TOW: Bulbs with surprising hardiness

Bonaventure W Magrys
Fri, 12 Sep 2003 13:36:06 PDT
Habenaria (Pecteilis) radiata - the egret flower. This hardy orchid has
pea-like tubers. Years ago I grew some of the slender grass-like plants
outdoors in a large clay pot half filled with sand and topped with sphagnum
moss sitting in a saucer of water at all times. As they went dormant in
late summer (later now that they're in better health) I dried the pot
slightly and stored it in a shed. They had looked miserable and I promptly
forgot about them. When it came time to move to a new house that year, in
the haste of moving and unpacking, that pot remained wrapped in a plastic
groceries bag in the trunk of my car. Being way in the back of the trunk
with other "junk" it traveled to and from work with me every day and
elsewhere through a New Jersey winter with occasional dips to 10F.
Late next May when I found it I thought "this sphagnum ought to be good for
topdressing some of the pots of my orchids that are hanging outside". In
doing so I saw small green shoots and to my amazement found tubers from
which each shoot came from. The Pecteilis now reside in a homemade bog in a
large plastic storage container along with pitcher plants, Platanthera, and
Spiranthes odorata 'Chadd's Ford' sitting alongside my driveway. In winter
I throw a plastic tarp over it.

Bonaventure Magrys
Cliffwood Beach, NJ

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