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.
Great in variety and in lavish profusion were the lovely orchid blossoms 1 saw at Mr. F. L. Ames', at North Easton, the other day. The Dendrobiums were especially gay and included Ainsworthii, a beautiful hybrid between hetero-carpum and nobile ; flowers white with deep amaranth blotch on lip; fifty-seven blooms on a plant in a 5-inch pan ; Findleyanum, an Indian species, with rich, purple tipped flowers, having a yellow blotch on the lip; splendid-issimum, a hybrid between macrophyllum Hut-toni and heterocarpum, flowers white, tipped with purple, and with a deep maroon blotch on the lip; the highly fragrant heterocarpum, with pseudo-bulbs twenty inches long and thirty-two blossoms on a bulb; nobile pendulum, more gorgeous, if possible, that the type; Hillii, with racemes of creamy white fragrant flowers ; crepidatum, white, tipped with pink, and yellow-throated lip ; Wardianum, one of the finest and most beautiful of orchids, and its white variety, which, though distinct and fine, is not, in my opinion, as good as the species; luteolum, from Moulmein, with a tuft of creamy flowers at the end of the shoots; primulinum giganteum, pink and white, larger and showier than the ordinary form ; and other species and varieties, as showy but commoner than these that I have mentioned.
Among a host of Cypripediums.as Lowii, Boxallii and C. Spicerianum (two plants), are in bloom. The large, waxy-white upper sepal of Spicerianum, this sterling novelty, shows more strikingly among exotic Cypridediums than do the long side petals of C. caudatum. Cattleya Warscewiczii delicata, with a profusion of 6-inch wide white to faintly purple-tinged blossoms is the gayest in its class. Laelia flava has yellowish flowers, but it is not as pretty as some of the more highly colored species, as anceps, or desirable as the modestly hued but fragrant albida. Coelogyne flaccida, from Assam, though reckoned but a second-rate orchid, is quite prettily draped in loose racemes of dull white blossoms, that hang over the sides of the pot. Its commoner, but far more beautiful relative, C. cris-tata, is here in snowy heaps. Dendrochilum glumaceum has twenty airy racemes of fragrant blossoms to a plant; and among many other va-rieties the white flowering Lycaste Skinneri - one of the purest white blossomed orchids extant - is conspicuously in bloom.
I will now pass to the "cool" orchid-house* which is a ninety-four feet long lean-to, north-facing structure, and contains ore of, if not the best grown collection of this class of orchids in America. Most of the Indian and other tropical orchids in the winter time, when not hidden with their gorgeous blossoms, are as "homely" plants to the casual observer as are the Cactuses of Mexico; for instance the naked-stemmed Dendrobiums, the ungainly Cattleyas, the roperooted AErides, and the rambling Renanthera. But in this "cool" house the plants that are in blossom are in full leafage, too, a sturdy thrift that well demands the gay-clad wreaths and rambling spikes to cheer the vernal mass. In scores the arching wreaths of Odontoglossum Alexandrae (more properly crispum, but Alexandrae is the garden name, and ever likely to be used as such,) rife in variety, break over the bank of deep and bronzy green ; and by its side its variety Andersoni, so rare and so expensive, but less beautiful than its peerless mother. Pes-catorei, triumphans, gloriosum, crocidipterum, blandum, Rossii majus and others added to the show. Speaking of Odontoglossum vexillarium and Roezlii, Mr. Robinson tells me he finds much difficulty in growing them.
Now, when my friend and neighbor, Mr. E. L. Beard, used to have a collection of orchids, these two species seemed to be special favorites of his, and many handsome blossoms of them have I seen in his greenhouses. Would other orchid growers please tell us how they get along with them? As Odontoglossum phalaenopsis belongs to the same set, I should like to hear of it too. I remember Mr. Gray at Mr. Coming's, of Albany, some years ago gave me a distressful account of it, nor did I hear any more sanguine report of it at Mrs. Morgan's, New York. But come back with me to the greenhouse and lift and smell that little darling, Oncidium cheirophorum, and get the orchid fever: and then behold these brilliant, fiery blossoms hovering over the tufts of fleshy deep green Masdevallea leaves. Brightest among them are the erubescens variety of ignea and the magenta Lindeni, and rarest (in blossom) Backhousianum, which has large, fleshy, long-tailed blossoms, in form and color somewhat similar to those of Chimera. Sarco-chilus Fitzgeraldi, a rare Australian orchid, has racemes of waxy white flowers whose sepals and petals are barred with purple, and the lip blotched with yellow.