3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 Subscribe to Sussex Life today click here

The flamboyant flower displays on offer at McBean’s Orchids in Cooksbridge

PUBLISHED: 15:20 10 March 2014 | UPDATED: 15:20 10 March 2014

Jim Durrant in the display garden. Photo by Leigh Clapp

Jim Durrant in the display garden. Photo by Leigh Clapp

Archant

Orchids stir a passion in many people, but whether you are a real enthusiast or would just like to have their exotic beauty close by as a house plant while it’s still wintry outside, there is a dazzling array of plants to choose from.

Variegated showy Oncostele 'Margarete Holm'. Photo by Leigh ClappVariegated showy Oncostele 'Margarete Holm'. Photo by Leigh Clapp

Long associated with love and beauty, they may be the perfect Valentine’s or Mothering Sunday gift.

Award-winning McBean’s Orchids in Cooksbridge always has orchids for sale and February is a great time to visit. You can browse the shop or display show house. On special open weekends in February, March and April you can even take a tour of this working nursery and learn more from the experts about growing these exotic plants. Established in 1879 by James Ure McBean, and only one of three nurseries to have shown at every RHS Chelsea Show, you are in good hands.

Originally the nursery grew a variety of imported plants and by chance an orchid was discovered amongst the ferns. Albert, James’ son, developed a great passion for orchids, which led to the nursery’s recognition as a leader in growing orchids. From the inception hybridisation was the focus, with early experiments of growing from seed having a mortality rate of around 99 per cent. By the 1930s it was decided that cymbidiums would be popular as cut flowers, which led to a concentration on these hardy orchids. As the nursery grew and breeding techniques improved with sterile agar, the stock greatly increased. “Over the years McBean’s has bred thousands of different varieties of orchids, registered hundreds and has received hundreds of awards for its plants and for its exhibits. Interestingly we now send some to their origin countries to stop people collecting in the wild,” comments nursery manager, Jim Durrant who has been with the nursery since 1971 and whose interest is in the scientific end of horticulture.

The nursery attracts a total cross section of visitors, from enthusiasts and hobbyists to someone just wanting a single pot plant. There are benches brimming with snowy white Phalaenopsis, massed blooming Cymbidiums, frilly-edged Onicidium and delicate stems of Dendrobiums; just to mention a few of the options available. Colours sing out with astringent limes and golds, rich crimsons, candy pinks and the purest whites. “There is a trend to make the plants smaller but with larger flowers,” adds Jim. After admiring the array for sale take a wander through the Growing House garden where hundreds of orchids are displayed amongst tropical foliage, rocks, waterfalls and pools, to gain an insight into how orchids grow in the wild.

***

To know

McBean’s Orchids, Cooksbridge, Lewes, BN8 4PR;

Orchid shop open Tuesday to Sunday (10-4). Exotic Show House open Wed to Sun and Bank Holiday Monday (10-4) Adm. £2.50. Open Weekend dates (10-4) 22 and 23 February, 15 and 16 March, 26 and 27 April

-------------------------------------------------------------

Plant of the month - Crocus tommasinianus

Early or snow crocus

Naturalises to form carpets of mauve and white blooms alive with bumble bees

Dwarf perennial, grows from corms

Narrow grassy leaves

Easy to grow, hardy

Full sun to part shade

Well-drained light soil

Gritty, poor to moderately fertile soil

Grows in drifts, borders, rockeries or in grass

Divide April to May

Seeds freely and multiplies quickly below ground

0 comments

More from Homes & Gardens

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A leading property agent is going back to his roots after a 32-year career by joining one of the UK’s foremost property search companies covering Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex East Sussex and Kent.

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

Bearing links to some of the county’s famous smugglers, Alfriston is a small village with a lot of history – including an impressive ‘cathedral’

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Thursday, August 23, 2018

As well as being practical, tiles can add class, colour and style to your home. With such spectacular choice, you might feel like a kid in a sweet shop, so many delicious options. Luxury bathroom, kitchen and tile experts Sussex Plumbing Supplies (SPS) have selected the top tile styles and tips to help you make the right choice for your space.

Read more
Monday, August 20, 2018

Head to these South Downs villages for a chance to experience modern amenities and stunning, picturesque views

Read more
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Fantastic rail links, picturesque views and community spirit make this small Sussex village an ideal place to call home

Read more
Sunday, July 1, 2018

Residential property company heylo recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging its commitment to fair treatment and support to the Armed Forces community, including regulars, reserves, veterans and their families. The signing took place in a ceremony held at Wellington Barracks

Read more
Monday, June 25, 2018

Community lies at the very heart of this Sussex parish, which was once home to Rudyard Kipling

Read more
Friday, June 1, 2018

The bathroom is one of the most heavily used rooms in the house yet in most cases it is one of the smallest. The growing popularity of en suites, plus the need for additional downstairs WCs, mean that space-saving solutions are increasingly in demand

Read more
Monday, May 21, 2018

Despite its rural location, the South Downs market town of Midhurst is alive with community spirit

Read more
Monday, April 30, 2018

When planning a large bathroom the choice and options can feel as daunting as it does exciting. At Sussex Plumbing Supplies, our bathroom design experts take the headache out of the design stages, letting you enjoy the experience If you can’t make it to an SPS showroom, fear not as we have compiled trend and design advice here to inspire your big bathroom planning. We could say they’re the 7 Wonders of the Bathroom World but that might be taking it too far…

Read more
Monday, April 30, 2018

So you’ve finally made the decision that it’s time to replace your bathroom. Maybe your existing suite is the colour of coral with a basin shaped like a seashell or you just want to treat yourself after that huge bonus! Whatever the reason, here are six top tips for creating your dream bathroom

Read more
Monday, April 23, 2018

From historic beginnings to life as a popular seaside resort, Bexhill has a lot to offer. Rebecca MacNaughton finds out more

Read more
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Following the success from last year’s St Michael’s Hospice Open Gardens, which raised over £36,000, they have now launched their 2018 season

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory


Job search in your local area



Property Search