Summer Blooms of Cymbidium Finlaysonianum

Cymbidium finlaysonianum is one of the native orchid species which never fails to disappoint us. This specimen clump had been with us for more than 25 years. This was bought by my mom in the early 1990’s from an ambulant vendor selling her last few stocks of orchids.

Cymbidium finlaysonianum clump with 19 flowers on 1 spike

This orchid was first grown on a driftwood during the first 5 years after my mom brought the orchid home. When the driftwood rotted away. We decided to tie the orchid on a Melia azedarach (Paraiso tree) growing in our backyard. This orchid spend at least 15 years or so mounted and flowering every year. When the tree died sometime in 2010. We re-attached the the large one on to a Manila palm ( Adonidia merrillii) sometime around 2011. It took more than 2 years before the main orchid started to bloom again. The flowering season for this orchid species became erratic ( it may be due to the change in growing condition) until a couple of years ago, when it would bloom at least once a year. We have given some divisions to  neighbors and friends, but unfortunately most of the divisions that we gave died out in their collection.

This particular orchid had a compact growth habit and would have small flowers compared to other Cymbidium finlaysonianum that we have in our house. This species blooming season is from March to May, but sometimes this can bloom late February or early June depending on the weather pattern.

A short drying period is necessary for the orchid species to initiate flowering. In our case, Some of our orchid clump would flower twice a year after a short dry season and after the rainy season.

Cymbidium finlaysonianum with second flower spike

This orchid had rewarded us with two spikes ( 19 flowers) and ( 15 flowers) before the first spike had faded away, the second inflorescence started opening. Due to the intense heat, Most of the flowers do not last more than a week. There is a third spike which is expected to open by Easter.

Cymbidium finlaysonianum with 3rd flower spike

Gathering and Viewing Parties

I have seen some blooming -sized orchid planted in pots at the backyard of my aunt during my kindergarten days. She bought some of her orchids from ambulant vendors way back in the late 1980’s while some was brought from the province. This was some sort of a “BIG Event” in her house whenever these orchids were in bloom. Most of her orchids were grown on big earthenware pots and can be brought inside the patio area for easier viewing.

This would rival Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Queen of the Night, Queen for a Night, Dutchman Pipe ) whenever the plants were in bloom.

This orchid species use to be commonly cultivated in many houses within the subdivision that we live. Most are left untouched by the owners which were grown attached to coconut palms, manila palms, caimito, duhat, jackfruits and driftwood.

Unfortunately, New generation home owners would prefer orchid hybrids or other flowering plants. Some older residents which grew tried of growing them would neglect the orchids and a lot of them would end up dying.

Cymbidium finlaysonianum flowers are smaller than the usual form. a big one is only 1.5 inches across ( about 4cm) this one had a flower spike of 26 inches long.

Initially thought that this was Cymbidium pubescens or Cymbidium bicolor, until few years ago when i have shown some flower samples to fellow orchid hobbyists and collectors. They told me that this is the compact type Cymbidium finlaysonianum or small flowering size ones.

Habitat

Cymbidium finlaysonianum is the most widely distributed of all the Cymbidium species and it has been recorded from India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, the People’s Democratic Republic of Lao, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, throughout the islands of Indonesia, Borneo, Maluku, Sulawesi, and throughout the Philippines.

Cymbidium finlaysonainum is found elevations around sea level to 1,300 meters in lowlands to mid-level altitude.

This orchid species would be seen growing in coconut plantations and semi-cultivated fruit orchard. Sometimes growing lithophytes on limestone rock formations.

There are some color variations in this species, While the highly prized Cymbidium finlaysoniamum variety flava sometimes called variety alba . Is seldom seen in cultivation.

Cymbidium finlaysonianum with 2nd inflorescence ( 15 flowers)

Care and Fertilization

Most of our Cymbidium finlaysonianum orchids are grown attached to living palms and on forks of trees.

Fertilization should only be done during the active growth periods, normally 2 weeks after blooming. We would use water soluble fertilizers at 1/4 strength of what is on the label usually 20N-20P-20K every week.  Applying some calcium nitrate, trace elements and epsom salt once every two weeks on very small quantity diluted on lukewarm water, then further diluting them on 10 liters of water. We would water first the orchid early in the morning or late afternoon before applying any fertilizers.

Try to put 25 to 35 pieces slow release fertilize sewn on old cloths then tie them few inches above the main orchid roots. This orchid species tend to be heavy feeders especially during their growing season. ( normally 2 weeks after they bloom- between late March, April to late October) towards late October or early November, We would adjust the fertilizer formulation to ( 10N-30P-30K) in preparation for the dry season.

As cooler weather approaches, reduce watering slightly, By early December, we would decrease watering to two or three times a weeks and stopping the application of any form of fertilizers.

Cymbidium finlaysonianum have evolved water storage organs (pseudobulbs) to withstand periodic, or months of dry season in their native habitats. The larger the pseudobulbs, the longer a period of dryness the orchid clump can withstand. For this reason, it is recommended that plants in cultivation be allowed to go nearly dry in between watering.

We would also flush our orchid at least once every 10 days using ordinary tap water to remove the built -up of salts and other fertilizer residue.

Once a while, we would also water our orchid from rice washings ( hugas bigas), but orchid experts forbid this practice since there are fungus and water mold which would kill the orchid. Hence, we would minimize the use of hugas bigas.

Etho-Botanical and Economic Importance:

Cymbidium orchids and its hybrids were long sought after orchid in the world. The Chinese were cultivating them long before Jesus Christ was born. Flower arranger and florist would use their large flowers for several occasions.

Some believe that growing them gives them good luck ( depending on the person or ethic group ) One ethnic group in the Philippines uses the leaves of the Cymbidium finlaysonianum as rope or accessories.

A neighbor also believe that growing them within one’s property could deter tiktik from entering one’s house.

In Borneo, people keep plants of this species in their houses to ward off evil spirits. Also sprinkling chewed roots of this species over an elephant is thought to cure it.

Landscapers would also use the beautiful orchids to cling on old trees and palms in big subdivisions , farm , resorts and local parks.

This is also often seen being peddled by Some aetas or ambulant orchid vendors. sometimes misnaming or mislabeling the orchid as Vandas or inserting the orchid with Vanda hybrid flowers or Mokaras.

Sources and Bibliographies:

Personal interview with backyard growers

The Orchids of the Philippines , Jim Cootes 2001

Orchid of Malaysia and Singapore ,Gunnar Seidenfaden, Jeffrey J. Wood, Richard Eric Holttum ,  Olsen and Olsen 1992

Page,148 Philippine’ Book on Orchids, Golamco Andres 1991, Jemma Inc ( ISBN 971-8636-54-4)

Orchidiana Philipiniana Vol 1 Valmayor 1984; Orchidiana Philipiniana Vol 1 Valmayor 1984

The Complete Writings on Philippine Orchids Vol 1 Quisumbing 1981

Opening Highlights of the Flores De Mayo Exhibit at the Orchidarium

Flores de Mayo 2017 exhibit was in partnership between Department of Tourism , National Parks Development Committee in cooperation with League of Conservationists of the Philippines ( LOCPHIL) opened to the general public the  plant exhibition and trade bazaar at the Orchidarium ( Beside the National Museum of Anthropology ) within Rizal Park , Manila.

Since it was ” Mother’s Day ” all the parks entrance fees like Orchidarium , Chinese Garden , Children Garden , Japanese Garden and Paco Park were waived .

Among the prominent guests of honor includes Ms. Penelope D. Belmonte ( Executive Director-National Parks Development Committee ) Honorable Fema Duterte,Dr. Joan Lagunda of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office ASec. Astravel Pimentel-Naik, PCUP, Dr. Elba S. Cruz ( Development Academy of the Philippines ) ,  Mr. Rolando T. Mamaradlo ( NPDC -Chief Administration officer) , Mr. Niel Maceda ( LOCPHIL- President )

League of Orchid Conservationists of the Philippines officers and members

The Orchidarium used to be a parking lot about 8,000 square meters allotted to the employees of the Department of Finance and was later converted into a garden and sanctuary around 1994 . This is also a repository for rare and native orchid species found in the country.

Unfortunately, We only saw a handful of native orchids growing on trees, a lot of the native orchids such are sanggumay ( Dendrobium anosmum ) , dainty sanggumay ( Dendrobium aphyllum ) are not found.

Judging also commenced before the ribbon cutting ceremonies by the special guests of honor which includes Ms. Fema Duterte and officials from National Parks Development Committee.

Cymbidium finalysonianum specimen orchid spotted near the man-made waterfall blooming .

plant stalls 

There are also stall holders from different parts of the country like Mabuhay Orchids and Ornamental Plants from Cavite, Laguna , Quezon , Negros , Davao and Metro Manila .

Horti Negrense 

#14 exhibit booth , showcased some native orchids , Platycerium coronarium ferns

#7 landscape exhibit booth

#3 Landscape exhibit

#5 Landscape entry

#9 Landscape entry

Landscape Winners

Biona’s Garden won the first place ” Best in Landscape ” award which comes with blue ribbon and Php 75,000 cash reward courtesy of the National Parks Development Committee.

Mhin’s Garden won second place which also come with a cash prize of Php 50,000 plus red ribbon . Mhins Garden is from Calauan , Laguna province ( Contact : 0927-5660350/0921-2835214 )

Davao Susana Garden won third place with Php 35,000 cash and white ribbon. All the winners are members of the Los Baños Horticultural Society Inc.

After all the fanfare , participants, exhibitors were treated to an early lunch hosted by NPDC.

The exhibit will run until May 22, 2017. Photos are all from the author

 

Casa Santa within Jardin de Miramar Revisted

276 to 279  San Jose Ext, Padilla,  Jardin de Miramar compound , Antipolo City 1870 , Rizal province

It had been 7 years since we last visited Casa Santa and Jardin de Miramar . Our group conducted a tour on the place way back in 2008 and 2009 for the Philippine Orchid Society and Philippine Horticulture Society .  There have been a lot of improvements and additional venue at the place.

water lilies also add colors to the landscape

Cymbidium finlaysonianum

We decided to revisit the place and re-update our blog .  The place had beautiful landscape lawn , more venue places , lush garden , a great venue / event east of Metro Manila.  There are more interesting collection , lovely native orchids like Cymbidium finlaysonianum which is at least a decade -old and is blooming .

Dendrobium aphyllum , Dendrobium anosmum and Asplenium nidus naturalized on mango trees

Jardin de Miramar has extended its collection to other works of art such as the sculptures/creation of nationally recognized artists  Mr. Ed Castrillo, Michael Cacnio, Daniel dela Cruz, Tony Leano, Ral Arrogante, mural works by Alfred Galvez; mosaic works by Hannah Liongoren.

interior with santa clause theme collection

 ” Christmas Everyday ” is very appropriate theme for the museum/ collection . It reminds everyone of caring , sharing and the spirit of giving for the less fortunate .

collection of different santa from all over the world

The collection of santa seems to grew from about 3,500 to around 3,900 plus from the last time we have visited the place. Not all were exhibited at the house. No two santa collectible items are the same , thus out-most care is given to the collection .

Christmas eggs

plates, cookie jars, table mats , mugs, spoon , forks 

There are santa items from several countries from Russia, Finland, Portugal, Spain , China, Hong Kong , Taiwan , United States of America, Peru among others.

Christmas miniature villages

Some of the Christmas themed collection are also given by friends, relatives and even close acquaintances of the owner.

miniature  village complete with railroad track and amusement park

A newly renovated Santa’s village has been created by Christmas village miniature artist Bamboo Tonogbanua, a Cebuano Artist. The bluish lighting within the room of the famed Christmas miniature room was designed by  Japanese light designer Shoko Matsumoto.

 

viewed from second floor

For those who wish to visit the Casa Santa museum and Jardin de Miramar.

Contact: Telephone No.: 584-3199
Fax No.: 697-4077
Cellphone No.: 09178912208
Viber : 09178912208
Email: info@jardindemiramar.com

Website : http://jardindemiramar.com/casa-santa/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/casasantamuseum

Cymbidium finlaysonianum blooming in our backyard

Cymbidium finlaysonianum blooming

This orchid is one of the most common orchid species that i have encountered in the Philippines ( both cultivated and wild)  after Dendrobium crumenatum ( dove orchid ),  Dendrobium anosmum ( sanggumay ) and Spathoglottis plicata ( grass orchid ) .

Cymbidium finlaysonianum grown on a Christmas palm  ( the flowers is darker but not in full form )

BIG Event or Viewing Party

I have seen some blooming -sized orchid planted in pots at the backyard of my aunt when i was in my kindergarten days . I think she bought some of her orchids from  ambulant vendors way back in the late 1980’s and it was some sort of a ” BIG Event” in her house whenever these orchids were in bloom. Her orchid plants were place near the patio area and it was a conversational piece . She would invite friends and relatives just to admire the rare blooms. This would rival another blooming plant , Epiphyllum oxypetalum (Queen of the Night , Queen for a Night, Dutchman Pipe ) whenever the plants were in bloom.

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphyllum_oxypetalum

They would held a small gathering at around 10:00PM and their viewing parties would last until past 12:00AM which would highlight the blooming .

Cymbidium finlaysonianum grown on a tree near Orchid Pavilion in Paradizoo

 This time,  the viewing party is different ,  They would view this orchid species blooming during the early part of the day around past 6:00am to 7:00am . Unlike the Epiphyllum oxypetalum ,  I was fascinated by the way they treat those blooming plants .   Years had passed , I can tell that the beauty of the plants no matter how ordinary they may be should be appreciated .

Cymbidium finlaysonianum near Orchid Pavilion -Paradizoo farm in Cavite

We acquired our first Cymbidium finlaysonianum from an orchid vendor selling her last few remaining plants at a discounted price. Soon we were given orchids by our neighbor , who grew tired of growing them.  According to her, it is taking much of the space at her backyard and thus gave some of them to those who were interested .  All of my aunt’s orchids eventually died -out in the late 1990’s due to prolonged drought and neglect .

Cymbidium finlaysonianum attached to a Christmas palm Adonidia merrillii

Habitat and Range

This orchid species can be found from India, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia , Laos , Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore , Borneo, Sulawesi, Java, Sumatra and the Philippines in evergreen broad-leaf and in semi-deciduous and deciduous dry lowland forests at elevations from sea-level to 1,300 meters as a large sized hot to warm growing epiphyte with ellipsoid, laterally compressed pseudo-bulbs carrying ligulate, thick, coriaceous, oblique to unequally bilobed apically leaves that blooms in during March , April , May and early June on a 2′ 5″ [72 cm] long, basal, racemose scape that can be arched or pendant with up to 26, fragrant flowers that have brown basal sheaths.

close-up view of the flowers

The species was named after a famous English  orchid collector Mr. George Finlayson (1790 – 1823) .

Watering and Fertilization:

I normally mount Cymbidium finlaysonianum on the trunk of palms , large branches or on dead kakawate driftwood. If the orchid is well-established, We fertilize them with 20 N-20 P-20K  ( diluted into 1/4 of the recommended dosage)  during its growing season , two to three times a week . plus micro nutrients. Alternatively flushing them with ordinary tap water to flush down the accumulated salts or mineral deposits left by the fertilizers.

developing inflorescence

There is no rule on watering and fertilization, You can water them once a day or twice depending on the weather, Some may opt watering them every other day . Growers must put some fungicide before the the onset of rains ( monsoon season ) . Rains , especially southwest monsoon can take its toll on the orchids. When in doubt, you may not water your orchid ( for this species) even for several days ! Rule of Thumb  is “ WEAKLY WEEKLY “. The more frequent you fertilize, the lesser the dosage or the more you dilute the consistency of the fertilizer . ( some may opt to put some slow release fertilizer ).

This plant had two inflorescence with 18 and 16 flowers widely- spaced pale- yellow form

Our orchid blooms twice a year, during the height of the summer season ( March, April and May )  and another during the later part of the monsoon season ( October, November or December ) climatic stress will eventually make these wonderful orchids in bloom. A short dry period is necessary to induce them to bloom. We got around half a dozen specimen- sized of this orchid species in our garden, There used to be more than that.  We would also water them with rice washing ( hugas bigas)  and fish emulsion ( hugas isda ) adding more essential nutrients the more organic way.  What i am sharing is a time tested one, We are growing these orchid species for more than 20 years ! Sometimes, These orchid species is quite temperamental! I notice that our plants will never bloom for several years then all of a sudden , All of our orchids will start blooming . I also notice that the dried flowers and fruits of the Manila Palm/ Bunga de China also serves as a good compost for this orchid.

another Cymbidium finlaysonianum clump with ferns

Etho-Botanical and Economic Importance:

Cymbidium orchids and its hybrids were long sought after orchid  in the world. The Chinese were cultivating them long before Jesus Christ was born . Flower arranger and florist would use their large flowers for several occasions.

Some believe that growing them gives them good luck ( depending on the person or ethic group ) One ethnic group in the Philippines uses the leaves of the Cymbidium finlaysonianum as rope or accessories.

 In Borneo,  people keep plants of this species in their houses to ward off evil spirits. Also sprinkling chewed roots of this species over an elephant is thought to cure it.

Landscapers would also use the beautiful orchids to cling on old trees and palms in big subdivisions , farm , resorts and local parks.

I am also wondering on the other beliefs and other growing techniques ?

Links: http://www.gbif.org/species/120764883

http://www.orchidspecies.com/cymfinlatsoniana.htm

References:

The Orchids of the Philippines , Jim Cootes 2001

Orchid of Malaysia and Singapore ,Gunnar Seidenfaden, Jeffrey J. Wood, Richard Eric Holttum ,  Olsen and Olsen 1992

Orchidiana Philipiniana Vol 1 Valmayor 1984; Orchidiana Philipiniana Vol 1 Valmayor 1984