Gordon, thanks for the tip on Cypripedium acaule on the Thimble Farms site. Even though this species grows in the woods nearby, I've never had luck growing it over the long term; maybe the revealed formula is the key.
When I was a boy at around age 10, I first came across Habenaria psychodes (as it was named in those days), and would go visit each spring to see this fine fringed orchid, and other nice woodland plants like masses of Clintonia borealis, and the aforementioned Cyprepedium acaule. You'll have to show us some photos when your plants are in bloom.
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
I'm just hoping that everything survives the wild temperature swings we have been getting over the past week, and into the week ahead (+9 c today, -7 tomorrow, and down to a high of -12 c by Thursday).
From what I have read, Cypripedium acaule requires an extremely acidic medium for its root zone. I've heard of folks amending the plant site with masses of pine needles to drop the pH as far as possible. I remember visiting a patch of them as a child, seeing them growing in rock crevices filled with mosses and the like. To be honest, I thought they'd perish from drought, but I guess these spots collected enough rain runoff to keep the plants happy.
Southwest Nova Scotia, zone 6b or thereabouts
Hope your new plants do well, Gordon- we have those temperature swings here as well, but it's quite normal-- we were above freezing part of the week (+12 some days ago) with a high of 15C today...
Here are a couple of pics of our local Spiranthes- S romanzoffiana-- I have more and better pics somewhere, but this is the first set I came across. I know them from two sites nearby, though there are surely more. They used to grow on the farm, but have been shaded out over the years as woodies etc grew up. Both sites are on roadsides and in the ditch in one case, moist areas (though this site, right at the edge of the gravel road must get dry on occasions, even though it is wet just below the road). Soils are mostly clayey subsoils left after road building many years ago, and any humus layer must be very thin.. There are quite a few plants at both sites, and all small, probably 15 cm more or less.The last shot shows the habitat for this site, in the grassy verge with Parnassia palustris, Gentianopsis crinita, sedges, clover etc..
west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/
Hi Cohan, tanks for the Spiranthes photos. There are a few species locally, though none on our property. I hope to add Spiranthes cernua var. odorata 'Chadd's Ford' to the garden, along with a handful of Dactylorhizas and Cypripediums over the next few years.
This year we seem to be having a Calgary style winter... snow, then chinook-like conditions- snow vanishes overnight, and the cold descends again. It was -18 C overnight- the coldest it has been since we moved here in 2009. There are a couple of plants in the garden which will have a real challenge pulling through this cold. Euphorbia 'Tasmanian Tiger' is out there, braving the cold, and I somehow doubt it will survive (rated zone 7-8).
Who knows what will pull through this winter... but I'm definitely looking forward to adding a few new gems to the place come springtime.
Gordon, have you perused the hardy orchid offerings at Thimble Farms in British Columbia; the list of Bletilla is great (would love to try a hardy yellow one), but the vast list of Cypripedium is unbelievable, mouth-watering photos of most of them. Considering what they are, the prices are within reason; I would gladly spring for trying a few. Given that Cypripedium calceolus var. pubescens does splendidly here, I would love to try more hardy cyps, including many hybrids that have this cyp as one of its parents.
Warning: viewing this page may induce diminishment of one's wallet and bank account ;) http://www.thimblefarms.com/cypripedium.html
Gordon- I guess it will be a good test winter for you.I'm still awaiting time and new test plants here to tell me how things do with my winters- I have more persistent snow cover than Calgary, and hopefully that will help with some things such as woodlanders, but based on some of Lori's observations in Calgary, and my very early observations, I suspect it will be a disadvantage with some drylanders that don't appreciate the extra moisture, especially during spring melt period.-18 sounds very mild to me as a maximum low, so I'm sure you can grow all sorts of things that are out of the question here :)Mark- Frasers T.F. does have some great stuff! I've never ordered yet, but looked at the list for years..
Here are three of the lesser and one of the more flashy orchids growing wild "everywhere" although not at my acreage of course.
Coeloglossum viride, Corallorhiza trifida, Listera cordata and Orchis mascula.
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!
Nice ones, TrondCoeloglossum is listed for Alberta, and not uncommon- but if I have seen it, I did not distinguish it from the great numbers of greenish Platanthera- quite possible, since google shows me some plants which do not have that extra bit of colour yours seem to, but rather do look like the many green bog orchids here (which I do like, but very common and not showy, so they don't get the attention of a Calypso!)Listera cordata is also listed for Alberta, but not as many sites, and I'm quite sure I have not seen it..Corallorhiza trifida is common on my acreage and around it- interesting, since I do not remember it at all from my younger years here..Of course we have nothing like the purple Orchis...lol
Coeloglossum viride is very variable in colour and the ones I picture are darker than most.Listera cordata is very common in moist spruce forrests but do not flower every year. Some years they are everywhere other years you don't find any.Although you don't have Orchis mascula you do have Calypso!
I have some catching up to do with you all.... have been busy clearing driveways for the neighbours. Mark- I visited Fraser Thimble Farm when I lived in Vancouver. The only reason I'm not still in the poorhouse was because I was a student at the time, and had no place to build the woodland garden of my dreams. They have such an incredible assortment of plants for the conoisseur. I would have loved to walk out of there with at least a dozen Cyps, Dactylorhizas, Calanthes, and a few pots full of Pleiones as well. Was also drooling over the Dicksonia antarctica ferns. They used to carry a hybrid Pleione 'Shantung' that was an amazing peachy golden tone. I can still dream of the day I have a bulb pan full of them. They also regularly offer discounted mature Trilliums for sale- Trillium 'noid', bags of them. Maybe I'll take them up on it one of these years and see if we can come up with who they all are!Cohan, we have been here since October 2009, and this is the first time we've had extended cold below -10 C. The average winter high is at this time of year is -1 C, and we haven't had anything warmer than -13 for the past week. It will be interesting to see if Acanthus mollis, and Euphorbia 'Tasmanian Tiger' manage to pull through. It wouldn't be all that hard on things if only the snow would stick around.
Trond- Nice photos! I've always liked the genus Orchis, and would love to try growing a few. The other European genus that has caught my attention is Ophrys. I haven't seen many in my travels, but remember reading articles on their pollination biology. One local plant that sadly is not on our acreage is Arethusa bulbosa. This little gem, and a few other of our local plants can be found on Brier Island, a great spot for plant and bird lovers. Here is a link to a photo page in the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society showing Arethusa and several other gems: