16 March 2008
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day--Orchids to get through Farch
As we lurch, mutter and whimper through the interminable days of the latter part of Farch, some of us have finally hit the bloomin' wall, so to speak. You've seen my one outdoor 'bloom' in my previous post; I've shared most of the indoor blossoms with you in the past few months (and most of them are still, remarkably, blooming. But this time of year is most assuredly the dark night of the Nova Scotian gardener's soul, because it's still a bit early to start many seeds, unless you have a heated greenhouse, the houseplants are looking a bit spent, and since we're supposed to have more of the white stuff outside over the next couple of days...whatever on earth is a garden blogger supposed to present for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day?
Well, thanks to the local orchid growers, all is not lost. As they did last year, the Valley orchid enthusiasts had a show and sale at Acadia University's KC Irving Environmental Sciences Centre, in the wonderful conservatory. And while the weather didn't cooperate in providing brilliant sunlight like last year, it was still wonderful to see the exotic, exquisite blooms of orchids, and talk to plant people who were equally longing for spring.
Let me stress: none of these are mine. I have exactly ONE orchid (still resisting); a phaelenopsis which has resisted my attempts to kill it, and I am going to invest in another one or two one of these days. Just not yet.
There are a few things that really annoy me (plastic siding, tacky garden geegaws from Wallyworld, canned peas) and one of the things that irks me most is when people paw at other peoples' plants. I wouldn't touch any of these plants without their owners right there to bless that, not even to turn a pot or look at a label. This all goes back to one day years ago when I had picked out a lovely sanguinaria in bloom at a nursery I like and was heading to the cashier with it. This dumb-as-a-stump customer ahead of me turned and looked at my plant, said, "Ohhhhh, isn't that pretty", grabbed at the flower...which promptly dropped most of its petals. If looks could kill... So at this display, I craned my neck and peeked between leaves and sprays of flowers, looking for labels if they weren't clearly showing, but I wouldn't move stems or leaves to take photos of the names. These are some plants that I did manage to get the names of. Meet SLC 'Frolic'; SLC, I have learned, stands for Sophrolaeliocattleya...whew! Are orchid breeders related to plant taxonomists? Say that name five times quickly!
Ah, this is easier. Zygocolax 'Judith Phillips', anyone?
Bealara marfitch 'Howard's Dream' had several large sprays of most marvelous blooms.
I think this may have been my favourite, or at least in the top three: IBLC 'Lone Pine'. Isn't she lovely?
And this is Laelia Santa Barbara Sunset 'Showtime', another of my top three favourites.
This moody looking beauty is Lycaste 'Terry Kennedy'. I find that the really fluorescent and the really deep colours are the ones I like best.
A nice basket of orchids...I would have happily bought that and taken it home, except it wasn't for sale, not surprisingly.
I've also discovered I really like cymbidiums and this will probably be the species I try next. This elegant beauty is Cymbidium 'Pelleas Merah'.
This Cymb. 'Bold as Brass Flash' brought me to a halt. It smelled divine, though not overwhelmingly so, and the colour just said spring, spring, spring. This rounds out my top three.
On the other hand, this Crackerjack Midnight Magic cymbidium was deeply mysterious and also one that was fragrant, at least I think that was where the scent came from. The plant was a little taller than me, and I wouldn't haul the spray down to smell it, like one rude woman did.
Since we need a bit of a colour shakeup, here's Phragmipedium besseae,
Rounding out our romp through the orchid display is Cymbidium 'Lipper Leo', easily the most floriferous of the collection. I stayed in there for two hours, talking to some of the enthusiasts I know, and to others who were lured out with the promise of spring. We all told ourselves and each other we'd make it through winter, and we will. Displays like this are like instant sunshine to a gardener's soul, aren't they?