Anticipation…

If we don’t have a late freeze, if squirrels don’t destroy the buds, if voles don’t eat the roots, and if children playing frisbee don’t trample it, my Calanthe sieboldii will be blooming in a week or two.

Calanthe sieboldii flower buds
Plicate leaves of Calanthe sieboldii unfurling to reveal big, fleshy flower buds.

Calanthe sieboldii is a woodland orchid from southern Japan.  I obtained my plant from Montrose Garden last summer, so this is my first chance to see the flowers.  Over the winter, it easily survived 10 F (-12 C) insulated under a couple of inches of snow, but the warm weather that kick-started its growth in late February had me worried.  A lot of plants that are perfectly hardy when dormant are damaged by freezing temperatures when they have tender new shoots, and I didn’t want to lose the buds.  So, when hard freezes were forecast several times in early March, I covered the plant with a plastic tub and a couple of inches of mulch, then removed it all when the weather warmed up again.  It looks as though my efforts have paid off, but I’ll be on tenterhooks until the buds open.

If you are interested in learning more about C. sieboldii, Botany Boy has a great blog post that includes a short video of his hunt for wild plants in Fukuoka Prefecture on the island of Kyushu.

…Reward

From the greenhouse, a blooming Hippeastrum cybister:

Hippeastrum cybister flowers
Hippeastrum cybister, the spider amaryllis

Hippeastrum cybister is an unusual bulb from seasonally dry habitat in Bolivia and northern Argentina.  It’s a relative of the big “amaryllis” hybrids that are sold as seasonal decorations around Christmas time, but its flowers are much more delicate and elegant.  The narrow, twisted petals and sepals are shared with another Argentinian Hippeastrum species, H. angustifolium and with a related species, Sprekelia formosissima, the Jacobean Lily from Mexico.  The red color of these species and the tube formed by their lateral sepals and lower petal is suggestive of pollination by humminbirds.  However, Google has failed me this evening, and I haven’t been able to confirm that.

 

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