- Feb 1, 2019
- Reaction score
Blooming for the first time for me, this is probably the most important plant in my classic cattleya collection. The first Bow Bells ever awarded, it received its FCC (to Clint McDade of Rivermont Orchids) in 1945, the same year the grex was registered by Black & Flory of England. The cross is C. Edithiae alba 'White Empress' FCC/RHS x C. Suzanne Hye. As others have mentioned before, the Suzanne Hye used to make this grex was sent to the U.S. for safe-keeping during the war but the ship it was on was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank. There has been speculation that the Suzanne Hye was a tetraploid, as remakes of this cross have never been as good as the original grex. This is an original, virus free division I received last year. It's a vigorous grower, putting out 2 growths this summer, although only one flower on this first blooming. As both Arthur Chadwick and Jeff Bradley have noted, Bow Bells revolutionized white cattleya breeding, as the form and substance had no precedence at the time, and the grex went on to become one of the most highly awarded grexes in AOS history. I grow this on a south-facing windowsill in the northeast U.S. without supplemental lighting. Even so, to me it's an incredible flower even by today's standards. Wonderful balance and presentation, with flat dorsal that stands straight up. It also has that intoxicating classic cattleya fragrance. Please ignore the minor blemishes on the petals, some idiot grower dropped the plant while setting up for photos... I can't imagine who that was......