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
Click link to view previous Orchid of the Month articles.
Orchid of the Month – February 2016 – Paphiopedilum x leeanum.
Orchid of the Month – March 2016 – Brassolaeliocattleya Young min Orange
Orchid of the Month – April 2016 – The Epidendrum floribundum conundrum.
Orchid of the Month – May 2016 – Eulophia guineensis.
Orchid of the Month – June 2016 – Phalaenopsis mannii
Orchid of the Month – July 2016 – Phalaenopsis tetraspis
Orchid of the Month – August 2016 – Miltonia spectabilis
Orchid of the Month – September 2016 – Prosthechea cochleata hybrid
Orchid of the Month – October 2016 – Coelogyne Rebecca Howe
Orchid of the Month – November 2016 – Cymbidium ensifolium cultivars.
Orchid of the Month – December 2016 – Coelia bella
Orchid of the Month – January 2017- Encyclia cordigera
Orchid of the Month – February 2017 – Coelogyne usitana
Orchid of the Month – March 2017 – Phalaenopsis Sweet Memory ‘Liodoro’
Orchid of the Month- April 2017 – Coelogyne X Neroli Cannon
Orchid of the Month – May 2017 – Asconopsis Irene Dobkin ‘Elmhurst’
Orchid of the Month – June 2017 -Warczewiczella discolor (formerly Cochleanthes discolor)
Orchid of the Month – July 2017- Coelogyne Bird In Flight
Orchid of the Month – August 2017 – Coelogyne speciosa
Orchid of the Month -September 2017 – Encyclia tampensis var. alba
Orchid of the Month – October 2017 – Bulbophyllum Valley Isle Queen
Orchid of the Month – November 2017 – Coelogyne pandurata
Orchid of the Month – December 2017 – Galeandra baueri
Orchid of the Month – January 2018 – Miltonia Queen Ann
Orchid of the Month – February 2018 -Coelogyne lawrenceana
Orchid of the Month – March 2018 – Pabanisia Eva’s Blue Amazon
Orchid of the Month – April 2018 – Brassavola nodosa
Orchid of the Month – May 2018 – Dendrobium Golden Aya
Orchid of the Month – June 2018 – Promenzella ‘Sunlight’
Orchid of the Month – July 2018- Epidendrum Plastic Doll
Orchid of the Month – August 2018 – Prosthechea prismatocarpa
Orchid of the Month – September 2018 – Coelogyne chloroptera
Orchid of the Month – October 2018 – Coelogyne Lyme Bay
Orchid of the Month – November 2018 – Coelogyne pulverula
Orchid of the Month – December 2018 – Milmiltonia Sunset
Orchid of the Month – January 2019 – Epidendrum Pink Cascade
Epidendrum Pink Cascade is a primary hybrid between Epidendrum ilense and E. revolutum. As far as I know, it is only available from Burnham Nurseries in Devon, and it is there that this hybrid was made. I am not sure exactly when this occurred, as information is rather scarce, but I don’t believe I’ve seen an adult plant yet (note the difference between a flowering size plant and a mature adult plant), but the young plants that I have seen at the nursery, and the one that I own, are already a couple of feet tall. Judging by the size that E. ilense can reach, I imagine this hybrid will become a big specimen in years to come.
My plant has two canes, the flowers arising from the older one. The younger cane is still growing, even though it is several inches taller than the other. I grow it in a warm room, but it is definitely tolerant of lower temperatures, and may even prefer them, as it is quite difficult to keep it sufficiently watered in warm conditions, which is unusual for Epidendrum. When placed outside for the summer, it plumped up very nicely indeed, though it still has quite soft foliage compared to the other Epidendrum orchids that I grow. I assume from this that it is happier slightly cooler than I usually keep it. It has a good root system and does not seem to resent being disturbed when potting it on. It enjoys bright light, but I suggest you provide slightly more shade than you would for thicker leafed varieties of Epidendrum.
As with most reed-type Epidendrum, flowers are produced from the top of the completed cane, on a long thin inflorescence which hangs down gracefully, the flowers being held in a loose bunch at the tip. Inflorescences should not be removed until they are thoroughly dry, brown and dead, because they can continue to produce blooms for some time.