Cyp bed construction

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Abgeschickt von Lukas Hunziker am 21 Oktober, 2006 um 09:03:27

Dear Cypripedium enthusiasts,

I would like to share the construction of my raised Cypripedium bed with you which I constructed in 2003. I had up to now no problems to cultivate severel Cyp. species like tibeticum, flavum, japonicum, formosanum, henryi, parviflorum, pubescens, kentuckiense, macranthos, calceolus, x ventricosum, reginae, and severel Hybrids in this bed. Most of them haven’t fowered up to now, because I raise them from seedling. I try to cultivate in the future also fasciolatum, farreri, candidum, debile, calcicolum, montanum, yunnanense and wardii in this bed. This bed has an extreme variant of a drainage, but the garden earth around the hole contains more than 90% clay…

First step: Location

I have chosen a site under a Koelreuteria paniculata as the right situation. It is windy, not too hot and has direct morning sun up to 10 am in the summer.

Second step: Dig a hole

I dug as deep as 50cm in the ground, that I can make a good drainage. The “wall” on the left side is made of limestone from the area where I live in Switzerland. You can see in the bottom of the picture that the water does not run through the ground freely. Therefore I made a really sharp drainage.

Third step: Drainage

This 30cm thick drainage is made of small, broken stones in german called “Splitt”. The advantage of this material is, that the roots can grow through, but it does not hold neither water nor nutriens but contains a lot of air. Especially the Cyp. flavum like this material, when I lifted it up, it had roots of 100cm length to both sides of the shoots! On the right hand side you can see a different drainage made of sand. This is because there grows later Cyp. japonicum and Cyp. formosanum. These two are making long creeping rhizomes, which should not lay in the drainage or even deeper. Last week I lifted the Cyp. japonicum and it layed very well about 5 - 7 cm below the surface.

Forth step: Growing medium

First I made a 10 cm basic growing mix containing 80% Agro-Perlite and 20% garden earth. Only the part where the Cyp. japonicum grows I filled with 20% limeless, low pH ground from a Picea abies forest. This basic compost should be the cheap layer in between of the drainage and the growing medium. Afterwards comes a layer of 10 cm primary growing mix which contains 50% Agro-Perlite, 30% Seramis, 10% organic material, 10% garden ground (or fir ground by Cyp. japonicum). In this compost I planted all the different species and hybrids. All the different species listed above grow very well in this compost. Especially Cyp. flavum does very well, but is only 20cm tall, but I think this is just a short clone or there is enough light to stay as short as this Cyp. does. Up to now I had every year severel new shoots. First year 1, second year 3, third year 5 and for next season I counted 8 buds.

Fifth step: planting

This is the first season after planting. In the sunny bottom of the picture are the bulbous plants like Crocus, Eranthis, Tulipa, Narcissus, Colchicum and Dactylorhiza. Around the Cyps there are: Primula elatior, Lilium hansonii, Lilium martagon, Cyclamen purpurascens, Cyclamen hederifolium, Cyclamen coum, Dodecatheon maedia, Leucojum vernum, Jeffersonia dubia, Hepatica nobilis, Arisaema sikokianum, Arisaema consanguineum, Asplenium viride, Hosta minor, Astilbe glaberrima var. saxatilis, Geranium nodosum, Helleborus niger, Bletilla striata, Epipactis palustris.

Sixt step: Protection

First of all, I have to protect my small woodland garden against slugs. But because of the stone fence, there are surprisingly few slugs. The rest is killed with chemistry. And my second big problem is my beloved cat. It loves to dig where the ground is loose. Therefore I protected every site with meshfence (Maschendrahtzaun). So the cat can’t dig there, only walk over them… Poor Cyp. debile

In the picture above you see my winter protection against the central european wet winters. So I can protect all my flavum and tibeticum successfully. It is not that much work to do this every autumn. But it helps a lot. A friend of mine has the flavum without any winter protection outside. They do well with the wet winters, but I would not risk to loose these Cyps, only because of an experiment.

Seventh step: Enjoy



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