Saturday, April 26, 2008

Spring Rolls on in Fern Valley...Yellow Lady's Slipper

Cypripedium parviflorum, the Yellow Lady's Slipper is the easiest of the "showy" native orchids to grow in the garden. When we moved into our house a long time ago, I noticed a few plants growing near the play equipment at our neighborhood park. I am proud to say that they are still there. I didn't dig any and as far as I can tell no one else has either. Many of our native orchids have had and continue to have their populations ravaged by collecting. Don't collect and don''t buy collected plants.

You don''t have to! Every year there are more suppliers on line that sell nursery propagated plants. Don't be fooled by the phrase,"Nursery grown". It can mean, and usually does mean, that the plants were ripped out of wild populations, potted up, spent a little time in the nursery, and then on to market! Disingenuity at its finest.Out of Carversville, Pennsylvania, The Wild Orchid Company, owned and operated by William Mathis, publishes a small list of both native and non-native orchids that are not wild collected; they are largely sold out now, but, buy his book, The Gardener's Guide to Growing HardyPerennial Orchids, build some of those specialty beds, and you'll be ready to plant next year.

Timber Press has also published a useful book on growing hardy terrestrial orchids, Growing Hardy Orchids, by John Tullock. I haven't written anything about Timber Press yet. Wow. There are two things that I love particularly; plants and books. I am thankful every day that Timber Press exists.If I was omnipotent and could invent a lineup of books, and control the subject matter, the quality of writing, the illustration, and the layout, I couldn't do any better than they do. Sitting here at my keyboard I can look up and see, oh about 200 of their titles. And there are more I need.

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