First sip of cyps

We are just starting with the first wave of Cypripedium (ladyslipper orchids) in the garden this week. One of the earliest selections to put on a show is Cypripedium ‘Rascal’, an outstanding cross of Cypripedium kentuckiense and Cypripedium parviflorum var. parviflorum…all US natives.

Calanthe Love

Here is a clump of Calanthe ‘Takane’ in our garden in early April. This amazing and easy-to-grow terrestrial ground orchid forms a dazzling clump with age. This mass started as a single division in a 4″ pot, 17 years ago. Not only do they thrive in the ground, but in Japan, they are prized as container plants.

Calanthe ‘Takane’ is a group of hybrids between Calanthe sieboldii and Calanthes discolor, so each seedling is slightly different in flower color. The foliage remains evergreen during most winters for us, but when temperatures drop near 0 degrees F, the foliage will die back completely. Calanthes thrive best in light shade. Winter hardiness is Zone 7a-9a.

Happened on a Habenaria

Looking particularly good this week is one of the Southeast US (NC to Texas) native water orchids, Habenaria repens. This gem flowers through most of the growing season, and hasn’t slowed down as we enter November. Water spider orchid can grow both as a marginal or as a true aquatic. Our plant is growing in one of our crevice garden seeps. We’re working to get this really cool native propagated and available in the future.

Cymbidium time

The first hardy orchid to flower for us each late winter/early spring is the amazing Cymbidium goeringii ‘Early Riser’. The foliage looks similar to a liriope, until it’s topped with the fascinating flowers. This species is quite easy to grow in average to fairly dry shade.

New discovery – treasure or trash?

We field quite a few calls each year from folks who think they’ve just found the next million dollar plant and want to know how to monetize their discovery. Sadly, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Take our latest discovery above…a nearly albino form of the hardy orchid, Bletilla striata that popped up here in our propagation department.

Despite it looking amazing, does it really have value?

Since it is a near albino, growth will be very slow due to a lack of chlorophyll, so that rules it out immediately for quantity production.

Will the next division also be equally as variegated or will it go back to green?  The answer is…we don’t know.

The question then becomes how many people would purchase it, knowing it’s going to be difficult to grow and it may never multiply or could revert to green?

In cases like this, a venue like EBay could be the best opportunity to match it with someone willing to take a chance. Each plant is different…so what do you think we should do with this one-of-a-kind?