I was eager to see the European orchids, having had some inkling of their glories from great picture books like "Hortus Eystet-tensis." There are thirty-six of them native to Great Britain. I judge that the showiest is the old original lady's slipper (Cypri-pedium Calceolus), a brown and yellow beauty that is almost extinct in Britain. Second in showiness, I suppose, is the great or fragrant orchis (Habenaria conopsea) a rosy purple flower, which is common in the wild throughout Great Britain and blooms all summer. Another famous orchid is the spotted orchis (Orchis maculata), which bears in June lilac flowers spotted with purple, while the leaves are green spotted with brown.
* Native to America.
These and many other hardy orchids may be procured from English specialists in hardy perennials and, strange as it may seem, from some of the Dutch bulb dealers who print catalogues in English. It is impossible to grow orchids under ordinary garden conditions. They will thrive only in bog or rock gardens or in moist woods. Americans should begin with American species, of which there are fifty-six, the most desirable being the showy lady's slipper (Cypripedium spectabile). To this the English give the place of honour in their bog gardens as it is undoubtedly the loveliest hardy orchid in the world.