Rossioglossum Rawdon Jester

I was working in the Netherlands in early 2011 & one weekend went to a small orchid show taking place in a corner of a large garden centre organised by a grower in the south of Holland. I was just starting out in orchid growing & was looking to progress from the “Ikea Phalaenopsis special” but the show itself was rather disappointing to me then since the main exhibit was a large fish tank filled with small species orchids. Luckily on a side table he had also obtained a few plants from Orchideen Lucke, a nursery based just over the border in northern Germany. I bought this plant along with two hybrid and two species Cattleyas.

The two species Cattleyas soon went to the great compost heap in the sky but somehow the others survived my amateurish fumblings. I have dealt with three German nurseries and find their plants consistently good.

I have one greenhouse which I keep at a minimum of 12 degs C. It is not a thing of beauty since it has been built by me with 4″x2″ & polycarbonate (the roof is composed of the permanently tinted type which is great in the summer but does restrict light rather in the dark days of winter ). My plant sits at the cooler east side of the greenhouse and gets some direct sun early in the morning. During really hot days in summer ( remember them ?! ) the plant is placed down on the floor.

Rossioglossums do rest in the winter so I keep it on the dry side but I read they are supposed to like decent light during this time. I prefer to use Ray Creek’s cocoa fibre potting material for almost everything I grow mainly due to its ease of use and longevity. The name Rawdon Jester indicates that this cross comes from the breeding programme at Mansell & Hatcher, and they registered this cross back in 1983 as a primary hybrid between Ros. grande and Ros. williamsianum – both of which look extremely similar in shape and colour, although Jester has the added hybrid vigour. At that time it was an Odontoglossum, but following the recent renaming exercise it is one of the few that hasn’t moved to become an Oncidium. This flamboyant hybrid has become highly successful over the years with several clones being awarded around the world, including an FCC/AOS for the clone ‘Damiano’ in 1996 with 31 flowers and 10 buds on 6 inflorescences – that must have been a sight. These days it is produced en- masse by the Dutch as a pot plant.

Peter Battle