptopetala and E. parviflora are both sending out spikes now. My seedling E. speciosa which I grew from seeds are also doing very well and very large, as are my seedling Bonatea speciosa. The largest B. speciosa was sending out its first blooms but the wind snapped it off so I will have to wait until next year. My adult B. speciosa has been flowering recently and I have pollinated some flowers successfully. The plant sits next to my front door and gives off the most wonderful scent in the evening.
Bonatea speciosa in flower

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