This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
There is no other class of plants deserving of so much comment in a popular periodical as that of the cool-house orchids; because there are many species of this class that deserve a much wider cultivation, and this can be secured to them most rapidly by repeated assurance of their easy culture. These are not plants for the wealthy only, who can afford a conservatory and an experienced orchid grower, but any lover of flowers, endowed with sunlight and shade, who understands the meaning of "rest" and "growth," can find members of the orchid family which will respond freely with their beautiful and curious flowers to a treatment much like that of bulbous Begonias. This is most simply stated thus: moist and warm during growth, dry and cool during rest, with a temperature not less than 500 in winter or more than 85° in summer.
I have in mind at the present time various plants which have received just about such simple treatment. Among these a Cypripedium insigne, but a few years old, which has been blooming every year, and this season produced upwards of twenty flowers, lasting from the middle of November last till the 1st of February. The flowers of this Lady's Slipper are attractive because of their peculiar structure, apart from their floral beauty.
Another plant of the above group is that of Lycaste Skinneri with but three flowering bulbs showing in all fifteen flowers and buds. No description can convey a satisfactory impression of the beauty of orchid blooms to one unacquainted with their forms. If we can conceive of an aristocracy in the vegetable kingdom, it certainly is inherent in the orchid family.
The beautiful Coelogyne cristata with its pure white undulating petals and sepals, and a solitary yellow blotch in the throat of the lip, should not be ignored in the smallest collection. Then, we can safely say, that with two or three such plants to begin, inspiration will soon increase the number.