Rhynchostylis Revels – It’s Blooming, It’s Blooming!


For those who garden with orchids, it sometimes seems impossible to say why one is a success and another a failure. So it was with the precious Rhynchostylis gigantea orchid that mesmerized me at a small local show in Florida more than five years ago. Who could resist the intoxicating perfume of two enormous racemes in full bloom?

In all, I carefully wrapped and packed five different orchids for the trip home. The temperamental Rhynchi and a reliable Paphiopedilum are the only two that have survived the “care” I’ve given them. I try, I really do.

The Paph sends up a new flower every year and once bloomed twice in the same year. Thank goodness for these and the easy-to-grow Phalaenopsis, or my orchid blooms might arrive like locusts, only once every seven years.

So it was a with a celebration equivalent to the arrival of a child that I greeted the first flowers of my Rhyncostylis’ since it emigrated to New Jersey. In all of that time, I think it grew only two new leaves, although the leaves it had grew larger and larger. I know, I know, the flowers are pitiful compared to what they should be, but they are all the sweeter for being the sweet smell of success.

New Jerseyeans interested in orchids will enjoy Stony Hill Gardens’ Orchid Open House, March 5-7, http://www.stonyhillgardens.com/gardens/events.php , or the New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show, http://www.nybg.org/tos10/ .

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