For my plant of the month article for April, I thought I would present you with a bit of a mystery. Maybe my readers can help me shed some light on this. I purchased this plant from an orchid show a few years ago labelled as Epidendrum floribundum. I've always rather liked Epidendrum, Encyclia and other Cattleya relatives. I admit that when I purchased it I had no idea what it would look like in flower. When I got home, I did a bit of … [Read more...]
Orchid of the month
My name is Kevin Wigley and, as I have been invited to write a monthly article for the Orchid Study Group, I thought it might be good to introduce myself and give you all an idea of who I am and what I’m all about.
I suppose I must have been growing orchids for somewhere between twenty and twenty-five years now, so I guess that makes orchids pretty much a lifelong passion of mine. I won’t divulge my exact age, so let’s say I tick the 35-40 box when form-filling. I live in the Midlands, not far from, but not in Birmingham. During office hours, I work for a small family- run plastic moulding business, specializing in low volume parts for various other industries, ranging from aerospace to construction. I would love to be able to make a living out of my hobby, but in this modern age of cheap, imported plants and throwaway culture, I haven’t found a way of realizing this dream in a way that doesn’t seem to me a sell-out.
I don’t have a greenhouse (at least, not that I use for growing anything other than tomatoes). I grow my orchids in an adapted room in my house, under lights. This generally seems very agreeable to the orchids, and I think that my results are improving year on year. I rather fancy that were I to build a greenhouse in the future (which isn’t impossible), I would discover that it comes with a wealth of problems of its own, much the same as growing under lights does.
I am, by my own admission, very much an amateur orchid grower, and I don’t get involved with growing from seed and that side of things, as I’m far too impatient to wait for babies to grow to flowering size. Far better to leave that to people who know what they’re doing. I guess I must own probably three or four hundred orchids, mostly in the intermediate to warm-growing category, since there’s no point growing orchids that aren’t going to thrive for me, just because I think they’re pretty. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t killed my fair share of orchids through choosing plants inappropriate to my growing conditions. These days, I try (not always successfully) to exercise a little more restraint. I have a particular penchant for Coelogyne, and Dendrochilum, though my favourite tends to be whatever happens to be in bloom when I’m asked.
Hopefully, as we get to know each other a little better over the coming months, I’ll give more information on how I grow specific plants and on the growing conditions in my grow-room. It would also be nice to show that anyone of any age and ability can successfully grow orchids, and that there really is no secret mystique to this hobby at all.
Believe it or not, I was given this Cattleya (along with quite a few other orchids, including a very large blue Vanda) by a friend a couple of years ago. It bears a Chantelle Orchids label, and when I first had it, was potted in very compressed Sphagnum moss. I believe Chantelle imports her orchids from her brother’s nursery in Taiwan, and the moss is the only medium that can be brought through customs. Anyway, the root system was nice … [Read more...]
Paphiopedilum x leeanum is an attractive and easy to grow British-bred primary hybrid between Paphiopedilum spicerianum (pollen) and Paphiopedilum insigne (seed), first made in 1884. Flowers have some variability, but mostly fall between their parents, the pouch being reddish brown, the petals greenish with longitudinal brown stripes, and the dorsal sepal white with a green base and reddish speckling. Foliage is uniformly green and sits … [Read more...]