by Colleen Rochette

Upon the mature conclusion of Dendrobium lindleyi‘s blooms early this Spring, I was frenzied with lust. Factual notes had softly warned that lindleyi’s cornucopia of festive suns would only appear for about a week. To my delight, her petal party pushed well past twenty-one days; she then became fatigued and desired rest. I suspect that the cooler temperatures in our tiled bathroom may have breathed longevity into her bouquet.

Admittedly, such genuine satisfaction could not have been greater. And to confess, a smile like this is also inherently coupled with an orchid lover’s temptation. While flirting with a bout of Spring fever, a sweet lil’ something resurfaced in my mind – a lovely orchid vendor had kindly promised me a kind-hearted IOU for a shipping mishap that had occurred this winter. While googly-eying their offerings, I counted upon my fingers, dendrobium one, dendrobium two and dendrobium three. These Gals were definitely for me!

So, the polite chatter of three additional species now enhances the soft roar in my living room. Their bodies lay long on cork, are draped in sphagnum and rhythmically drip dry with love. Dendrobium capituliflorum, Dendrobium farmeri and Dendrobium thyrsiflorum, welcome to Team Colleen.

Colleen-Rochette-Dendro-capituliflorum2Dendrobium capituliflorum

Dendro farmeri 2Dendrobium farmeri

Dendro thyrsiflorum 2Dendrobium thyrsiflorum

Dendro-Work-Zone-2Setting the mood, a party amongst the pack.

Cork BarkSelected virgin cork mounts for the new ooh-ooh-orchid trio.

Dendro Work ZonePreparations for my orchid mounting picnic. Honestly, I was really of excited about this particular process because it was my first time using U-clips to secure mature orchids to cork mounts.

Initially, I placed the orchid on top of the selected mount, fit the U-clip over a sturdy portion of the base and marked the locations for the holes with a Sharpie. The holes were then drilled, the orchid was replaced and the U-clip was pushed through over the base of the orchid. The clips were then secured on the opposite side.

Cork Bark 2Before securing the U-clips, I punched a hole in the tag and slid it over the end of the U-clip. Afterward, the ends of the U-clip were curled into the cork with a pair of needle nose pliers.

To hang the orchid, I used a hack saw to cut an 18″ S-hook in half . The halved S-hook was then inserted into the top of a pre-drilled mount and twisted upright. You can see this in the photos below.

The roots were then draped with some clean, damp sphagnum moss and this clumpy little nest was wrapped with clear, flexible jewelry cord. The cord provides the perfect amount of ‘stretch’ to accommodate growing roots and the moss blanket at it swells with water.

Whenever I mount an orchid, it will usually need to be watered every day, or at least every other day. The small 6″ fan in my growing area easily allows unpotted plants to dry out rather quickly. This mainly ensures the happiness of my Vandaceous orchids, but others, such as Dendrobiums, benefit just as much. Most of my other orchids are just happy having their leaves dry by the end of the day.

In the coming months, I will surely sing you the stories of my Dendrobium Gals.

Dendro capituliflorum1  Dendro farmeri 1
Dendro thyrsiflorum 1