I don't think you could get two plants more different and although both are thriving in the glasshouses at RHS Wisley, one has a reputation for being tough and hardy and the other much more delicate. I think that contrast is part of the attraction and while I have had success with my succulents, or rather they've felt quite at home in my conservatory which isn't a patch on the glasshouses here, either in size or temperature I'm afraid I've had very little success with orchids, which is a shame as I'd very much like to succeed at those.
We were at Wisley to see the butterflies - they were fab and I managed to get some great shots - but while we were there we had a scoot around the gardens and spent more time exploring the rest of the huge glasshouses too. Did you know they cover an area equal to ten tennis courts?
I did spot some schlumbergera or Christmas cactus and they were only just coming into flower - mine now has flowers and more buds but I must say it's taking its time to flower properly! My favourite cactus was this white powdery one, there were of course the more usual cacti that we're used to seeing in cartoons, you know the sort that someone always manages to sit on...
I quite like that they grow in clumps and I prefer the smaller versions in the picture below to the larger more cartoon-like cacti. They almost look quite fluffy
Ok, I'll admit I've snuck some more tropical plants in here which aren't cacti or orchids, but I couldn't exclude the Bird of Paradise plant which was in flower, so I thought we might as well as have some of the large leafed banana-like plant below as well. I knew you wouldn't mind.
I'm no orchid expert, I just know they look so delicate and pretty with their markings that I like them. I suspect they're hardier than they look, but it seems not so hardy that they can withstand my neglect, or my conservatory. I know some are supposed to be easy to grow but I struggled, I think if I were to try them again I'd have to go for a cool-growing orchid that wouldn't mind being alongside the succulents.
Just look at the colours and markings on these pink orchids, in the second photo they almost look like exotic birds flying around, or is that just me?
As well as the gorgeous colours and markings, they often look as if they have cheeky faces. So much beauty in each flower it's amazing - and do you know I can almost smell it now.
Do you have any tips for me if I were to try another orchid?