Trees are dropping leaves to survive and the ground is like iron. Just the other morning I watered my Dendrobium orchid and the long buds were tightly closed. Drought conditions have sent the ants in all directions in search of sustenance but even they were absent.
In the afternoon I returned from lunch with friends and à la voile! There was my tree orchid in full bloom!
Springtime is not properly acknowledged in my garden until this orchid flowers. It is always my September spectacular.
Australian orchids tend to be small, for instance the Cooktown Orchid which is the floral emblem of Queensland, but this species is large and robust. The dull afternoon light does not do justice to its display.
A semi deciduous pink-flowering orchid, it is ‘probably’ native to Australia, a Dendrobium Nobile, and in this case has been grown as an epiphyte – tree hugger. It has been in the family for over forty years and needs basically no care at all. The blooms have a very faint fragrance.
Why I say ‘probably’ native to Australia is because I always thought it came from the Pacific region. In fact, originally its forebears came from northern India/southern China where it would have been quite used to extremes in temperature.
Then I discovered hybrids have been produced. These can be subdivided into two types, the ‘English’ and ‘Japanese’ type, and later I read this historical document courtesy of The Shambles, a country garden at Montville in south-east Queensland:
Dendrobium nobile Reliable soft cane epiphytic orchid. We have many unnamed flower colour varieties from mauve, pink and white range. A trouble-free orchid flowering in spring. Introduced to Britain c.1836 by Loddiges’ Nursery. Requested from Loddiges’ Nursery on 1st February 1849 for Camden Park NSW Australia and obtained from them, brought out from England by Captain P. P. King in that year. India www.qos.org.au 1A.1885, 13.1900/1,15.Camden Orchid walk, West Garden, near back stairs, Blue trellis garden, Rain forest walk.
After reading the Wagga Orchid Society PDF (link below) and using a bit of guesstimation, years later my orchid could have been transported from the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia, on consignment to a Brisbane plant nursery.
I now look at my tree orchid in awe and wonderment – such a lineage.
The following shot was taken a few days later in much better sunlight. There was a bee hovering around but it refused to be photographed.
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward
P.S. If you are interested in lovely flowers and picturesque settings in rural countryside, I can recommend a visit to the website and blogspot of The Shambles country garden, Montville, Queensland.
and further reading