This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Owing to the large number of beautiful cypripediums that have been introduced to cultivation within the past decade, there is some risk of this fine old Lady's Slipper being overlooked. It is not perhaps necessary to institute comparisons between our old friend and the newer kinds; but were a comparison made it would be perfectly safe to aver that in point of beauty it is equal to most and superior to many of those at present at the command of the cultivator. In usefulness it certainly has no superior, and as nice little plants can be purchased at from half a crown to five shillings each, it may be truly said that it is within the reach of the humblest amateur. It is a great favorite with me, because of the facility with which it can be grown in gardens in which there is no house specialty for orchids, as it thrives in a much lower temperature than any other of the species. We have no stove or orchid houses, yet we have several magnificent specimens which yield a splendid lot of flowers every winter. We have cucumber houses and melon pits, which are set to work early in the year, and with their aid and a greenhouse, we grow the cypripediums as well as could be wished.
Our practice is to place the plants in one of the cucumber houses started for an early crop two or three weeks after the flowers have lost their beauty, and at the same time we shift those requiring more space at the roots into pots of larger size. At the same time those becoming too large are divided into two or more portions, and put each part into a separate pot. In this structure they remain until the end of June, when they are removed to the greenhouse, in which they occupy a place until the end of September. About the middle of that month we clear out one of the cucumber houses that has been at work during the summer, and after the woodwork and glass have been cleaned and the walls washed over with hot lime, we fill it with such plants as bouvardias, gesneras, and epiphyl-lums that require more warmth during the winter than is afforded by the ordinary greenhouse. In this structure the cypripediums are placed, and there remain until after the flowering season is over, and they are removed to the early cucumber house. The temperature maintained throughout the winter ranges from 60° to 65° by day, and averages 55° by night.
Some of my friends keep this cypripedium in the greenhouse throughout the year, and succeed in flowering it very well; but the results are more satisfactory when it can have a little additional warmth both during the winter and when the new growth is in progress. It will thrive in sphagnum-moss and peat, separate or in mixture; but peat alone appears to produce the strongest growth. There is no occasion to hanker after special varieties, as the flowers of the specific form are exceedingly beautiful. - Gardener's Magazine.