by Colleen Rochette

Orchid Silhouette
During these past few months, my creative writing has briefly mutated into slews of polite, work-related emails and the charming moments throughout my days have been captured upon my phone. Even though I have not picked up my camera in awhile, I have been documenting the growth of my orchids quite regularly. Most of these photos are shared via instagram, but today I thought that it would be fun to share these with you too. I adore the notion of a candid post; no lighting, no backdrops, no Photoshop, just my orchids lounging around during October and November.

Sophronitis cerna 1One of my favorite little ladies, Sophronitis cerna, basks in filtered southern rays each morning. It was a surprise to me when a bud appeared within the small crease of her new pseudobulb. She grew rather wildly this summer, but I did not expect flowers so soon. This first blossom opened up about two weeks ago. Sophronitis also has another new pseudobulb that has started to produce a small sheath. Hopefully, additional blooms will come soon.

Sophronitis cerna 2A close-up of Sophronitis cerna‘s cute blossom. Sophronitis gets quite a bit of light, as you can tell from the rosy tones on her leaves. I feel as if her red bloom appears slightly neon pink due to the higher light and the warm weather that she has been enjoying. This past week, I have moved her to an adjacent location that receives less direct light to see if her future blossoms may be a little deeper in color.

Vanda coerulea 1At the end of September I excitedly added a Vanda coerulea to my collection. Around this time last year, I had purchased a coerulea cross, Vanda Manuvadee. Admittedly, the addition of Vanda coerulea was not premeditated. I came across this cold-blooded babe on eBay one afternoon and felt as if she was definitely destined to hang with my gang. Upon arrival, I noticed that the 6″ pot had a tag that said ‘Orchids by Hausermann.’ I just laughed. These giant beauties can be found right here. Do you see her small spike poking out?

Vanda coerulea 2About a month after receiving coerulea, her spike developed fully and these gorgeous blossoms appeared. Initially there were two spikes, but one of them stalled. Coerulea‘s flowers have been open for about 4 weeks now. Each flower is about four inches wide and they proudly exhibit that beautiful hue of pure “blue.”

Trichoglottis geminata 2Trichoglottis geminata was purchased at the beginning of November and began to spike about a week ago. The tiny double nodes upon her spine will produce a few small, yellow, tiger-like flowers. She is currently in a black plastic hanging basket with a slab of thin tree fern behind her for support. This orchid variety is supposed to grow extremely tall, in a similar fashion to some Renantheras. This particular Trichoglottis is a rooted top-cutting.

Aerangis luteoalba var. rhodostictaTiny Aerangis luteo alba var. rhodosticta opened her four blossoms at the beginning of October. These cheery blooms remind me of the abundant, springtime presence of red and white impatiens. This orchid also has a tiny keiki growing beneath the larger mama.

Monnierara Magic ‘Witchcraft’ 1After much confusion with my first Monnierara Magic ‘Witchcraft’ AM/AOS, I caved and snagged a second one that was on sale. She was brilliant. Her behavior was quite normal and her blossoms were ridiculous – they were otherworldly. I was so worked up about the idea of these black blossoms that I needed to see them for myself in person – I just had to.

Monnierara‘s flowers faded about a week ago and she has lost all of her foliage. Last night I re-potted her in a clear plastic pot with some chopped tree fern and bits of sphagnum, along with some hydroton and lava rock. I intend to stop watering due to the supposed onset of dormancy, but I am going to keep an eye on her for a bit to make sure that no new growth decides to appear.

Monnierara Magic ‘Witchcraft’ 3Honestly, I am unsure why most orchid folk do not consider these Catasetinae blossoms ‘black.’ In my opinion, this is pure rubbish. But wow, I have never been in the presence of such a mysterious flower. It was definitely worth bringing this second beauty home so I could make eyes at her buxom blossoms.

If you may be wondering what happened to my first Monnierara, I will fill you in. She is still being crazy. I left Monnierara #1 sitting on my windowsill after she lost all of her foliage for the second time this summer. I think that I may have watered her once since I had set her aside. When my Mum came to visit me for my birthday, I told her to take this orchid home with her.

Monnierara Magic ‘Witchcraft’ 4So my Mum brought Monnierara #1 home and then she sent me this photo. I am unsure of how many expletives I may have used in my response, but my words were rather unladylike. This side of the pot had been facing the windowsill, so I did not even notice that yet another pseudobulb was coming in. This orchid is unstoppable. I can just see it now, the Monnierara that refuses to rest – no dormancy allowed.

Miltassia Shelob ‘Tolkien’ 1My NOID intergeneric orchid also blossomed early this fall. Upon identifying the flower, I was able to give her a proper name tag. I am very pleased to introduce you to Miltassia Shelob ‘Tolkien’.

Maxillaria uncata 1This little bad-hair-day orchid is Maxillaria uncata. I am kind of in love with Maxillarias, partially because of their throaty, snap dragon-esque flowers. I keep uncata moist and shaded, hanging on my bathroom wall. She has bloomed for me 3 times since the beginning of October. A flower here, a flower there. Her blossoms are rather short-lived though.

Maxillaria uncata 2A close-up of Maxillaria uncata‘s single flower. She has a tiny little snout, a pure white lip that folds around her petite yellow tongue and petals that look like flying doggie ears.

Dendrobium peguanum 1Dendrobium peguanum started to bloom a few weeks after I purchased her from Orchids by Hausermann in early September. Two additional pseudobulbs have also birthed some heavily budded spikes. These buds will probably begin to open within the next week or two. As the older bunches of flowers died off, some leaves have started to fall and a few new growths have also sprouted along her base.

Dendrobium peguanum 2Pictured above is a close-up of Dendrobium peguanum‘s blossoms. Not the best photo, I know. I will have to take a real close-up shot when she blooms again in a few weeks time. There is just something special about this gal. Peguanum‘s flowers are so tiny and the pattern within the throat is very intricate. Also, her frosty, muted color palette makes me want to devour a dozen macaroons. Dendrobium peguanum is a blooming-sized seedling. Once she further matures, her pseudobulbs will become a bit larger and many of them will be leafless.

Dendrobium amethystoglossum 1For my 30th birthday my Mum surprised me with a Dendrobium amethystoglossum. After being lost within our terrible U.S. postal system for almost 2 weeks, I managed to retrieve her unscathed. Thankfully amethystoglossum had just entered her dormant period, so the absence of water was hardly an issue. This orchid is about 28″ tall and will bloom off of the older, bare canes. Amethystoglossum rests during the late fall and the beginning of the winter. I will probably water her once a month. If all goes well, I can only hope that she will flower sometime in January or February of this upcoming year.

Dendrobium amethystoglossum 2This is a photo of one of Dendrobium amethystoglossum‘s newer pseudobulb that has finished growing for the year. I find the vertical red stripes on the pseudobulbs particularly beautiful. The leaves will eventually fall off of the newer pseudobulbs and blossoms should appear on these green canes in January of 2015.

Ceratostylis retisquama 1I purposely meant to save one of my favorites for last. This is my Ceratostylis rubra. I purchased this gem for a mere $5.00 this summer and she has proven to be nothing but wonderful. Ceratostylis rubra has been blooming continuously since late summer.

Ceratostylis retisquama 2Ceratostylis rubra’s blossoms appear between the developing leaves rather frequently. They do not last very long, maybe a week or two at the most? But they appear so often that it makes everything a-okay. Ceratostylis rubra is mounted on a flat, oblong piece of tree fern and is soaked every two days.