Monday, November 2, 2009


The season is changing. There are fewer garden chores and fewer nice days to garden out side. It's time to transition over to indoor gardening. Setting off the indoor season with a bang this past weekend was the Massachusetts Orchid Society Annual Show and Sale "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered." They really did go with the Halloween theme.

Phalenopsis gardenstorii (not bought at the sale but it makes a nice picture)

I went on Friday after my volunteer shift and did something unforgivable. I forgot to take my camera. Unfortunately the show location was about an hour and a half from my house so I didn't run home to get it. You'll just have to make do with photos of my new orchids.

Oncidium Tsiku Margurite

I was very impressed with the show. There were some spectacular plants on view. There were the expected Catallyas (those frilly, showy orchids used in corsages), Phalenopsis (the "moth orchid" that's for sale in grocery stores, garden centers and big box retailers all over the place and is so easy and rewarding to grow) but there were also some varieties I had never even heard of or seen before.

Masdevillia Angel Tang (The Husband very cleverly pointed out that the 2" pots fit nicely in some of my hand made pottery mugs. That's another interest I have that has resulted in too many - too many pottery crawls, too many interesting potters, too many mugs!)

The group of plants known as orchids appear quite diverse. Despite the obvious differences they share a common flower structure. Yes, really. It has to do with number of petals, sepals, pistils and so forth. If you're really into botany you know this already. If you aren't you probably aren't interested in the details so I'll skip them (and then my ignorance of the subject won't be exposed).

Anacheillum cochleatum (I think the name has recently been changed so if you know it as something else that's why. Darn those taxonomists!)

Did you know that there are native orchids all over the United States? Many of them are terrestrial, often seasonal, and almost always overlooked by lay persons. One of my favorites is the crane fly orchid is native to much of the Eastern United States. In the winter it sends up a single leaf, purple on one side, green (sometimes marked with purple) on the other. When conditions are favorable you'll see whole areas of these leaves sticking up. In the spring the leaf dies back and nothing happens until July or August when the flower stalk rises from the leaf litter. I think it's a seriously cool plant. Colorful leaves in winter, delicate flowers in summer and taking off the spring and fall. Not exactly what most people expect from a plant.

Tipularia discolor, the Crane Fly Orchid

I couldn't leave the show without buying some orchids for my house. I don't have enough house plants to get through the long, indoor winters. Yet. So I'm trying my hand at some new (to me) varieties of orchids. Should give me something to fuss over during the indoor gardening season.

Paphiopedilum Night Fire X Macabre Pie

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