This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
I thought I would call the attention of the readers of the Monthly, who are interested in the cultivation of orchids, to this plant, as a very desirable one for winter blooming. I have not seen it noticed in any of the lists of orchids which have appeared from time to time in the Monthly. It is a strong-growing evergreen plant, of neat, compact habit, making bulbs four inches high, bearing a pair of dark green, glossy leaves, ten inches long, and produces its graceful, drooping spikes in great abundance, which are about a foot long, bearing from nine to twelve flowers. The flowers are about two inches across, and of a rich cream color, with a band of orange in the centre of the lip and marked on the inside with stripes of rich brown. It will last in good condition four or five weeks. The plant in the picture is in an eight-inch pot, and has eleven spikes, with an average of eleven flowers to the spike. This plant does well in a basket, but does best in a pot. I think it worthy a place in any collection.
In a subsequent note Mr. M. says: - "I send to-day a spike of the orchid of which I previously sent photograph. Mr. Mansfield Milton paid me a visit the other day, and expressed the opinion that I had sent you the wrong name, and that Coelogyne flaccida was not correct, and advised me to send you a spike.
I would just say that "flaccida" was the name given me by Mr. Geo. Such, of South Am-boy; I sent it to him for name two years ago.
This plant I picked up on the rubbish heap of a neighboring garden, where it had been cast as worthless, the bulbs were then not more than an inch long, and about the thickness of an ordinary lead pencil. I thought it was an Epi-dendrum, and more than likely not worth growing, but always having a passion for orchids, concluded to see what it was. I took it and after washing clean, carefully potted it and gave the treatment I would an Epidendrum, but soon found it liked a little more heat. This was some six or seven years ago. The first year it made nice, plump, little bulbs, and the year following gave me two spikes of flowers, which amply repaid me for the care I had bestowed upon it, and now at the present writing the bulbs are nearly five inches high and an inch and a half in diameter; the flowers I described to you in first note. It is easy of cultivation, and does best in a pot, filled to half its depth with broken pots or charcoal, upon which is placed a layer of moss. I then take some good old leaf mould, river sand, charcoal broken fine, and sphagnum mixed. I suppose peat would be better than the leaf mould, if it is to be had, but I find that I can grow any of the varieties of orchids I have in the above mixture.
Would just say here that one of the best materials I ever grew orchids in was cocoanut fibre; it will not retain moisture, but never remains wet for any length of time.
This Coelogyne requires plenty of water at the roots while growing. It begins to grow about the middle of March, and will have completed its growth by the middle of September, and if placed where it can have plenty of light and a temperature of about 55°, and just given enough water to keep the bulbs plump, it will flower abundantly all through the month of February." [There are a number of very closely allied species of Coelogyne, and it would be difficult for us to decide this question of identity positively. But as a specimen of a remarkably well grown orchid we have had the engraving made from the photograph. We are sure our readers would be glad to hear often from such a good plant grower. - Ed. G. M.]
Mr. George Such, South Amboy, N. J., writes: - "The name which I gave for the orchid figured in your magazine is correct, You will find it as Coelogyne flaccida in the Botanical Magazine, plate, 3318; and also in the Botanical Register, plate, 31."