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?


  1. You bet they are like instant sunshine. Simply beautiful. They almost look unreal with the hues all being so vivid. They are sight for color-starved eyes.

  2. It is dangerous for me to look at pictures of orchids. I want some more! Actually I want some miniature orchids to put in a large unplanted terrarium that I have. But I digress.

    Bless you as you get through these days of Farch when others are able to get out to their gardens a few hours here and there and you are still stuck indoors, trapped by the weather. You'll make it! We are all pulling for you.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  3. Got to love orchids. I love too see pictures of these shows since I never get to attend any. Such nice colors and varieties. I hope for you weather to get better soon so we can see your beautiful blooms again.

  4. I understand not handling other people's plants. It's the same for people who own motorcycles. No touching without permission! There's no need to - gardeners and motorcyclists are always plenty happy to tell you what you want to know.

    It's almost especially odd in a plant show or nursery setting - a bit like being at a museum and having someone else follow you from painting to painting. Or shopping for clothes, and having people handle the items you have in your hands. So irritating!

    Uh, I'm actually very friendly, you know! :)

  5. I understand your crabbiness, Jodi. I get that way in August after a long summer with another month to go.

    Hang in there. You'll have blooms next month, and a glorious summer to look forward to.

  6. Thank you for this BURST of colour in Farch! Wonderful.

  7. OOOOH, an orchid show, the most wonderful plant experience indoors. Unlike plant shows with outdoor plants in an unnatural setting, the orchids don't seem that unhappy to be inside, unless you live in Florida or Costa Rica or Hawaii, I suppose. Thanks for those gorgeous photos of beautiful blooms. I think Black Magic was one of the cymbiduims I used to have, here's a tip for them if you get one, feed, feed, feed!
    Frances at Faire Garden

  8. We are still in cold, damp days here and your orchid pictures are a bright spot! It won't be long now! I love that lemon yellow orchid also.

  9. Hi Jodi, Thanks for your comment on dandelions on my blog today.
    Hey how does that Bloggers Bloom Day work?
    What are the rules?
    We share the same 3 bad habits: cats, books and plants.

  10. Thanks for that lovley tour of orchids! I've got a weak spot for orchids - especialy during the dreary winter.
    /Katarina (Roses and stuff)

  11. Dear Jodi,
    thank you for this wonderful Orchid-Collection. We have the same favourite, but I missunderstood the name IBLC, Brassolaeliacattleya ok, but what means the "I"? I have no idea?
    Have a great week Wurzerl

  12. It's getting harder each day to hope Spring is around the corner. I'm beginning to think it took a wrong turn somewhere.

    Your photos help to cheer me up but I'll soon go back to scratching at the door with the cats waiting to be let outside.

  13. Jodi - fabulous orchids. If you can grow those, you should have no trouble growing the Billbergia you saw at my Garden Wise Guy blog. I did a google search using "Billbergia houseplant" and got some promising info. I think you should give it a try.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, too!

  14. Hi Jodi .. I'm afraid I am going to yield some day too .. I am afraid of killing an orchid .. and I missed the boat when there were such pretty ones available last few weeks .. now the push is on for for reality gardening ? haha
    BUT .. I think next winter (ugh .. can't believe I said THAT) .. I will stick my big toe in and get an orchid .. now if you have any suggestions for an orchid with 'training wheels" ? I'd appreciate that ! LOL

  15. Beautiful photos! At our local Cactus and Succulent Society annual show, we have the same problem with visitors touching the cactus and succulents. Some of these entries are 40 years old and very fragile, and although there are signs everywhere, it seems people just can't keep their hands off. Not even the spines scare them away.

  16. I thought I would pick a favorite and tell you which one, but the more I tried to decided, the more i just didn't know! I don't think I could grow them, as I would want of each. Thank you for the wonderful pictures.

  17. Orchids are really so unique -- everything about them screams, "Look at me!" :) Thanks for sharing the show with us.

  18. Farch, the dark days of the gardener's soul . . . it almost makes me want to apologize for the snowdrops. Almost. Like the others, I am rooting for you, and am glad you got to spend an afternoon among orchids.

  19. Orchids are so lovely, but they seem too complicated for me. I bought my first one a few months ago, if it lives and does well, I might just have to get a few more.

  20. Jodi - wow - those photos are amazing. I'm sure they brighten your days up there. Spring is just around the corner, I promise. I am STILL resisting all the orchids around me in the stores - i prefer to let them live! Pam's right - just keep thinking about how much you will be enjoying your summer while we're choking on the heat and can't leave the house and the air conditioning!

  21. Jodi - I did think the first picture was of your orchids - until I read on. You will certainly have to get some. I appreciate that my orchids like to bloom in winter, so as to brighten up these months. Thanks for the great pictures!

  22. OOOooooo...beautiful indeed! I especially love the red/ornage ones!
    Hang in there..I have tangible evidence that Spring is heading northward!

  23. Jodi, how on EARTH did you manage to resist those? I'm afraid I wouldn't have been able to do it. My amaryllis are the only things getting me through these final days of winter.
    Those are absolutely gorgeous and I can only imagine the wonderful fragrance!

  24. Ahhhh, orchids! Most of mine are just starting to send up bloom stalks now, so I too am waiting to get the big-bloom thrills at the orchid show at Longwood Gardens at the end of the month. Thanks for sharing some of the wonderful blooms with us!!! I love the fragrant cymbidiums, too. And I encourage you to try more orchids--I've found them to be much tougher than their reputations and price tags would lead one to suppose.

  25. Wow! Beautiful orchids! Great pictures...
    I wish I had the space for them. They can certainly make your day so much brighter when the weather outside is so glum and cold.

  26. What excellent photos of these lovelies. I had intended on posting a bunch more photos from my Butchart Gardens trip for GBBD but ended up working late and just didn't get to it. So, being late, I did a beauty post instead. Oh well, for the next GBBD I can always post some of those lovely Butchart photos -- we definitely won't be anywhere close to having flowers yet next month.

    Thanks for this pleasurable romp among the orchids!


  27. Orchids are some seriously funky flowers!

  28. Instant sunshine indeed! Thanks for sharing all this beauty Jodi. What a pleasure it must've been for you, and a fantastic way to break up these dreary end-of-winter days.
    I haven't tried orchids yet, but one of these days I will. How would you ever choose between all these gorgeous creatures?
    Wonderful photos!

  29. Well Jodi I'm glad you got a much needed dose of blooms. Farch can be endless and as a gardener you need to be out and about and smell the flowers.
    They had a lovely colection of orchids there. I think that Howard's Dream is my favourite; such beautiful colours!

  30. OR when folks reach down and touch a baby without asking... oh but what annoys us wasn't the topic. Sorry.

    Ooooo - I am ga-ga over that SLC 'Frolic' you photographed. For some reason I easily ooo and aaahhh over orchids and I don't try my hand at cultivating them. I have a few but don't bother with them once they've spent their bloom and finished their usefulness indoors. I'm learning though-- through other bloggers and who knows maybe some day...

    This was a cheery post and I am cheering you on as you get through these lingering days until green is part of your world again. I'm sending you sunshine in my thoughts.
    Meems @HoeandShovel

  31. Great orchid pictures! Each one more beautiful than the other. I really can't tell you what's my favourite

  32. Hi Jodi,

    What a lovely place to forget the lingering winter weather! I like that green lost pines orchid, too.
    When I was in college, husband-to-be-Philo and I used to escape the Chicago winter by looking at the orchids in the Lincoln Park Conservatory. The exotic is so refreshing when snow lies outdoors!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  33. Delightful post and beautiful photos, Jodi ... I adore orchids and purchased 2 more on Tues, one a gorgeous photogentic slipper orchid, my new best friend! (Takes my eye off the 'enought is enough' gloomy weather)

  34. Lovely shots Jodi. My father's an orchid-obsessive and has thousands (literally) growing in glasshouses and a shadehouse in his garden. Cymbidiums and most Cattleyas can be grown outdoors in Sydney -- though many of the other orchids you list require a heated glasshouse here.

  35. Stumbled across this older, but no less excellent, post! During a recent landscaping, the crew broke off several labels from my cyms, and I've been trying to find pics to match up with labels and plants when they re-bloom. THANK YOU for that excellent pic of Lipper 'Leo', one of my broken tags. Nice pics!


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