Oh, Marie!

by Colleen Rochette


Today I am cheerfully composing the 50th post about my spirited orchid menagerie.

To properly celebrate, I felt the need to paste a little something together. I pulled these colorful orchid blossoms from my very first blog entry. This floral ’50’ was then born from the bits. A genuine smile spread across my face as I scanned the rainbow of orchid snippings. Oh, these last few months have been so romantic. My heart and my brain are both seething with green love.

During my 50th post ramblings, I wanted to introduce you to an orchid that is very special to me. While visiting the New York Botanical Gardens for their 11th orchid celebration, I met this wicked wonder. A dark angel, Vandachostylis Colmarie, was tucked up in a tree. She was resting amongst clouds of Spanish moss. Although her blossoms were wilting, the deep color of her thick petals was utterly mind blowing.

Colmarie-2Of course, my mind was a flurry with a million questions about this mystery Vandachostylis. I then confessed that I needed Ms. Colmarie all for myself, very soon.

Colleen-Rochette-Colmarie-1Vandachostylis Colmarie is a vandaceous orchid hybrid whose unique features come from both Vandachostylis Sri-Siam and Rhynchostylis gigantea.

With all of the Rhynchostylis traits pulsing through her dainty veins, Colmarie will tolerate cooler growing temperatures that may not be as desirable to the standard Vanda. Coupled with her deep purple/red blooms that almost appear to be black, my heart officially melted into a little puddle.

Colleen-Rochette-Colmarie-6Sweet Colmarie was shipped to me in a 6″ plastic pot. Within that 6″ pot she was still growing inside of a smaller 4″ plastic vanda basket that had been covered with deteriorating bark. Carefully, I freed this matryoshka doll from her stack of multiple constraints. As always, her roots were inspected, trimmed and bathed in Physan 20.

Colleen-Rochette-Colmarie-4Above the lip of the containers, two very large, impressive roots hung free. The larger of the two roots is about 18″ long. This root is just so big and awkward that I cannot help but laugh a little when I look at it. It reminds me of a wriggly snake in the grass.

Colleen-Rochette-Colmarie-2Two new roots also begin to peek out through Colmarie’s spine.

Colleen-Rochette-Colmarie-3A truly seasoned Lady.

Colleen-Rochette-Colmarie-5Vandachostylis Colmarie is comfortably housed within one of my Mum’s handmade vanda baskets. Because Colmarie’s roots were primarily large and unwieldy, this shallow basket was perfect for her. Her smaller roots are nestled within a layer of fresh sphagnum. Welcome home, Baby. Happy 50th!