Book of the Month for Apr 2015

Hardy Cypripedium Species, Hybrids and Cultivation, Werner Frosch and Phillip Cribb; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (March 15, 2013), 156 pages, hardcover; publishers price: $74.00, Amazon price: $58.83

Hardy Cypripedium Species, Hybrids and Cultivation
Hardy Cypripedium Book Cover
Reviewer: 
Alan Galloway

I can’t think of any other shade perennial that garners more attention than the regal lady slipper orchid when in bloom.   Even its genus, Cypripedium, refers to the mythological Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite.  But with its beauty and rarity, comes the associated stories of how difficult this genus can be in the garden.  This book displays the phenomenal color combinations of almost every known species as well as many of the new hybrids now becoming available to the gardener.  And the cultivation information will certainly increase the success of growing hardy Cypripediums both in the garden and in pot culture!

Not only is Hardy Cypripedium Species, hybrids and cultivation dedicated to the sole genus of Cypripedium, it focuses only on the cold hardy species.  The authors, Werner Frosch, a renowned Cypripedium hybridizer, and Phillip Cribb, a native orchid specialist have put together a superb treatment of the hardy lady slipper orchids.  It is filled with stunning photographs of the known species, as well as the natural and artificial hybrids.  Each species also includes a distribution map and information on its habitat.  Each of the hybrids pictured includes its parentage.

The first few pages are dedicated to the history, morphology, and ecology of Cypripedium.  This section also discusses the conservation of the genus, focusing on the reasons for their rarity and actions being taken to protect them.  The last section provides information on the cultivation of Cypripedium, whether in pots or in the garden, and how to deal with pests and diseases.  The information presented here should dispel the stories of how difficult Cypripedium orchids can be.

Whether you are a gardener, botanist, or just a plant enthusiast, this is THE book for hardy Cypripediums!  Even home interior designers will be thrilled to have this for the coffee table!

 

Alan Galloway has been gardening in Raleigh, North Carolina for the past 30 years, specializing in shade and woodland plants.  For the past 15 years he has focused on the terrestrial orchids, especially those cold hardy in USDA zone 7.