It was hard to choose, but also fun to consider the choices. After much consideration, my three best orchid stories of 2006 are:
1. I've had my Epi. ilense for almost four years now, and until this summer it simply refused to bloom. I found conflicting culture data and tried various light levels with mixed success. When it finally tried to bloom this summer, the flowers were stunted and didn't last. But it suggested that the plant was trying. I unmounted some well enmeshed roots from its cork bark mount and placed it in a clay pot with sphag. Soon after it put up new buds (it's a free-flowering plant) and bloomed twice more through the fall, with excellent form. It's dormant through the winter, but I'm anxious to see it back in action this coming spring. Here's the thread:
2. I crossed two Cattleyas last march (pollen from each one applied to the other) and got a seed pod on each one. This cross hasn't been registered before, so that makes it doubly exciting. This was my first experience with orchid sex. The seed pods grew through the spring and summer and I harvested them in Sept. With help from our Minister of Silly Flasking, we sowed the seeds in sterile flasks: we had no comtamination, and had germination in all flasks! With luck, Aaron will allow me visitation rights so I can take pictures of the kids! The flasks are in his care. Here's that thread:
3. I was working with a Canadian nursery manager last summer to buy some plants. During our orchid babble mostly mine, she offered me a prized plant from her personal collection. She'd loved it for years and felt it was time for it to move onto a new home. It's a Lycaste Cassiopeia (63% skinneri, 25% longipetala, 12% lasioglossa.) I bought it from her at a bargain price, but I was new to Lycaste and was terrified I'd croak it. It's a semi-deciduous species, so when it started loosing side leaves in the fall, I freaked. Then the oldest back bulb started turning brown and softening, and I thought, "Omigod! Fungus!" Both were natural aging reactions for the plant, however.
Well, it's putting up spikes, and boy is it! I counted 8 spikes today - each should produce a peach-apricot colored flower about 6" across. I also see the beginnings of two new growths. So Cassie is happy! Which makes me happy! And hopefully before long I'll have some showy blooms!