Coelogyne cristata ‘Chatsworth’
The plant was given to me several years ago by the late Brian Rittershausen of Burnham Nurseries, following his participation in our Annual Show – at Chatsworth. He felt it appropriate that a plant bearing this clone name should come to a member of our Society and, although he was not certain of the origin of the “Chatsworth” thought he may be able to track it down. Sadly his illness overtook him before he was able to do so. Various subsequent enquiries have failed to turn up any information.For the first two or three years I had the plant it really struggled showing no sign whatsoever of flowering despite trying it in various locations. I had been told that this type of plant liked to grow “bursting out of the pot” and didn’t like being re- potted. However the time had come when desperate measures were called for. What was there to lose – only a non-flowering plant. Therefore, I moved it into a larger pot, dropping it on rather than a proper repot trying to disturb the roots as little as possible then filling in gently with a standard bark and perlite mix. The plant has since thrived and at its’ best yet at our March meeting. It is grown in a cool greenhouse with a minimum overnight temperature of (in old money) 48F. It hangs in the greenhouse roof and is watered weekly in summer and fortnightly in winter although it is occasionally caught be a passing spray being used on some adjacent plants. Feeding (weak) is done every other watering from Spring to Autumn and non in winter. Could it be a coincidence ? After moaning to a friend about the lack of performance of this plant, she gave me another one slightly bigger and better than mine. That plant did OK for me and so I moved this plant alongside the bigger, better newcomer. Lo and behold – it flourished. Is competition a good thing? Brian Woodward
This plant originally came from the collection of the late Neville Brown so has been in my possession for around 10 years. It was a specimen then, and has just got bigger, moving from a big pot to a larger one, and now to a ‘bucket’, and weighs almost too much to move unnecessarily.
The plant comes from Northern India at elevations of 5000-8000’ so suits cool growing conditions. February/March is the main flowering period, and specimens are frequently seen. Its habit is quite compact (short rhizome) for the genus which make specimens easily possible. For whatever reason this plant didn’t flower last year, but has more than made up for it this time around with flowers most of the way around it which are well spaced. Trevor Turner
This Coelogyne species is native to Malaysia – e.g. Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Sumatra etc. and is described as cool to hot growing. However, this particular plant originated in Glasgow. Members may remember, perhaps four or so years ago, we had a talk by David Menzies on the collection at Glasgow Botanic Gardens where he was Deputy Curator. During that talk he referred to the very large Coel. trinervis which was part of their collection. Shortly afterwards he accepted a donation of a quantity of plants (Stanhopea) which I wasn’t growing very well ( I claimed lack of adequate headroom) and which I wanted to go to a more suitable home. In return, David asked if there was anything I would like in return and all I could think of from his talk was this Coel. trinervis and said I would appreciate a division. The upshot was that he gave me four pieces of which I still have three. They are grown in different locations for comparison purposes but all potted in the same standard bark mix. One is grown on the bench in the same greenhouse but in shadier conditions. A second plant is grown is being grown in a large rectangular pond basket, on the bench in a different greenhouse. It is the largest of the three but it recently had only five shortish spikes – maybe it is a combination of mid-summer repotting and moving to a different location. This plant is grown in what is basically an intermediate greenhouse but, being suspended near the roof, it benefits from slightly higher than intermediate temperature and is by far the most floriferous of the three. It gets the routine water and feed regime – no feed in winter – BUT is sprayed daily which in my case is six times per week ( I am not at home on one day weekly). One thing about this flowering which particularly interested me was, as I mentioned at the meeting, the way flower spikes had forced their way through the quite strong mesh material I had used to line the basket. Just shows how tough some of these plants are and yet we cosset and mollycoddle them! Is there a lesson in that? Normally, like most of us, I mutter and mumble at our Editor when he asks for a write-up. Not this time. I mentioned earlier that I still had three pieces of the four which I was given. So – I hear you ask – what happened to the fourth? Well, I gave it to a friend and Society colleague, a far more accomplished grower than me. What happened to it? It went to the great orchid nursery in the sky. Can you see the smug smile of satisfaction on my face as I do this write-up? The name trinervis refers to the 3 ‘nerves’ on the lip. Brian Woodward.
The plant was found for me about four years ago by Chantelle’s brother in Taiwan and sent over in one of his consignments to her. He often has a “search and find” list for me but is struggling with my latest request. This plant was quite a good size at the time by has just grown and grown ever since – so much so that it is now too large and heavy to be suspended as it initially was. Bench level temperature is probably rather lower than in the hanging, roof position but, so far, has not had any adverse effect. This year it has three good, multi-flowered spikes and a fourth about to flower in the immediate future. It grows under intermediate conditions (I go down to about 55F overnight min.). Feeding is normal but it does not “go short” of water being a large plant in the latest bark which can dry out a little.
It is one of the parents of Coel. Burfordiense which was adjacent to it on the Table Show and remarkably similar in appearance. I have the other parent – Coel. asperata – currently in spike so it will be interesting to look and compare. Brian Woodward.