Friday, June 25, 2010

Poor shape

For some reason, C. mendelii is not opening well.  Previous blooms of this plant opened with nice flat flowers - so far, not this one.  Don't know why - maybe it is just taking longer than normal. 

Also, a pic more accurately capturing colors of C. leopoldii.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cattleya leopoldii

opened today.  My camera is not capturing the very rich, dark purple of the lip.  Fragrance will start in a day or two.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Newly opened C. mendelii flowers

These flowers are just opening.  The shape and substance will change a lot (i.e., improve) over the next two days.  The lip color is very rich.  There is a little bit of damage along the margins of the sepals.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

C. leopoldii - soon

Here you can see the buds are huge, there is color, and they've been rotating as they grow so that they are now all pointed South, the direction of the sun.  Neat.

Monday, June 21, 2010


About half my plants are in baskets (usually with a mix of sphagnum and coconut husk chips) and half are in clay pots (mostly in straight CHC or sphagnum over styrofoam peanuts).  Growing in baskets is fun because you can see lots of root growth.  In addition, many plants do better when they dry out faster, which is what their roots experience in nature.  It's kind of halfway between a typical pot and a mount in terms of moisture.  Unfortunately, in our very hot, dry summer climate, it can be difficult to keep the plants in baskets hydrated.  Last year in July and August I was watering baskets every day, which took more time than I wanted.  To get them really wet, I had to individually remove them and dunk them in water.  This past weekend I installed an automated watering system on my arbor (all material from DripWorks).  Here you can see the 1/2" mainline tubing suspended directly under 2 x 4s (using 14 gauge wire and trellis hangers) with 1/4" tubing coming down to the baskets.  At the end of the 1/4" tubing is a small mister - one for each basket - directed into the basket using a twist tie.  I am considering an alternative of attaching misters directly to the 1/2" tubing.  It would look better and require fewer misters, but then lots of water would not go directly into the basket.  I want to waste as little water as possible.  We'll see how it goes.  Feeding will occur by slow release orchid food sprinkled in each basket.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New plants

Bought four C. purpurata seedlings from Fred Clarke at Sunset Valley Orchids this week - the fifth seedling is a C. lueddemanniana that he sent as a bonus plant (thanks, Fred!).  Fred's plants are extremely well grown.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gongora galeata

Nothing new going on today, so I thought I'd post pics from last year's blooming of Gongora galeata.  Gongora and Stanhopea have interesting and generally very fragrant but short-lived flowers.  If I had more space, I'd probably grow a few more of these.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cattleya leopoldii buds

My C. leopoldii is getting ready to bloom.  The inflorescence starts emerging from a green sheath before the new leaves are fully open.  Some people claim this trait is one that helps distinguish this species from its close relative, C. guttata, in which the inflorescence emerges from a dry sheath.  This is a shot from about a week ago.  Note the drops of dew at the tips of the buds - very sticky and sweet.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cattleya trianae

Way back in February I posted on new bareroot Cattleya trianae's I had just acquired.  Only now are they starting to initiate vigorous root growth.  Here is one of them.  You can see one of the pieces of original root starting a new growing tip and the eye starting to swell.  This plant will likely not really get going for a year.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Catasetum Orchidglade finally starting

Ctsm. Orchidglade is a primary hybrid between Ctsm. expansum and Ctsm. pileatum.  These plants are deciduous and the surest way to kill them is to water them before the new roots are a couple of inches long - this takes some discipline.  I was surprised how long this plant took to initiate root growth.  It has been sitting dormant, with no live roots and no medium for many months, but I thought it would get going in Spring.  I hope to get a strong growth this year, but would not be surprised if it didn't bloom until next year.

Friday, June 11, 2010

An example of the effect of environment on flowers

This is a pic of the second blooming growth from my Cattleya purpurata carnea.  The coloration is much more intense on the second, later inflorescence (1st pic).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A confused C. purpurata

I acquired this plant a couple of months ago, bareroot from South America.  It is on Southern hemisphere time - a sheath with no buds yet, and new root growth.  It is set to bloom late Fall, or winter, while it would be blooming about now in this hemisphere.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cattleya mendelii buds

Cattleya mendelii is a really nice species - I don't know why it isn't more common.  I'll be looking forward to posting the flowers on this one.

Cattleya walkeriana initiating growth

I have tried growing this species a few times, always killing it.  This time I am going to try mounting on a piece of cork bark.  Normally when I kill a species a few times I move on and decide I'm not going to waste any more money.  However, at the Sonoma Orchid Society show earlier this year I saw a small division of C. walkeriana semi-alba from Austin Creek Orchids for just $25 - for that price I decided to give it one more shot.  This was the only plant I bought at the show.  It has just been sitting unpotted doing nothing for a couple of months.  Now the new growth is initiating - when the roots take off I will mount it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cattleya Chocolate Drop

This is a primary hybrid between Cattleya guttata and Cattleya aurantiaca.  The flowers are very heavily textured and shiny - hard to capture easily in a pic.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

C. Stonehouse finally done

This plant bloomed for about 4 months - that is one of the things that makes it worth the space.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cattleya purpurata v. carnea

This is a good but not excellent carnea.  The dorsal sepal is curling back on some of the flowers and each infloresence has only three flowers.  I still like it.  I've spared you from viewing the flamea - not good.  Hoping for much improvement next year.