Monday, March 1, 2010

The Charms of a Golden Dragon

"Golden Dagon" pale and fragrant...
the next flower cluster...
a miniature Cattleya hybrid, just the right size!
there are seedlings EVERYWHERE!
Two years ago, I received a fantastic gift of a "Golden Dragon" Clivia. I had bloom the first year, and selfed the plant to produce a berry cluster, eventually turning red when ripe. I had moved all my Clivias into the cold greenhouse for a "chill out" period, but unfortunately, it got really cold in there! I have residual heat from the passive solar nature of the structure, but after several cold gloomy days, a sudden drop in the outside temperature was a bad thing in the greenhouse! All the most tender plants had been cosseted in the house, under lights...but I like to let the Clivias stay relatively dry and cold for the first part of the Winter. Not that cold! I'm not sure what the temperature got down to, but when I saw the dull look of frost burned leaves I rushed all of them into the house for safe keeping. I ended up having to cut ninety percent of the leaves of of all the plants...scalped! They did survive, and low and behold, two started to bloom-my "Golden Dragon" and a nice deep orange Civia minata. I'm not sure weather the yellow- selfed cross seeds will make it, they went through the freeze as well...but I've crossed the deep orange one to the gold one to see what I get, hopefully a deeper yellow and better foliage size and shape. The nice surprise with the "Golden Dragon" is the addition of a sweet fragrance that the orange forms don't seem to have, at least with my plants.

All the orchids are going into bloom, an embarrassment of riches. This little Cattleya-Sophro-hybrid was picked up at a box label, but it's a gem of a plant, and it's miniature size makes it fit in well with a mixed collection of plants. everything is starting to respond to the longer days, there is hope after all!

This time of year, I go seed crazy. I have my local haunts, as well as the amazing on line selections....I really have to watch myself, so as not to "go overboard...!" I just can't avoid buying certain seeds, Sweet Peas in particular. I could be addicted to worse things!