Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dendrobium densiflorum revisited, the March 2011 blooming

Photo taken using sunglight 
Freshly opened inflorescences photographed under sunlight

Four day old inflorescences photographed with flash.  The fact that local temperatures have been significantly cooler than the norm has meant that the flowers have held up well and may last more than a week.

This is the 2011 blooming of my Dendrobium densiflorum.  It produced four large inflorescences, because of the way they were in the canes only three can be seen.  This plant has continued growing in size since I wrote about it back in 2008.  Good management when it is producing its new growths, which need plenty of watering and fertilizer, has resulted in the plant producint the largest canes to date, some achieving a lenght of 20 inches (53 cm).  Although this orchid has been at times an erratic and shy bloomer, a winter with unusually cool temperatures for our locality stimulated four of the canes into blooming.  The cooler temperatures have also helped extend the life of the flowers.  This plant is very pot bound and has been in need of repoting for some time now, but this is something I must confess I dread as this plants greatly resent root damage and can sulk or even die from a too rough repotting.  I have moved the plant indoors as thrips are driven insane with desire by the sight of this flowers and will flock to them in great numbers and damage them in short order.  Rain can also damage the flowers.  Sudden exposure to higher temperatures can cause premature wilt in individual flowers of the inflorescence which can spoil the look of the same.  I saw a number of seedlings of this species for same at the 2011 Puerto Rico Orchid society orchid show in March 17-20.  I wonder if in a few years there will be more plants of this species blooming locally.  I recall that in the nineties in every spring show you could see plants of Den farmeri, Den palpebrae and even Den. densiflorum (although this last one was the rarest of the lot).  Nowadays all you see in local shows of this type of Dendrobium are plants of Den, farmeri var. albiflora.

Someone asked me why grow plants with such short lived flowers.  The flowers of this species can be short lived, but during the time they are in full bloom they are so beautiful they outshine everything else.  The japanese people have a concept where certain things are beautiful because they are transcient.  Then these flowers have double measure of beauty, they are transcient and also beautiful on their own right.   This concept of fleeting beauty can be seen on the poem of Kokan Shiren (1278-1346) a poet and Zen Master This poem was written after a large earthquake has struck the part of Japan where the poet lived.

Still things moving,
firm becomes unfirm,
land like ocean waves,
house like a boat --
a time to be fearful,     
but to delight as well;
no wind, yet the wind-bells
keep on ringing.

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