How about growing hardy Orchids in the garden?
Over the past decade or so orchids have become increasingly popular in the home, orchids including Phalenopsis, Dendrobium, Cymbidium, etc, are widely available in garden centres and supermarkets at very affordable prices. The topic of growing hardy orchids in the garden, however, is still somewhat something of an underused and new development.
As I have dicussed in previous posts: ‘Garden Treasure’ and ‘Cypripedium calceolus. The experiement’, I grow several species of hardy orchids that add so much interest to my small garden. I have also added another species, Bletilla striata ‘Alba’. I did not know that it was the white form until it flowered, however, I love it!
I picked up a few dormant rhizomes of what I thought were the purple flowering Bletilla striata at Gardener’s World Live this year. It is in full flower (just about to go over) at the moment and it really brings a lot of interest to the garden. They are planted next to my half barrel pond along with Epipactis gigantea and appear to be thriving. The bees and insects also adore them.
Bletilla striata originate from temperate areas of China and Japan and as a result they are classed as half-hardy here in the U.K. and can tolerate temperatures down to -7 degrees Celsius. They prefer a position in rich, moist soil and an aspectof semi to light shade. Due to my coastal location I will be leaving them in situ over winter topped with a generous mulch of home made compost, which should be enough to protect them. I find most of my tender plants survive with this generous "Compost Duvet". But I am yet to see if the Bletilla's survive and I promise to keep you updated.
So if you are considering adding that special touch to the garden that visitors are bound to question then why not try a hardy orchid or two?!
Do you grow any hardy orchids yourself? Do you have any tips? I would love to hear your stories!