Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Summer Blooms - Part One

There have been quite a lot of blooms this season, so here are a couple of pictures to prove it.

Firstly the beautiful Dendrobium farmeri. I shouldn't really attempt to grow this because it wants cooler temperatures than I can give it in my growroom. However, I can get some success by allowing it to grow in the growroom until it has just finished its new canes and then bringing it into the living room where the night temperatures are cooler and the canes can ripen and bloom. The result of this experiment was two spikes of beautiful delicately scented flowers. I was quite surprised at how long the lasted (around two weeks) as I have always been led to believe that the blooms were short lived though I guess its all relative. I've had this plant for some time, and it is really the last survivor of the cool growers which had to go either because they couldn't survive in the warm or because they refused to bloom. Hopefully I have cracked it with this species and it will now bloom regularly for me. If it does, I might try the same with some of the nobile types and species such as D. thrysiflorum, which is closely allied to D. farmeri.

Another welcome first blooming for me is Coelogyne Bird In Flight, pictured above. The parents of this are C. usitana (pod) and C. lawrenceana (pollen). Both being warm growers (usitana - definitely so, lawrenceana - depends on who you ask but my plants do fine), the hybrid should be very happy in my growroom. I got the plant as a nice sized seedling from Burnham Nurseries a couple of years ago. It is reputed to be a slow grower. I take this to mean that both its parents mature a growth and then have a "rest" for a few weeks before starting to grow again, and the trait has been passed on to the hybrid. I can confirm that this is indeed the case, but I wouldn't call the plant slow. Pseudobulbs have been gradually increasing in size, and this year's offering is the largest yet. I have to say I was expecting another year before I got a flower so I was quite surprised to see a flower stem and not at all surprised when the first two buds blasted. This plant is a sequential bloomer like both its parents and I got two flowers from the spike. They are of a good size and shape, and last well. I look forward to seeing this bloom more profusely in the future.

Summer update

Once again, it feels like absolutely forever since I updated my blog (because it has). I have been tremendously busy with one thing or another, but I continue to buy (rather too many), grow, and bloom (rather too few) orchids.

I learned a rather hard lesson in June when I went on holiday for a week to Scotland (very nice, thank you for asking). Usually in the UK June is quite wet and not usually hot. This year has been rather different and June was very hot indeed (at least by UK standards) and very dry indeed (at least in my area, not so across the country as a whole). Usually when I go away, I close the growroom window and door to keep some humidity in and give the plants a good watering before I go away. Normally I find the plants have dried down quite nicely over the course of a week and need watering again upon my return. Not so this time. I came back to find the plants till far too wet (you can see what's coming, can't you?). At first glance the damage didn't seem too bad but as any grower will tell you it can take ages for orchids to respond to anything and it is only now, a month later, that I am finding less black rot in my plants and new growths are starting to open out properly. Notable deaths include Cochleanthes discolor and Coelogyne Orchideengarten Joaquim. Both of these rotted very fast and my efforts to cut out the rotted parts were unsuccessful, sadly. Coelogyne velutina rotted out two new growths and it is still touch and go for some of the others, though the rot hasn't spread into the pseudobulbs and the plant has started to put out more new growths to replace the ones lost. Dendrochilum magnum has almost completely defoliated, though this years new leaves and all pseudobulbs are undamaged. Many other Dendrochilum have ugly spotting on their leaves now, and I think I am going to lose D. coccineum altogether, though I haven't binned it yet. Lesson learned. Next time I shall leave the growroom door open to keep the air moving.

I think I have tracked down the source of the ugly spotting and blotching on many of my Phalaenopsis leaves - mites. I thought I was familiar with red spider mite attacks, and I can usually just about see the little blighters with the naked eye, but it appears that there is a new mite in town that I can't see with the naked eye, and it has been wreaking havoc among my Phalaenopsis (but only my Phalaenopsis, so far as I can see). I had assumed that the damage must be fungal (the visible damage almost certainly is a secondary fungal attack), but having seen the classic silvery appearance of the foliage and flower spikes, I am almost certain it is a mite problem I have. They seem to like P. mannii and amboinensis and their hybrids the best, and seem to leave P. violacea and its hybrids alone altogether. Very odd. I have sprayed with an insecticide to which I have added some soft soap to help with leaf coverage and soap has anti pest properties of its own, as I have discussed in earlier posts. I will spray again at the next watering cycle to catch any eggs hatching, and will continue to spray until I am certain that subsequent generations have been killed.

It all seems doom and gloom, doesn't it? Not so, I'm pleased to say. I am now much less concerned about virus being present in my collection, as I am almost convinced that most problems are environmental and fungal. I have fitted a fine net curtain at the growroom window so I can leave it open without fear of letting lots of pests in, and the result is that I have had no aphids at all this season, so that is a definite improvement on previous years.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Spring update

I must apologise to you, dear readers. I hadn't realised it had been quite so long since my last instalment but, looking back, I can see that I haven't given you an update since January which is very remiss of me indeed. It's not that nothing has been going on; far from it. I have taken on extra hours at work, and I have also been busy at my allotment (yes, I also like to grow my own vegetables!), so as you can imagine, I have had quite a lot going on and my blog has suffered as a result.

Now we have arrived at April and I have started to water twice weekly rather than once as I find the orchids are drying out rather more than I would have liked. We have been lucky enough to enjoy some nice warm sunny spring weather, so it has been getting very warm in the growroom and I have been opening the window during the day to let out some of the heat (it has been getting into the high 20s centirgrade every day in there and I don't like temperatures to get to 30C if I can prevent it. The result is that the humidity has been rather lower than I would like and the plants have been dryer than usual, especially close to the window. Twice weekly watering seems to suit the plants very well, and many plants are now putting on strong new growth. The speciosa type Coelogyne are mostly flowering and I am very impressed with this year's blooming. Here are a few photos.

Coelogyne speciosa 'Burhnam'. This used to be known as C. speciosa 'salmonicolor' but there is already a C. salmonicolor so it can't be called that anymore. This is a nice form of C. speciosa which has very pale flowers which lack the brown lip markings that are so typical of the species. There are three new growths on this plant despite my recent repotting, so it should be a good clumper and flowerer.

This is the regular form of C. speciosa which has also come into flower. This plant is also recently potted on and seems to be settling in well. There are two growing points on this plant despite it being quite small. Note the slightly darker flower colour and the brown lip markings that were absent from the earlier photo.

I bought this plant as Coelogyne salmonicolor x usitana. I take this to mean Coelogyne speciosa var. salmonicolor (as was)  x usitana which makes it a very similar cross to C. Lyme Bay (Lyme bay uses C. speciosa var. incarnata as its parent). I was informed by a friend that this cross was registered in 2014 and is now more correctly known as Coelogyne Orchideengarten Joachim. I'm not sure which is harder to say to be honest, but the plant is magnificent. It takes after its usitana parent in size but has inherited nice short flower spikes from speciosa. It seems very willing to make two shoots per mature pseudobulb so it is clumping up very fast and there are five new growths this time around (so far), most of which will produce flowers.

Not my best photo here, and also a new acquisition, but this is the greenest form of C. speciosa I have found for sale. The flower is quite large and, unusually, is quite pleasantly scented. I just couldn't resist it. It seems a nice plant; compact but with a couple of lead growths and I notice a second flower spike has emerged.

Coelogyne prolifera. This is the only proper yellow Coelogyne species I have. It came from  Orchideengarten Karge in Germany a few months ago. It had two flower spikes on already but has taken some time to produce buds. This species is a little unusual among Coelogyne in that the flower spikes can produce flowers for several years if left on the plant. It is meant to be a cool grower but it is romping away in my warm conditions with two new growths and a new flower spike emerging. The two existing spikes are now producing flowers. They are, undeniably, tiny. It will never be a showy species but I think its pretty.

Coelogyne Neroli Cannon. I've had this plant for around 18 months now and this is its second blooming. A successive bloomer, it looks like there will be several flowers this time, and the plant has produced a second lead growth so there should be two spikes next year.

Coelogyne Orchideengarten Clara. I got this from Orchideengarten Karge at the same time as C. prolifera. This is a slightly odd hybrid involving C. lentil soup (lentiginosa x speciosa) and C. xyrekes. I am pleased to see that it has inherited the nice bronze colour of the new foliage and the almost pinkish tinge to the flowers. It was a well established plant when it arrived, and grows very quickly indeed. I have removed the moss it was growing in and replaced it with medium bark chips and the plant has responded with a flush of new growth and two flower spikes. The blooms are smaller than most of my speciosa types and take much more after the C. xyrekes parent.

As you can see, I've had plenty to keep me busy and this is by no means all that is in flower. I will attempt to post more regularly in future. In the meantime, enjoy the photos!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Bloom Event - Epicyclia Mabel Kanda

I've just been looking through my blog to find a past entry for this, but it seems I've been rather remiss as I can't find one. This plant originally came from Ray Creek Orchids, several years ago, although I have found this plant from another source on the continent and have sold all the plants I got. There seems to be some confusion over the name of this one, and most plants you'll find seem to go under the name Epidendrum floribundum, but this is definitely wrong (check out Google). Further investigation has let me to the name Epicyclia Mabel Kanda, which is a primary hybrid between Epidendrum paniculatum and Encyclia cordigera, and this would certainly make more sense, ans they hybrid does fall almost exactly between the parents.

The flower is a lovely clear green with a delicately marked lip. As a bonus it is very nicely scented which always wins brownie points with me. The flower spike bears quite a few flowers, and is also branching. It is nice and strong and never needs staking, but it does arch quite gracefully.

The plant itself is tallish, though not as tall as its Epidendrum parent. How big it will eventually get I can't say as the canes are still increasing in size. They are quite thick and sturdy and tend to have a purplish cast to them, probably because I grow it under quite high light. It does seem prone to fungal disease, especially on the leaves, but now I'm spraying fairly regularly with fungicide this is becoming less of a problem so the plant is beginning to look more attractive. The root system is very extensive, and seems to like to wander over the surface of the growing medium rather than into it. I have no idea whether the pot is full of roots or not, as I have had no reason to disturb it yet.

It has a nice tight clumping habit and stays compact. I would like to see more lead growths on it, but maybe that is something I can encourage myself after blooming with a back-cut. In light of recent problems with fungal attacks, I shall make absolutely sure that my tools are sterilised before and after doing this, and I shall sprinkle the cut with cinnamon which seems to help prevent diseases getting in.

This is highly recommended by me, especially if you like scented orchids. It is a robust grower, and a regular and reliable bloomer. At time of writing, there are plants available on eBay, going under the erroneous name of Epidendrum floribundum. I can't really blame them for using the old name as the proper name took some finding!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

New Plants - Delivery from Spicesotic

I know I'v not long had a delivery of plants already, but the fever was upon me. Normally, I'm quite wary of ordering plants from eBay, but when you find a seller who seems consistent in their quality of plants, they are worth sticking with. Such is the case with Spicesotic plants, from whom I got my lovely giant Angraecum and my new Coelogyne rochussenii. You can fine this seller on eBay and I recommend them.

First off, we have a rather nice Cochleanthes hybrid. I know there have been some name changes  around Cochleanthes, resulting in some names I can't pronounce, let alone attempt to spell so I'm sticking with Cochleanthes. There aren't many hybrids within the genus at the moment so I'm hoping that once flowers are produced I might be able to put a name to it.

As you can see, it is a large healthy plant and the pot is full of roots. As I understand it, the flower will be a nice dark purple colour. I do have another Cochleanthes in my collection (C. discolor), so I'm hoping that this plant will like my growroom too.

Secondly we have Liparis viridiflora. I have developed rather a liking for Liparis species, and have been on the lookout for a couple more plants from this genus to go with Liparis nutans that I've had for a while and seems to grow well for me. Liparis viridiflora is said to be an equally vigorous plant and eager bloomer. From what I can gather it puts out several growths per year but they all flower at the same time so a decent show is almost guaranteed.

Another large, healthy plant and at a good price. I look forward to it settling in and putting out some flowers in the near future. There are several new growths already coming, so it looks like it will be a good grower!

Third we have Baptistonia echinata. Back when I used to do some selling in my own right, this was one species I used to stock myself. Pity I didn't think to keep one, but such is life. This is a miniature species that produces a frankly amazing amount of flowers considering the size of the plant. Also known (apparently) as the Bumblebee orchid (who the hell by?), Baptistonia echinata has spikes of yellow flowers which often do not open fully but are very beautiful nonetheless.

Believe it or not, this is an adult plant. The flower count will increase with time, but for now I look forward to the flowers it has opening. This may well be a candidate for growing mounted rather than in a pot so the flower spikes can hang down naturally (there is a plan coming together regarding mounted plants; watch this space!)

Fourth,  we have Psychopsis mariposa 'green valley'. Psychopsis have a (not entirely unjustified) reputation as being difficult to grow. I have lost several of these in the past, but I feel that my growing conditions now match quite closely what they want so I have a better chance now of succeeding than at any other time. I do have another cultivar of P. mariposa in my collection which seems to be growing both a new shoot and new roots, so I am hopeful. The new plant is fully grown and bears three flower spikes so I won't have to wait long for flowers. With Psychopsis, one shouldn't remove flower spikes as they can continue to bloom on and off for a number of years. Obviously this makes repotting rather difficult, so it should be done very infrequently. I am hoping to get hold of a bag of Orchidata bark in the near future, so once its done it should be good for several years.

I have to say it has been my experience with orchids that even the ones that are said to resent being repotted won't be a problem provided you disturb the roots as little as possible while changing the growing medium and you make sure you do the job at the appropriate time. If you time it so the roots have just started to grow and don't break roots as you remove the old growing medium (or just 'drop on' if there is a solid mass of roots) then the plant will grow away fine. Hopefully this will hold true with Psychopsis, too. For this genus the plants hate stale growing medium so it is very important that you use good quality orchid bark with no 'fines'.

Lastly, we have Coelogyne trinervis. This is a new species on me, but as it is a warm grower it should do OK in my conditions. From what I can gather, although it isn't the most glamorous species in the genus, it is quite variable with several colour forms out there. What form my new plant is, I haven't the faintest idea, so I look forward to finding out.

Notice from the photo that the plant has three growing points. Flowers should be produced from these before the leaves fully unfurl, so hopefully flowers shouldn't be far away.

Friday, 20 January 2017

New Plants - Visit to Burnham Nurseries

These posts must be getting boring to read, but I'll plough on nevertheless. In an effort to stay the January blues, I quite often make a pilgrimage to the Southwest either Christmas week or just after. This year it was a little later, just after the kids went back to school so all was quiet down there, just as I like it. Since I was in the vague area, I felt it would be rude not to visit Burnham Nurseries. They had published their 'specials' list toward the end of the year, and one or two species on it had piqued my interest so I asked them to put them aside until I visited. I also needed some coarse growing medium to repot my Angraecum. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm far to tight to pay carriage on mere bark chips, so I knew I'd have to visit (not that its a hardship).

It is always good to catch up with the staff at Burnham Nurseries. It is quite rare I get a chance to have a good nerd-out about orchids, so I took the chance and had quite lengthy conversations with two people, mostly about Coelogyne of various types, although I only came back with one (more to follow). I asked about Coelogyne rochussenii (my regular readers will know of the anguish where that species is concerned) and noticed that the plants in their sales area didn't look too clever either. In fact, I was told that quite a lot of plants had gone in the bin and that they hadn't go to the bottom of the infection. Interestingly, their mother plants are entirely unaffected by the disease. The plot thickens. My own plant doesn't appear to be getting worse after a treatment of fungicide, which I consider to be progress. The new growth appears to be clean, too.

On to the point of this post, which is new plants. I picked up quite a bit while wandering around, and I have now got round to photographing them all.

First up is Prosthechea prismatocarpa which I had asked for before Christmas. I had been waiting ages for them to divide up their mother plants and finally I have got one. It is only a small(ish) plant because I couldn't afford the larger ones. It seems a nice plant but I do wish it had had longer to establish itself before being sold.

This is quite a large growing species, but I expect it will be several years before it reaches any large size. I'm slightly concerned that my growroom will be too hot for it, but I've wanted one for years so had to give it a try. I expect I'll get smaller pseudobulbs for a couple of years yet until it is properly established.

Next up is another one I'd asked for beforehand, Pinalia philippinensis. Rather an obscure one, this used to be part of genus Eria before the taxonomists got to work on it. I can really find barely any information on it, so I guess I'll have to just keep an eye on it and see what it does. My main concern isn't so much getting it to grow so much as the habit of the plant.

Scrawny looking thing, isn't it? It looks to me as if it will be something of a climber, with each new growth being above the level of the last one, resulting in it needing constant potting on. Notice it is already in a deep pot and its only a baby.

Next up is Phalaenopsis gigantea. I have had this one on my list for some time so I'm pleased to have found one at a reasonable price. It seems a nice healthy plant and I look forward to seeing it bloom.

It is clearly a baby and is some considerable way off flowering size yet. On adult plants, the leaves can reach around 30cm long, so it certainly lives up to its name. Still it is an attractive plant even when young (if such things float your boat), and I'm (relatively) patient.

Next up is Phalaenopsis fasciata. This isn't the most thrilling species in the genus, but will be attractive in its own right, especially if, like me, you're a fan of the more 'botanical' species.

Another nice healthy plant and much closer to flowering size than Phalaenopsis gigantea is. The nursery seem to have a new supplier and they have far more in the way of Phalaenopsis species than they used to (most of which I've already purchased and are growing away nicely).

Next is Renanthopsis Newberry Charm. I'm quite partial to these intergeneric hybrids featuring Phalaenopsis. The cross here is Renanthera Brookie Chandler x Phalaenopsis philippinensis. You may remember that I am already growing Renanthopsis Mildred Jameson and it isn't giving me any trouble (apart from not flowering since I got it) so I'm confident that this one will do equally well.

The plant is flowering size, but I can't see any evidence of old flower spikes, so I'll have to play it by ear. I expect they'll both flower at the same time. I wonder if some cooler nights might be what is needed. Worth a try. I'm glad these grow well for me because Renanthera really don't seem to like being grown in a pot and I almost lost mine through not changing the potting medium as soon as I got it. As it stands, the plant seems over the worst and has produced a new root (Renanthera never produce many roots). Renanthopsis, however, seem perfectly happy to grow in a pot like any other Phalaenopsis, although they do root from further up the stem than Phalaenopsis do so there tend to be a lot of aerial roots.

Next up is Angraecum sororium. I'm not overly familiar with this species and I have read (once I got home) that it is a cool growing, high elevation species so it might not have been a wise move.

Once again, this is a young plant (or several plants) with a good deal of growing to do before reaching flowering size. Once I see concrete signs of growth, I'll feel more confident about this species. It is also one of the large species, and mature plants are a tuft of leaves on top of a bare stem Still, the flowers will be beautiful as you'd expect from an Angraecum species. It might be that I'll decide to separate out the individual plants, but by the same token if I'm going to end up with a length of bare stem it might be better left in a clump. I'll just have to keep an eye on it and see what it does.

Next up is Aerangis macrocentra. I'm getting into these Aerangis species in a big way. I only hope they take to me as much.

This is ostensibly an young plant but it is a miniature species anyway so probably isn't that far off flowering size. There were three plants in the pot, which I have potted separately. We'll see how they do. There isn't a great deal more to say about this until it wakes up and does something so watch this space.

Next up is an impulse buy of Dendrochilum coccineum. This is a relatively newly discovered and, therefore, still quite rare species. If I'm absolutely honest, this isn't the best plant in the world but I'm hoping it'll perk up once I've had it for a while.

It was buried rather too deep in the growing medium which was causing new growths to rot off. I have scraped away some of the bark chips to expose the pseudobulbs so hopefully that'll put it right. When I saw this, I couldn't resist because it has red flowers and I' haven't got a red flowered Dendrochilum. I'm quite excited to flower it.

Finally, I have ended up with yet another colour form of Coelogyne speciosa. This is a good sized plant, and the only one I got that was in flower. In the nursery, I was told that this was an old flower, but I have had it in my growroom for well over a week and it shows no sign of going over yet.

The flower is large and quite yellow with almost red in the throat. It is also very strongly scented (not in a good way, alas!) which is something I've not noticed on any of my other plants of this species despite sticking my nose right in them every time they bloom. I was told in the nursery that this plant originally came from New Zealand and is reputed to be a truer form of the species than the other forms they sell (C. speciosa 'burnham' may turn out to be an entirely different species or even a hybrid). I'm pleased to have got hold of another form of it, whatever it is.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

New Plants - Coelogyne from Orchideengarten Karge, Germany.

Ever since I found out that the Coelogyne usitana x Coelogyne speciosa (salmonicolor variety, now known as C. speciosa 'Burnham' in the UK) hybrid had a name, I've been keen to get some more of those hybrids. The above plant's actual name is now Coelogyne Orchideengarten Joachim, and it actually came from Schwerter in March 2016, so I've had it almost a year now, and have successfully bloomed it. It posesses all the hybrid vigour you might expect and seems to take rather after Coelogyne usitana in its size and spread, though produces multiple growths much more in the style of Coelogyne speciosa.

It turns out that there are several of these hybrids that have only been recently registered, and I finally tracked down the nursery to Orchideengarten Karge, in Germany. The website is all in German (as you'd expect), and they haven't got round to writing an English version yet, but Google translate does all the work for you, and if you actually contact them via email, you will find their English to be excellent (and certainly better than my German). They were courteous and very helpful all the way through the ordering process and seemed keen to know when the plants had arrived and whether I was happy with them or not.

The whole ordering process went without a hitch. They even send orders from overseas on Mondays so the parcels have the best possible chance of reaching their destination that very week. Had it not been for the unbelievable incompetence of Parcelforce, the orchids would indeed have arrived that week. As it was, I had the worry of sharp frosts (around -8C) while waiting over the weekend for the parcel to be delivered the following Monday.

I needn't have worried about the plants though. Apart from looking like they'd been drop-kicked repeatedly from the diving board of an Olympic swimming pool by Parcelforce during its multiple trips back to depot, they survived the trauma remarkably well.

"So," I hear you ask, "What did you get?"

Firstly, Coelogyne prolifera. I know, after going on and on about these random hybrids people are making, I still manage to order a species. It was quite cheap, however, and I've yet to see it for sale in the UK.

This one I have had to speedily re-pot because it had been shaken out of its pot in transit. I should point out here that the packing of the plant itself was excellent, but it is almost impossible to take into account the contempt with which delivery companies handle our parcels ("Logistics" indeed!). The plant has two lead growths (one of which has been damaged, unfortunately), and two flower spikes from mature pseudobulbs. Coelogyne prolifera is not like many other Coelogyne species, and flowers are produced from both new and existing flower spikes (hence the name). The flowers are small (around a centimetre or less) and yellow. It will never be a showstopper, but will be an interesting "botanical" for me to grow. It is listed as needing cooler temperatures than I have, but I am confident that it will be adaptable enough to do well for me. It appears to have a somewhat rambling habit with some space between pseudobulbs so it will need regular potting on.

Second is one of those hybrids I was talking about. Its official name is Coelogyne Orchideengarten Sabine. The actual cross, after a little digging, is Coelogyne speciosa x Coelogyne Memoria Wilhelm Micholitz. If you read this blog regularly, you will already know that I grow both of its parents already, and that they both grow very easily and flower regularly.

As you can see, the plant arrived in bloom, but the flowers have not travelled well and have since fallen. I shall wait until new flowers are produced before attempting more photography on it. The influence of Coelogyne lawrenceana can bee seen in the height and shape of the pseudobulbs, while the white colouring of the blooms has carried over from Coelogyne mooreana. Coelogyne Memoria Wilhelm Micholitz is a lovely hybrid and can be seen here. How the crossing of Micholitz onto Coelogyne speciosa (the pod parent - when you read the cross of a hybrid, the pod parent is always stated first, the pollen parent second), I can't say for sure but it looks like it will flower sequentially and on droopier spikes. An interesting hybrid. Whether it will be equal to or greater than its parents remains to be see.

This plant has now been repotted as well. Both this and the following hybrid were growing (quite happily I must stress) in sphagnum moss. While this works for many growers (sphagnum moss is the only growing medium allowed if you intend to ship plants outside of the EU), it doesn't seem to work for me, so it had to go. I realise that the prospect of completely changing potting medium seems drastic to a lot of people, but I really have no fear of doing it. Sphagnum moss stays much too wet for plants in my collection (at least for plants above a certain size), so there would have been no benefit to waiting for new roots to start to form and it probably would have been more damaging to do so. This was a week ago and I don't actually think the plant has really noticed (a good sign). I separated off a baby plant (possibly a separate seeding, so it may be slightly different from the main plant) and have potted that as well, though I suspect it'll be some time before it reaches blooming size.

The third and final hybrid is the one I have been most excited about. It is called Coelogyne Orchideengarten Clara and is, at least to me, a very interesting hybrid. The cross is Coelogyne Lentil Soup x xyrekes. Coelogyne lentil soup is a hybrid between C. speciosa and C. lentiginosa. I have to say I wouldn't mind getting hold of Coelogyne lentil soup, either, but the nursery who made the cross (Orchideengarten Karge once again) haven't got it listed for sale. The other parent, Coelogyne xyrekes, is quite hard to find for some reason (it should be noted that Coelogyne is a very underrated genus and many lovely species and hybrids are still quite difficult to locate), and is near the top of my list of species to find. It is relative of Coelogyne speciosa (part of the so called speciosa group) and is quite similar to it but it has nice bronzed young foliage and much stiffer foliage.

As you can see, another good sized, robust looking plant. This one had just started to suffer in transit, and small patches of rot had started to appear on some of the newly emerging foliage. These have, luckily, dried out and I don't think I need worry any longer. a flower spike remains, and there is a bud forming so hopefully it won't be long before I see a flower. You may notice I speak as though I don't know what the flowers will be like, even though there are plenty of photos on the seller's website. This is because these plants are seedlings and will all be subtly different. There are several lead growths and several new shoots emerging on this plant and I suspect there is more than one seedling in there, though I shall not attempt to separate them out. You really can't see from the photo but the lovely bronzed new foliage of Coelogyne xyrekes has come through beautifully in this hybrid and I think the plant is very attractive indeed even when not in bloom.

This plant has also been re-potted into bark chips and also appears not to have noticed. It looks like it has inherited a good clumping habit, and should flower well. I was immediately told by a friend that Coelogyne xyrekes has smaller flowers than Coelogyne speciosa but since Coelogyne speciosa has almost the largest flowers in the genus, that wouldn't really be much of a surprise. Besides which, with hybrid vigour and Coelogyne speciosa in the background (albeit only a quarter), who knows? Size isn't everything, anyway.

There are a couple more of these hybrids on Orchideengarten Karge's website, one of which is Coelogyne Lyme Bay. I would be interested to know whether they have propagated plants supplied by Burnham Nurseries (who first made the cross) or whether it is a re-make. I would favour the latter. I'm half tempted to get one of their plants so I can compare it with my plant from Burnham Nurseries. It looks from the pictures as if the lip is lighter on the German plants, but that could be down to several factors, only one of which is genetic. As I understand it, Burnham Nurseries selected the plants that had the darkest lip and propagated from those. I have no idea what happened to the other seedlings that were produced and, presumably, flowered. Until my plant blooms again, I can't know for sure how dark my plant is but I understand it to be a division of one of their awarded plants so it should be a good one (if dark lips is what you look for in such a hybrid).