Thursday, 20 August 2015

Hotter Than the Tropics

 Or more to the point probably, dryer than the Tropics.

During the recent heatwave the gardeners at the Chateau of Cheverny took to dunking their collection of tropical epiphytic orchids in various parts of the water garden.

Normally the orchids are brought out for the summer and live in a shade house equipped with a mister that goes on automatically every 10 minutes or so. Presumably the exceptionally high temperatures were drying the orchids out even with this system.


chm said...

Do these orchids have a specific support in their native habitat and what support do they use at Cheverny? Hydroponics?

Susan said...

In the wild these orchids cling to tree branches or rocks. They don't need soil, all their nutrients are absorbed with water through the roots or via photosynthesis, so in effect they are naturally hydroponic. The Cheverny gardeners hang some of them from wires with their roots dangling, others are in pots but I don't know what the potting medium is. I don't know how they care for them in the cold weather -- they go inside somewhere, but not on display.

chm said...

Thank you Susan for this explanation. In the southern states of the US, Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides ??) hangs from tree branches, as would these orchids, I guess.

Susan said...

If you look on the right hand side of the bottom photo you'll see that Cheverny uses Spanish Moss too. It did not get dunked.

chm said...

You're exactly right. I thought it was the trunk of a tree! Lol!

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