In the eighth house we return to Odontoglossums and cool genera. Here are a number of Hybrids of the “natural class,” upon which I should have a good deal to say if inexorable fate permitted; “natural hybrids” are plants which seem species, but, upon thoughtful examination and study, are suspected to be the offspring of kindred and neighbours. Interesting questions arise in surveying fine specimens side by side, in flower, all attributed to a cross between Odontoglossum Lindleyanum and Odontoglossum crispum Alexandrae, and all quite different. But we must get on to the ninth house, from which the tenth branches.
Here is the stove, and twilight reigns over that portion where a variety of super-tropic genera are “plumping up,” making roots, and generally reconciling themselves to a new start in life. Such dainty, delicate souls may well object to the apprenticeship. It must seem very degrading to find themselves laid out upon a bed of cinders and moss, hung up by the heels above it, and even planted therein; but if they have as much good sense as some believe, they may be aware that it is all for their good. At the end, in full sunshine, stands a little copse of Vanda teres, set as closely as their stiff branches will allow. Still we must get on. There are bits of wood hanging here so rotten that they scarcely hold together; faintest dots of green upon them assure the experienced that presently they will be draped with pendant leaves, and presently again, we hope, with blue and white and scarlet flowers of Utricularia.
From the stove opens a very long, narrow house, where cool genera are “plumping,” laid out on moss and potsherds; many of them have burst into strong growth. Pleiones are flowering freely as they lie. This farmer’s crops come to harvest faster than he can attend to them. Things beautiful and rare and costly are measured here by the yard—so many feet of this piled up on the stage, so many of the other, from all quarters of the world, waiting the leisure of these busy agriculturists. Nor can we spare them more than a glance. The next house is filled with Odontoglossums, planted out like “bedding stuff” in a nursery, awaiting their turn to be potted. They make a carpet so close, so green, that flowers are not required to charm the eye as it surveys the long perspective. The rest are occupied just now with cargoes of imported plants.
My pages are filled—to what poor purpose, seeing how they might have been used for such a theme, no one could be so conscious as I.
[Footnote 8: I was too sanguine. Vanda teres refused to thrive.]