By Craig Parsons
This Dendrobium nobile, unfortunately unnamed, was transferred from a pot to a 30cm basket about 2002. It was hung in a whitey wood (mahoe) tree under a Norfolk Island pine in 2003.
We moved from Forrester Dr to Bayvista Close, also in Welcome Bay, in 2007 and brought the orchid with us.
We had a Queensland frangipani tree growing in the southwest corner of the section and removed the top of the tree at about 3-4m and stapled the basket to the tree at 2m. It was covered by some foliage and not exposed to the prevailing southwest wind. A Japanese weeping maple was planted 1.5m from the tree.
The frangipani tree was cut down to above the basket as it had grown around the wire and the tree was threatening to push the retaining wall out so the basket is now attached to a tree stump.
The maple has subsequently grown to cover the front of the orchid. The shelter hedges at the back and side also grew but were kept at 2m high.
This year the orchid has produced 350+ flowers. The photo above is taken from inside the maple tree, and shows only a small number of the flowers. The plant is 1.5m wide and 1m deep.
The plant is infrequently watered by me so mostly it’s watered by rain and if I remember I’ll throw some food on and occasionally foliar feed it when I’m doing the others.
We used to throw our banana skins on it, but now I use a high-potassium fertiliser I got from Bill Liddy [of Napier]. Sorry to say that now the plant is out of sight it mostly gets forgotten about.
The Dendrobium nobile orchid is native to the highlands of Southeast Asia and the Himalayas. The plants are semi-deciduous, meaning they lose some of their leaves during their growing or flowering periods. They produce a profusion of blooms right along the canes in the winter or early spring and can remain in flower for up to two months. Don’t remove old canes as the plants can, and will, reflower along these.