This solitary, banana-shaped bud belongs to the one and only yellow pleione species, P. forrestii, just one of which has found its way into my fledgling collection. It’s a wonder that it’s there at all. The first pseudobulb I ordered got lost in the post; hardly surprising given its diminutive size. The second almost went in the bin, along with the tangled mass of packing material that was intended to stop it disappearing again. However, this pleione was lucky. Tucked into a tiny clay pot, nestled in a bed of moss and semi-decomposed leaves, it produced a single, pleated leaf last summer. I placed the pot under a garden bench in a shady spot and let nothing but the rain water it. Then, as Christmas approached, I remembered that pleiones don’t like winter wet, or frost, so I tucked my golden wonder away in the cold frame, along with its pink and white cousins, until spring arrived.
Whilst tidying the cold frame this weekend I discovered that my precious pleione was preparing to flower whilst the others slept on. My heart had a little flutter as I realised that not only had I rescued the bulb from oblivion, but I had also persuaded it to bloom. When it does, the flower will be citrus-peel-yellow with blood-red markings on the lip. I have read somewhere that the flower will smell heavily of primroses, which is a delightful prospect.
I was only wondering at the weekend if I will ever achieve my dream of creating a truly great garden. I think I would be disappointed if I never my gave myself the chance. But, when I experience little wonders like encouraging seeds to grow, or bulbs to bear flower, I appreciate that a sense of achievement can be won just as easily (and much more cheaply) by taking the time to enjoy life’s little triumphs, one at a time.
If you’d like to learn more about pleione, I can heartily recommend Paul Cumbleton’s website, to which I refer for all advice related to these wonderful, rewarding little orchids.
14.03.2017: Here it is, my golden wonder –