Thursday, 27 August 2009

Orchids in the garden! You can grow them too!

So, you love Orchids? You grow them indoors and give them to friends as gifts?


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!

15 comments:

  1. I have been looking at the Bletilla in the Avon Bulbs brochure and I might give them a go having read this.

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  2. I grow all of my orchids outdoors. But then I live in the tropics so its no big deal. There seem to be plenty of orchids found in colder climates which you could grow outdoors too.

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  3. Interesting post food for thought. I do grow Pleonies which I love but because they are so precious I grow them in pots in the greenhouse. Too many thugs in the garden.

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  4. Ryan: This sounds amazing. I'm afraid that I'm one of those lazy people who buys my orchids in the supermarket, plonks them in the kitchen and enjoys them while I'm cooking. But you've got me thinking now ... could I do better?

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  5. oh! We sold these in the greenhouse this year and I didn't think to buy one, mostly because the price nearly choked me dead. Nice though Ryan!

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  6. Great idea. I need to find out which ones to plant in upstate NY. My mom had one that wasn't doing to well anymore in the pot so I planted it in my garden. although it isn't flowering it is still alive. I think you have inspired me to try to rejuvinate it. thanks.

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  7. I have never tried growing an orchid in the garden, overwintering it outside in situ (I am Zone 6b/7a). I have a greenhouse and raised my orchids there. Caught the orchid-fever years ago and started out growing them in a bathroom with southern exposure. I went from zero to 60 in no-time-flat, so a greenhouse was the next logical step. Then with the skyrocketing fuel fear, I gave away or sold all greenhouse orchids last year. I miss them SO much, as well as the greenhouse! I'll probably keep a "very cool greenhouse" this winter just to experiment growing cool-weather vegetables to see how it performs.

    Your orchid is beautiful and makes me want to grow orchids again and pay the high propane bills, regardless....

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  8. There are so many native terrestrial orchids available for gardeners. Orchid species such as Dactylorhiza, Cypripedium, Bletilla, Epipactis, etc, are all incredibly beautiful and garden worthy.

    One thing to bear in mind however is that you should always check your supplier as many that are sold independently have been taken from the wild. Look for cultivated stock and buy from reputable dealers as with most species we want to ensure wild populations are not affected and that their survival is insured for years to come.

    Thanks for all the comments!

    Ryan

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  9. Alas, I am in no position to give tips on how to grow orchids, as they seem to die within hours of coming into my position. Your orchids sound nice, though.

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  10. When we were farming we had quite rare wild orchids growing on our croft land. Small but beautiful. I believe they are a protected species but I can't remember their name. Now I just grow moth orchids on the kitchen windowsill. I have them for nearly three years now! Val

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  11. Great writing Ryan, we also like to see the wild orchids always a pleasure to read a blog with such good writing talent.
    Phil & Ros North Devon

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  12. Great Article, I have never really attempted to plant orchids... perhaps I will having read several of your articles

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  13. I am not growing any orchid right now because they need lots of care in my non-humid sub-tropical semi-arid climate. I will search if any of hardy orchids i can grow in container because i am have rub out of space long ago.

    nice article and it has brought me back thinking, boy why not try a hardy orchid this year :P

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  14. Beautiful orchid. I have two moth orchids which I grow on my windowsill but have never considered growing any outdoors before.

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  15. Sorry for delay in posting comment Ryan, but I did read your Blog last month. Found it very inspiring and informative. I love orchids, but have never thought about growing the hardy ones in the garden until now, so thank-you.

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