Weekend Work: Cymbidium orchids like a baking

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The Independent Online

What to do

My cymbidium orchids do not yet show any sign of coming into bloom. I bought them very cheaply in London's Columbia Road market where they'd been rammed into pots, the roots wrapped in rockwool.

Repotted in the loose, bark-based compost that orchids are supposed to like, they've had regular summer holidays between June and October. Cymbidiums like a baking.

Some growers think that it's this heat that initiates the first flower spikes. Perhaps that has been the problem. Neither of the last two summers has been very hot. Others think that a chilling period after the summer is the vital catalyst. Once the flower spikes are visible in bud, you must keep the night temperature below 15C (59F) or the buds turn yellow and drop off.

Chill is never a problem in our house and there haven't been any buds to drop. Still, it's worth getting its needs properly sorted out: lots to drink and a feed (half strength) three weeks out of four. I use Baby Bio.

What to see

Photographing flowers requires a steady hand. And a tripod, says Peter Murray, who is running a series of four workshops on photographing plants and gardens at Easton Walled Gardens, Easton, Grantham, Lincs NG33 5AP. They'll take place on 25 Feb, 22 Apr, 24 June and 2 Sep (1-4pm) and cost £35. With eight places at each session, everyone can get plenty of help. To book, call 0845 612 1253 or visit eastonwalledgardens.co.uk

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