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Garry

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G’day All,
Let me start by saying that having spent an eternity researching the information I need, without much success, I am wrapped to have found a forum of hands-on experts to bug with my questions.

I have long loved Paphs, but I’ve lacked time and resources to get into their culture seriously. I’m now looking to change that, but I need advice about types suitable for my location. I live on Australia’s east coast (inland about 15mins from the sea), in a little rural town called Bega, just above the New South Wales/Victorian border.

The temperature here in winter falls to as low as -3C (27F) overnight, but that's rare. More often it hovers around 3C ( 37F) at night, rising to around 18C (65F) during the day. In summer the temps are around 18C (65F) to 22C (72F) at night, and daytime temps can be as high as 45C (112F) but again, rarely in succession. It more often hovers around 28C (82F) to 35C (95F). As you can see, it’s the winter night temps that are problematic.

We often get quite heavy frosts, but it does not snow here, though it does snow in the foothills only about 1 hour away. So that’s the climate.

As long as I keep it sheltered from the frost, Paph Insigne grows here like a weed! I have thick clumps, with long healthy erect leaves growing all through my garden and they flower profusely every Autumn (Fall) solong as I grow them in dappled light under other frost hardy ferns and similar plants for protection. In fact, I dare say I need absolutely no advice on how to grow Insigne...I think I have that one nailed :wink:

I prefer to grow plants either in the ground or in large terracotta pots in situ, as I don’t have a green/glasshouse. What I want to know is, are there other types of Paphs other than Insigne that will thrive under the same conditions I’ve successfully grown Insigne under, or is Insigne the only really hardy Paph?

It’s very hard to work out the climatic limits of other types I’ve seen for sale, because the information provided in their cultural notes is very vague e.g. “An easy to grow, hardy variety” and this doesn’t really tell me much. I have been looking at Paph Insigne Sanderae, a striking yellow Paph with a white crest on the dorsal sepal...can you tell me if this variety is likely to do OK in my location? If you know of any others I should be considering I would be very grateful for the advice.

Thanks again, and my apologies for the longwinded post. I just thought that since I was looking for your advice, I should give you a clear outline of my climate etc.

Garry
 

naoki

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P. armeniacum is probably the hardiest? P. micranthum and P. malipoense can experience 5C in the winter night (but I believe that the region is pretty dry in the winter). But I wouldn't call these species easy.

It sounds like a good place to grow Cypripedium.
 
G

Garry

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G'day All and thanks for the warm welcome.

Naoki, I have toyed with the idea of naturalising Cyps in the garden, but the local (Australian) boffins tell me its not cold enough here to flower the one's I'm really interested in, Gisella for instance, so I'd decided to try something a) I could see all year 'round, and b) that I'd already had some sort of success with in my area i.e. Ingigne. Thanks for the suggestions above, I will certainly look into them. So you don't think I'd have much success with Paph Insigne Sanderae in my area?
 

emydura

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Welcome Garry. A beautiful part of the world you are from. I wish I was living where you are.

The Parvi's as discussed above can be grown a bit cooler than most Paphs. But these are tough to grow generally. I think insigne is the only really true cool growing Paph species. I have an insigne 'Sanderae' although I grow it in my glasshouse as it is a bit too valuable to grow outside in the cold. In your slightly warmer conditions it should be fine.

Canberra is too hot for Cyps so you would be no hope in Bega. The winters are not cold enough and the summers are way too hot.

Are you only interested in species? I grow my Juliet outside (under cover) in Canberra and we get a lot colder than you do. It does fine as you can see below. So vigorous complex hybrids may be a go.


 

Stone

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Hi Gary, you won't have a snowflake's hope in hell of establishing Cyps in the garden there. But if you can control winter rain a bit you might try charlesworthii, spicerianum and maybe even fairrieanum and dare I say their hybrids if you're into that.
Let us know how you go and post pics!
 
G

Garry

Guest
G'day again, all!
Why the hell couldn't I have found y'all years ago. The advice is great, most welcome and hugely appreciated, dinks :)

Though loath to bore you to apoplexy, I think it might be an idea to tell you a little about me, and the “grand plan” with the idea that this might make it easier for you to indulge a novice who intends to pick your minds mercilessly, given the chance.

I am 54 and after the breakup of a 20 year marriage and with the my kids having flown the nest, I am looking at new directions....but there are complications that limit what I can do. I am the sole carer for my 92 year old, blind and demented ol’ mum. I also have a tedious form of cancer (AML) the treatment for which kinda limits my energy. I have a very long association with orchids; one side of the family were florists with huge glasshouses filled with exotics, and the other side just grew orchids everywhere possible, and in several places considered impossible. In short, I have a love and affinity for orchids, but I lack the intellectual appreciation and knowledge that you guys clearly enjoy. I don’t know the Latin names, nor do I have any idea which hybrid had which parents, but I do seem to be able to grow the things quite well.

At the moment I’m in rented premises, but when mum passes away I will be in a position to build a proper garden...something really special that I can sculpt and love. I have a vision of a garden very similar to that created by my father, which surrounded my family home in Oatley (Sydney). Pansies, primula’s and petunias were anathema in my dad’s garden. Instead non-deciduous trees sported stags, elks and orchids of all kinds growing on trunks and branches. Ferns filled irregular but beautifully maintained beds filled with cymbidiums, Insigne, Bletilla etc and native species dripped from every branch, rock and brick wall. In short, he created a lush fairyland of ornamental green shades in a myriad wonderful textures, punctuated by a profusion of brightly coloured orchid flowers....a magnificent, contrived tropical oasis that exists nowhere in nature, but looked to everyone like it should if nature had even half the talent my ol’ dad had. I want to reproduce this in a garden of my own, but right now that’s not possible due to my mum’s situation and my own health issues.

So I am building a plant bank. I’m trying to identify and obtain plants that I can grow and propagate so when the time comes, I’ll have the plants I need to get things underway. I have always been crazy for Paphs, but after some years trying to grow Insigne with only limited success, I was feeling pretty demoralised. Then I stumbled upon a potting mixture that turned that all around, and now I have Insigne growing with triffid-like vigour in pots and window boxes, flowering like they suspect there’s no tomorrow. I’m slowly dividing and increasing this stock, along with growing lots of seedlings of Dendrobium Nobile, Bletilla Striata (and Alba) and other hardy yet striking classics. The Insigne is great, with its lush foliage and large flowers on very long erect stems and they will be my focus in terms of grown specimens, but I was hoping to find different coloured Paphs of similar vigour and with erect flowers to intersperse amongst Insigne, which I guess I’m growing as a filler to provide mass. Hence when I found a beautiful photo of Sanderae on this site and discovered that it had Insigne as a parent (?) I thought it might have the characteristics I was looking for. The colour is certainly striking and the foliage and flowers seem to be ideal. That said, I am not wedded to it. I will probably try to obtain a plant just to give it a shot, but I am very interested in other suggestions.

Finally, I must confess that you’ve permitted a heretic to enter your midst. I’m not committed to species only and in fact had more or less accepted that if I’m to find Paphs with the characteristics I’m looking for, I’m likely going be looking at hybrids. So there you have it. If you have ploughed through this unsolicited saga and have any suggestions for me, please know that they will be researched diligently and genuinely appreciated, as will any advice you may have as to reliable suppliers. I’m not a wealthy man (far from it!) so I may even look at buying flasks occasionally and growing them on.

Many thanks again!

Post scriptum: Juliet looks like a definite for my shopping-list, Emydura, thanks for the heads-up!
 

abax

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I have no absolutely knowledge to offer, but might you consider Phrags. to
intersperse around your dream garden? They need very pure water. How's
the rainfall in your area or your tap water? Phrags. offer a LOT of color
that would look splendid tucked in here and there. See, I'm already into
your fantasy garden.


Welcome from KY.
 
G

Garry

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See, I'm already into your fantasy garden.
Welcome from KY.

I'm pleased you getting into the fantasy, KY. Seems appropriate, given that y'all will be an integral part of bringing it to life. I want it to be a cool-looking place of lush green colours and textures, without the business and distractions born of brightly variegated foliage, which I think we tend to overdo here in Oz. The dappled light I need for low growing orchids will be provided by a fast growing dwarf treefern species I've been quite taken with for years (Blechnum Gibbum), and above that there will be stands of another fast growing tree fern, Cyathea Cooperii. Both have very dark trunks, which will provide some contrast for the greens, and Cooperii has a wonderful habit of shedding its fronds as if they've been cut flush with the trunk by laser.

I want the only 'colour' in the garden to be provided by the orchids. The epiphytes will be grown on mooring ropes to give the appearance of vines, either hanging or laced through trees. The upper canopy will likely be provided by coccus palms, because they grow quickly and stags and elks love their trunks, and they'll also provide some frost protection to what grows beneath while I'm waiting for some of fast growing deciduous trees to mature, upon which I'll grow more epephitic orchids and ferns and this will also help to let some winter light through to grown orchids, such as Beltillas giving one area at least a woodland look.

Thanks for the heads-up about the Phrags. I wasn't familiar with them, but Google is fixing that and they look like another very worthy edition. Water here is about as "pure" as it is anywhere, coming directly from the Bega River, and while rainfall isn't great, I think I can manage that with good mulches and tank water. While I'm banking plants for later, I like to grow them in self-watering pots, which, in my experience, orchids love. Especially Insigne and Zygopetalums.

A Phrag called Perseus Highclare looks very worthy of inclusion, as do a few others, so thanks again for suggesting Phrags. Would still love to give P. insigne Sanderae a go. I'm quite taken with it and perhaps if I buy a flask of seedlings I can herden them up to grow in my conditions? Juliet looks like another definite too, so already I have some great suggestions to go with Insigne. But please don't hesitate to suggest others.

Garry
 
G

Garry

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I've not got any good snaps to hand of the ropes I grow things on, but the picture below, despite its appalling quality, should give you and idea of the look that can be achieved. All that you see if glowing on a length of rope 7 feet long and 2inces in diametre. It looks far more impressive when the dendrobiums and cacti are in flower.
Rope_1.jpg
 
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