The Kew Gardener’s Guide to Growing Orchids

Philip Seaton. White Lion, $18 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-0-7112-4280-7
This excellent, informative guide from Seaton (Growing Windowsill Orchids), former editor of the Orchid Review, takes a deep plunge into everything orchid, celebrating the plant’s “spectacular diversity,” with its over 26,000 species, and focusing primarily on the more common varieties. Despite a reputation for being difficult, orchids are hardier “than the average houseplant” and “survive better on a little benign neglect” than most, Seaton writes. In the book’s first part, he gives a brief history of orchids before providing growing instructions for homes, greenhouses, and gardens, with recommendations about light exposure, humidity, soil, and propagation. The second part covers specific varieties such as the tulip orchid and the vampire orchid (Seaton wonders, “Who can resist growing such an exotically named orchid?”), illustrated by botanical drawings and photographs, with notes on flowering time, spread and height, and variety-specific tips (such as setting beer traps for the snails and slugs drawn to the “strongly perfumed flowers”). Interspersed throughout are project ideas, such as growing orchids in baskets, mounting them on bark, and using them in corsages and terrariums. Educating both the novice and expert orchid-fancier (without overwhelming the first or boring the latter), Seaton’s infectiously enthusiastic handbook does a wonderful job of illuminating these captivating horticultural beauties. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 11/25/2019
Release date: 01/01/2020
Genre: Lifestyle
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