Sunday, January 18, 2015

winter orchids

This is why I grow orchids.

Neofinetia falcata
When the outdoors is full of peaceful browns, greys, and dark greens, I may get a yearning for something blooming, and even better, something that smells delicious, like this Neo, which gets my mouth watering with its vanilla creamsicle scent.

Dendrobium 'Blue Twinkle'
'Blue Twinkle has a bit of sweet fragrance when the sun hits them.
Orchids are actually less work than the amaryllis (Hippeastrum) that has to go outdoors in the summer. I still haven't found the right spot for them - the direct high desert sun is too much for them, and the shade is too dark. I don't have a tree big enough to put them under.

Neostylis Lou Sneary 'Bluebird'
I have the orchids growing under lights next to a window. The lights are powered by electricity, which is ironically produced by the sun through the PV system on the roof. Better than from fossil fuels, but not a perfect system I know. It would be better to move to Hawaii, but then of course, there is all the fossil fuels used to transport household goods, food, etc., to the islands. So all in all, I think I'm doing okay. This intergeneric hybrid combines the fragrance of Neofinetia with the grape-like fragrance of Rhynchostylis.

Lc. Rojo 'Barbara'
This is not the Rojo that I grew as a teenager, which was an unnamed seedling. I knew it as the child of Laelia milleri and Cattleya aurantiaca, but I see on the web that Laelia milleri is now known as Sophronitis milleri, and Cattleya aurantiaca is now Guarianthe aurantiaca, so Lc. Rojo is now Sophranthe Rojo. Whatever you call it, the one I had years ago, was more of a sealing wax red, with shiny petals that looked like they were made out of wax. This one is an award winning clone (for whatever reason), and is more orange red. I've had this plant for 2 years, purchased as a tiny growth,  and this is its first flowers. As the plant grows, it will produce more flowers, hopefully like my old plant which had 10-20 flowers on a stem. Rojo isn't fragrant, but so what.

I've had some success with Dendrobium moniliforme, so last year I bought this variegated version Dendrobium moniliforme 'Himeginsetsu' from Andy's. Bummer that the leaf tips have browned, but it's doing well enough to bloom. It's produced a few blooms off and on for the last few months, the pale pink flowers smell like cherry blossoms.

Buds are forming on some of my other orchids, so more to look forward to. Yay!

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