Cancelling our show had its merits. During the winter my dendrobiums were proceeding well. The canes had grown taller than usual thanks to “Rainmix” and the buds were at that tricky stage when the timing of the first big watering is critical to flower rather than keiki production. Those Dendrobiums from Australia flower earlier and were producing spikes from the tops of the newest canes and these had broken in to individual flowers. All looked good for the show despite the nobile types perhaps being on the drag.
Then disaster struck. One by one the flower buds on the kingianum types began disappearing. Cultural deficiencies were suspected but eventually the tell tail signs (poo!) of a critter were spotted and it was big if the size of poo was anything to go by! Daily checking of the plants threw up blanks but still nothing was seen except that the beast(s) had turned their attention to the nobile types and were working up the flower buds on the plump canes. When they ran out of flowers they turned their attention to the newest leaves on the newest canes and devoured these. Nightly patrols with a torch eventually revealed the brown-also available in green, caterpillars of yellow underwing moths. They were cunning advisories that only came out in the pitch dark so to have any luck I had to remember to switch off the kitchen light as even this was enough to put them off. During the day they disappeared in to the compost. In the end about 12 got the clog on the path outside the conservatory door. I am not sure how they arrived but suspect the citrus plants that were bought in to overwinter but I have found an adult moth in the conservatory this week so will have to keep my eyes peeled for a replay!
However all would not have totally been lost as I had two lovely Coelogyne plants in flower at the time of our show. One was Coelogyne Intermedia that I have had for years but the other was bought last year as Coelogyne flaccida but it isn’t that because it is too white! These Coelogyne hybrids are apparently tricky to sort out but I am not too bothered what it is as it is very pretty. Caterpillars are obviously not partial to Coelogynes!