Wish me luck

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This strange – looking, but also stunning plant is a miniature orchid, Sophronitis Cernua. I bought it a year ago at an orchid show, and it just started blooming this week. The leaves are unlike anything I have ever seen, more like succulent leaves, I think. Here’s how one person described them:

“apical, thickly coriaceosu, broadly ovate or elliptic-ovate, obtuse or minutely apiculate leaf that blooms on a terminal, erect, 1″ to 2″ [2 to 5 cm] long, few [4 to 10] flowered inflorescence with nodding flowers occuring in the spring.”

I was beside myself with excitement a month ago, (late spring in the southern hemisphere, right?) when I noticed that one of those leaves did look a bit different from the others. I realized that it was a flower bud that would split wide open, kind of like a milk weed pod,  to produce five bright red-orange flowers.

This orchid is native to Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, and grows as an epiphyte in the wild, usually  close to the sea. Mine is not mounted, but potted in a coarse bark mixture (as it was when I bought it) and sits on my east-facing kitchen window ledge, overlooking a salt pond. Close enough, I guess.

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So here’s where the luck comes in: I have registered this plant and six others in the Cape and Islands Orchid Show which takes place January 12 – 13. This is the biggest show in our region, and the best place to buy plants directly from the growers (thus saving considerable money) and growing supplies. The plants in the photo are my entries, all packed as carefully as possible for hopefully uneventful transport to the show.

I’ll be sure to tell you how my plants fared with the judges.

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About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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14 Responses to Wish me luck

  1. cj wright says:

    Good luck, dn! Can’t wait to hear about your blue ribbons. (Do orchid shows give ribbons?)

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    • dirtynailz says:

      Yes they do, CJ, and my plants won a few at the CT show last spring. I do miss the little darlings, though….The windowsill just isn’t the same without them.

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      • cj wright says:

        How long are your plants gone?

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      • dirtynailz says:

        I left them on Saturday evening with our club rep who’ll be bringing them to the Cape and setting up the display. The show ends Sunday, but I don’t expect to get them back until sometime next week, depending on my work schedule. I was told that windowsill-grown plants are tougher and less affected than greenhouse plants by the harsh lights and dry air at the show. They will be watered, so they should be fine.

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  2. cj wright says:

    Good grief! No wonder you’ll miss them so much.

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  3. auntie beak says:

    oooo, luck, luck, luck!!! you shouldn’t need it, though. they’re gorgeous!

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  4. Diana Studer says:

    and … did you win? What is the lovely violet one?

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    • dirtynailz says:

      The show is this coming weekend, Diana. Thanks for asking. The blue/purple orchid is Dendrobium Victoria Reginae. I bought it last year, and it has bloomed twice! BTW, my Stenoglottis is showing signs of life again. Green shoots are pushing up.

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  5. herbdoc says:

    Love the color of that orchid! There’s something so intriguing about the non-pastel colors, especially at this time of year. Good luck at the show; your contributions are outstanding!

    Here’s an orchid question for you! I purchased an Odontoglossom/Oncidium intergeneric (what a mouthful!). Some of the new leaves have actually opened up with a crosswise pleat effect. Have you ever seen this before? It hasn’t seemed to hurt the vitality of the plant!

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    • dirtynailz says:

      It’s probably fine, Kathy. Are you going to the big show on the Cape this weekend? It’s the biggest and best!

      Sent from my iPod

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  6. herbdoc says:

    I’m afraid to go! I might buy some (notice I didn’t say one).

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  7. Lib says:

    Good luck Dirtynailz! That picture of the Sophronitis Cernua is great – I’m rooting for that one to win! Have fun and remember, you only have so many window sills. Let us know how you do.

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