Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Settling in after the move

My plants and the family are slowly settling in after the move to our new home in Vermont. The move was stressful on the whole family as well as all of the plants. Orchids really are a fussy bunch when they get relocated! At least this time it was Spring going into Summer so the temperatures were a little more forgiving.
Unfortunately a couple of my plants did not do at all well after the move. My prize Bonatea speciosa for one was initially drowned after all the abnormally heavy rains we had in November that cause all the local flooding in the Western Cape. After the drowning it was hammered by the legion of slugs and snails that came out of nowhere after all the rains! Many of us orchid growers here suffered swift defeat with the large numbers of snails and slugs. I for one conceded and brought out the big guns... snail bait. I really don't like using it much if I can help it but the damage caused to my B. speciosa justified swift action. The Bonatea should recover but I reccon I have lost the full year's growth including all the pods I had produced.

Bonatea speciosa before the move
Habenaria rhodocheila yellow/orange
A close relation to my Bonatea, Habenaria rhodocheila is flowering now in my collection for the first time. I purchased two colour varieties from Nollie at Plantae and the yellow or light orange variety is open while the not-so-pink but rather darker orange to peach one should open its first bloom in the days to come. The relation to Bonatea is quite obvious when looking at the flower characteristics and I am hoping to use some frozen B. speciosa pollen to see if I can get a potential cross to take on both colour varieties. It would be good to get the characteristics of colour from Habenaria and the scent of the flowers from Bonatea combined into a hybrid if possible. We will have to see what happens.
I seldomly take on outside flasking requests anymore due to time constraints and a shortage of space but over the last year I did some flasking of two new hybrid Eulophias for a friend. The first, a combination of E. streptopetala X E. petersii has shown significant hybrid vigour and growth. I potted up a few into a seedling tray recently to see how they get on. The other hybrid is a combination of E. streptopetala X E. keithii (E. adamanensis). Eulophias from seed are by no means easy (= much frustration and production of grey hairs) but the medium I am using specifically for these is working very well. Other seedlings I have recently hardened off include a rather odd little Trias or Bulbophyllum species from Thailand which was purchased as Rhynchostylis gigantea alba seeds... It certialy isn't Rhynchostylis at all but is very similar to other Trias species I have done before. I will have to wait to see what this one turns out to be in the years to come. Until then it's anyone's guess. Other species include Angraecum eburneum, A. sesquipedale, Phalaenopsis sanderiana and various Dendrobium species.
Eulophia streptopetala X E. petersii
Trias or Bulbophyllum species?
Others species blooming at present include Coelogyne tomentosa, Ascocentrum (now Vanda) ampullaceum orange (also purchased from Nollie at Plantea), Maxillaria variabilis and Polystachya zambesiaca. I eally enjoy this little Polystachya. It is as tough as nails and very forgiving but the flowers are hairy and have a somewhat upside-down Dendrobium-like appearance to them.
Coelogyne tomentosa
Ascocentrum (Vanda) ampullaceum orange
Maxillaria variabilis
Polystachya zambesiaca

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