I have discovered that it is easier to photograph a small(er) orchid than one with 14 open flower spikes. Possibly because this particular Cymbidium is a about 5 feet (1.5m) wide — the same as my photography backdrop. With size, however, comes considerable beauty.
This particular bloom of Cymbidium Enzan Forest ‘Majolica’ was conveniently timed for Thanksgiving week, and she provided an impressive “floral arrangement,” stationed on its own table. Ditto for Christmas: full bloom and still pristine. This year’s flowering is by far the best we have seen for this orchid, even though it was repotted just six months earlier.
I believe that timing contributed to flower quality. We had a warm, dry early autumn, punctuated by a few cold spells. The flowers developed without any freezes, but consistent nights just above freezing to bring out more red coloration (anthocyanin pigmentation is a cold defense).
Other years, this orchid has flowered in January … as well as in late spring. A very curious mixture of flowering times (November, January, April). I am not sure how much the timing results from the complex genetics of the hybrid or the strong variability in seasonal temperature cues that we are experiencing in recent years in California.
As mentioned above, temperature also affects the coloration of the flowers, more so in this particular Cymbidium than almost any other that I can remember; much more similar to the variability in the amount of red coloration seen year by year in our Dendrobium Avril’s Gold. With colder temperatures, flowers are suffused with with a blush coloration. For the January bloom of Cymbidium Enzan Forest, the entire margin of the petals and sepals was a dark red, with pronounced lines as well.