Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hardy Orchids

Frankly, I didn't have a clue what to write about today. The garden is winding down and nothing much is blooming besides the Black Eyed Susans (and I already wrote about them), so I just flipped through some pictures until I came upon something I liked. I used to think of Orchids as something other people grew, tempermental things that would just up and die on me given half a chance. I couldn't have been more wrong about the two whose pictures follow.
This first one is Calanthe tricarinata. It has never increased, but it is still there after many years, blooming dependably in mid-summer. The flowers are orange and yellow; the leaves are a soft green, pleated lengthwise. The blooms last for several weeks and each is a perfect 'orchid shaped' bloom. It is no more than a foot tall, so need to be placed at the front of the border where you will thoroughly enjoy it every time you walk past.

The second one I grow is Calanthe discolor. This one increases quite well and I have divided it to pot up for several years now, a few divisions each year. The flowers are a baby pink and the leaves are the same pleated green of the one above. They are both growing in dappled shade in woodsy soil.
I do grow one other, the name of which escapes me right now since I don't have a picture of it to refer to - that being because it seems to be really tasty and most years gets nipped off about a foot above the ground by a rabbit or one of its friends. It bloomed once for me and has a creamy colored cup shaped bloom. It is a vining/climbing plant and will be caged this year so that it can grow and bloom.

So don't be afraid to try orchids. The ones above are easy ones to start with and aren't unduly expensive.


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