An interesting and wonderful Aussie native, these orchids are intriguing in plant and name. Widely accepted as Dockrillias, but also known as Dendrobiums, they occur in Australia and New Guinea. They look spectacular when mounted on boards where their thickened leaves can hang down like a veil (indeed they are often called the Bridal Veil Orchids). A mixed collection of species and hybrids will reward with flowers all year round.
This beautiful Chain Orchid is Dendrochilum macranthum ‘Suwada’. Originating in the Philippines, it is a large growing orchid producing long chains of creamy yellow flowers that can easily reach 25cm. The magic of this plant is the fragrance – on a warm afternoon, the shadehouse fills with a buttery, vanilla scent. Simply stunning.
Brassia orchids are commonly called Spider Orchids and Brassia Rex is undoubtedly the king of the spider orchids. A primary hybrid between Brassia verrucosa and B. gireoudiana, Rex has large, showy, spider like flowers. This variety ‘Orchidup’ has a distinctly yellow/ green colour and the flowers are very robust. Too big and awkward to capture in a single shot, the flower measured 32cm from top to bottom (specimens in excess of 40cm are commonly recorded). This variety is uber-vigouros! Divisions of this plant have been dispersed amongst friends and still we have dozens of pots – all from one lowly seedling purchased about 10 years ago.
The colours in this beautiful Australian Dendrobium are simply gorgeous. There is a good flower count on what is quite a small plant. An unregistered hybrid, it runs with the name of (Jamie Upton x Tweed) ‘Stupid Orange’ x Aussie Parade ‘Carrot Splash’. There are more of this cross due to flower, so we eagerly await to see what colours will arise.
Colmanara Wildcat is a great winter warmer with its fiery red and yellow tones. The lustrous quality of the petals make it shine through the gloom of a rainy day. An older variety but robust and very desirable.
Orchids are grown for their superb and showy flowers but on some occasions, if you look “behind the scenes” you can find beauty of a different nature. This is the back view of Dendrobium Microchip – an outstanding miniature orchid. Whilst the front is very pleasing, the back has these delightful maroon speckles. A cool growing orchid from Papua New Guinean heritage, the really outstanding feature of this plant is the longevity of the flowers. These flowers have been going for nearly 3 months and aside from a bit of weather damage, they look like they will continue their show for a good while yet. Keep an eye out for these plants as their ease of growth, compact nature and long flowering period will make them extremely popular in the future.
On a warm summers day, we would rather be at the beach than in the shadehouse, but then we might miss the chance of seeing these beauties. The miltoniopsis (or Pansy orchids) flower mainly over summer and in to autumn. A mature plant such as this is absolutely spectacular with a fragrance like a rose. They are regarded as a bit difficult to grow but we seem to have the right climate to suit their needs. They are kept outdoors all year round in the same conditions as our Pleurothallids (quite cool and lots of water all year round). Finding them in Australia is not easy though, so last year we hunted down a breeder in Hawaii who supplies to a company in Holland and we have imported some of these well travelled plants as tissue cultures. In a few years, we hope to have hundreds of these plants in flower – but here’s hoping we still get time to spend at the beach!