For two centuries tropical orchids have captured the attention of all those who see them. At first mistaken as parasitic plants because they grow wild on the branches of tropical trees, they were considered nearly impossible to cultivate. But in 1818, William Cattley succeeded in flowering one of the first species of the genus that would bear his name, in his “stove,” or heated greenhouse, in England. These first cattleyas, species from the cloud forests of Central and South America pollinated by particular wasps and bees drawn to their large flowers, are the classic cattleyas whose form defined the essence of tropical orchids for generations to come. Indeed, the color of their flowers became known as “orchid.”
A. A. Chadwick has grown and studied the classic cattleyas for more than sixty years, and in this book he and his son, Arthur E. Chadwick, share their knowledge and expertise with those who wish to understand and grow the large-flowered cattleyas and their hybrids. Not only is each classic Cattleya species described in fascinating detail, but its role in the ever more elaborate programs of breeding is elucidated. The hybridizing of cattleyas has resulted in a rich variety of forms and colors. All that is required to appreciate and grow cattleyas successfully is included here. Cultivation, humidity and watering, fertilizing, propagation, and diagnosing and treating problems are all detailed. This is volume is valuable for both veteran orchid enthusiasts and those who simply love these beautiful flowers.
A. A. Chadwick has been growing orchids since 1943. He is a long-time contributor of authoritative feature articles on Cattleya cultivation, hybridizing, and history to Orchids, the Journal of the American Orchid Society. Arthur E. Chadwick founded Chadwick & Son Orchids in 1989, in Powhatan, Virginia, which has grown to nearly a dozen greenhouses and two locations. He writes regularly on orchid culture for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is a frequent speaker on orchids to plant societies and garden clubs.
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