One of the many things I didn’t get around to posting this summer, was the unexpected arrival of an orchid in the garden. Strange but true. I’ve never ever seen them growing locally, and there it was. I was gazing out of the window in my default absent minded sort of way, when it jumped up and went boo! The house is cut into the hillside, so from windows at the rear of the house, the view is eye level with the lawn.
And there it was, a solitary pink spike of bloom, catching the last of the evening sun.
Just a bit special, do you not think? Is it a marsh orchid?
I felt rather honoured that it had taken up residency with us; but mystified as to how it arrived.
Maybe there are many more out there, that we keep slicing the blooms off with the lawn mower.
We’ve had a lot of men in big boots about the place over the last few months, one of the reasons for the dearth of posts of late. But the orchid has been afforded special protection,
I can report it has survived and gone to seed, and perhaps inspired by a very special visit to the Millennium Seed Bank (another post in waiting) I thought I’d have a go at propagating the seed. However think I’m out of my propagation league, it seems far more complicated than the lovely marigold seeds Flighty sent me.
Seed sowing at home
Many members of HOS sow orchid seed in home laboratories (otherwise known as kitchens or spare rooms) with some success! Various back issues of the HOS Newsletter give excellent detailed advice on how to get started. The following items need to be considered.
Sterile working area: A HEPA filtered laminar flow cabinet is ideal – but hardly likely to be accessible to beginners. Try rigging up a ‘glove box’ or a modified fish tank on its side. See see HOS Newsletter issue 3.
Autoclave: A pressure cooker to sterilise everything.
Germination/Growing medium: There are two distinct types:
1. Medium based on agar gel and porridge oats with suitable fungi (symbiotic growth).
2. Medium based on agar gel containing nutrients to be used without fungi.
Maybe I’ll just let nature take its course.