66th Pacific Orchid Expo Is Coming This Weekend

Posted February 20th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos

Phragmipedium schlimii, Lady Slipper orchid species flower, Phrag, Pacific Orchid and Garden Exposition 2017, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMasdevallia MacInnes Golden Heart 'Isis', orchid hybrid flower, pleurothallid, Pacific Orchid and Garden Exposition 2017, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhragmipedium Jason Fischer, Lady Slipper orchid hybrid flower, Phrag, Pacific Orchid and Garden Exposition 2017, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Orchid display table, Pacific Orchid and Garden Exposition 2017, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaLycaste orchid hybrid flowers, Pacific Orchid and Garden Exposition 2017, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaOrchid display table, Pacific Orchid and Garden Exposition 2017, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California
The 66th Pacific Orchid Expo takes place this weekend in San Francisco, February 23rd – 25th. This year’s theme is “Curiouser and Curiouser, Orchids in Wonderland.” It’s one of the largest orchid shows in the world, and features tens of thousands of orchids, as well as other fascinating plants. It’s truly a wonderful sight, and these photos from last year are just a drop in the bucket of what to expect. Buy advance tickets online for a discount. Don’t miss it!

Maxillaria elatior, orchid species flowers, Pacific Orchid and Garden Exposition 2017, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaOrchid display table, Pacific Orchid and Garden Exposition 2017, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis OX Prince 'Tri-Lips', orchid hybrid flowers, Phal, Moth Orchid, peloric orchid, Pacific Orchid and Garden Exposition 2017, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Vriesea bromeliad with variegated leaves, Pacific Orchid and Garden Exposition 2017, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaAnsellia africana var. alba, orchid species flowers, Phrag, Pacific Orchid and Garden Exposition 2017, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMiniature nepenthes pitcher plant, carnivorous plant, Pacific Orchid and Garden Exposition 2017, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Orchid Photo of the Week

Posted February 17th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Misc

The American Orchid Society (AOS) invites orchid lovers to submit their digital photos as candidates for the Orchid Photo of the Week. One picture is selected each week to feature on the AOS homepage. Photos must be posted to the AOS Flickr group (it’s free to open a Flickr account if you don’t already have one.) Submissions should include a short text description of the orchid or the photography process. Even if you’re not a shutterbug, definitely check out the Flickr page to enjoy lots of stunning floral beauty.

Valentine Orchid Care

Posted February 13th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Growing, Photos

Phalaenopsis hybrid flowers, Moth Orchid, Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CalforniaPhalaenopsis Brother Sara Gold 'A05724', Moth Orchid hybrid flower, Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CalforniaPhalaenopsis Tai Lin Redangel, Moth Orchid hybrid flowers, Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, Calfornia

Now that you have a beautiful Valentine orchid, what do you do with it? Don’t panic! Most orchids don’t deserve their difficult reputations. A few care tips can help you keep your orchid happy.

Identify your orchidMoth Orchids, like the three in the row of photos above, are the most popular. Lady Slippers are shown in the second row of photos. Oncidiums, or Dancing Lady Orchids, are in the third row of photos, and Cattleyas are in the last row. They all come in many colors, sizes, and patterns, so use these pictures as general guidelines, not strict standards. Find more pictures and more tips to help identify orchids here.

Lady Slipper orchid flower, Paphiopedilum, Paph, Pacific Orchid Expo 2011, San Francisco, CalforniaPaphiopedilum Evan Thomas, Lady Slipper hybrid, orchid flower, Paph, Pacific Orchid Expo 2012, San Francisco, CalforniaPhragmipedium Noirmont, Lady Slipper hybrid, orchid flower, Phrag, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, Calfornia

Add humidity – Orchids need humidity, or water vapor, in the air. Dry air wilts flowers and attracts pests. To raise humidity, group plants together, or put plants in a humid area like a bathroom or kitchen. Use a cool mist humidifier, or a spray mister. Place flowerpots on a layer of pebbles in trays of shallow water, always keeping the water level below the bottom of the pots.

Add water – Remove wrapping paper or decorative containers, at least temporarily, if they block drainage holes. Soak the plant with room-temperature water, and then let all excess drain out. Don’t block drainage or let the flowerpot sit in water for too long, or roots may rot.

Oncidium orchid flower, Dancing Lady Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2008, San Francisco, CalforniaOncidium Sharry Baby, flowers with chocolate fragrance, hybrid orchid flowers, Dancing Lady Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2012, San Francisco, CalforniaTrichocentrum bicallosum, orchid species flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, Calfornia

Add light – Place your orchid in bright light, but keep out of full sun while you’re enjoying the flowers. Many varieties will eventually need some sun to rebloom.

In a vase – Provide orchids the same care as other cut flowers. Place in lukewarm water, and keep the vase out of direct sun. Change the water every couple of days. High humidity will help the blooms last longer.

Cattleya Temple Bells 'Shapely', hybrid orchid flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CalforniaCattleya hybrid orchid flower, Kawamoto Orchid Nursery, Honolulu, HawaiiCattleya hybrid orchid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2017, San Francisco, Calfornia

The Orchid I Want For Valentine’s Day

Posted February 11th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Misc, Photos

At AboutOrchids, we love all types of orchids, but some really stand above the rest. For example, the stunning Lady Slipper ornament pictured below is a priceless antique, full of gold, diamonds, and rubies. If it weren’t locked up in a museum, it could be a great Valentine’s Day gift.

Hair ornament in the shape of a Lady Slipper orchid flower; made in Belgium, 1905-7, by Art Nouveau jeweller Philippe Wolfers; made from gold, plique-a-jour enamel, diamonds, and rubies; displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
Dave spotted this beauty at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum when he had some free time after a recent work trip. It’s a remarkable hair ornament in the shape of a Lady Slipper bloom, made in Belgium between 1905-7 by Art Nouveau jeweler Philippe Wolfers. The piece is considered an exceptional example of a difficult enameling technique called plique-à-jour, which creates a translucent effect. The Art Nouveau movement was fascinated by exotic flowers, and orchids are frequently found as artistic subjects.

Of course, this one isn’t for sale, so here are tips for buying Valentine’s Day orchids which aren’t made from precious gems. They’ll certainly be much more affordable.

And More Winter Orchid Exhibits

Posted February 8th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

Check out these orchid exhibits for great Valentine’s Day activities or as warm respites from winter. Find previous listings here and here.

February 8 – March 5
Mille et une orchidées (1001 Orchids) offers an escape from a chilly Paris winter at the Jardin des Plantes. Enjoy spectacular flowers among lush greenery in heated glasshouses.

February 10 – March 25
The Chicago Botanic Garden presents Asia in Bloom: The Orchid Show. Check out Orchids After Hours on Thursday evenings, and weekend plants sales at the Orchid Marketplace.

February 10 – April 1
Leave winter behind at Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Orchid Daze. Thousands of blooms will fill the Fuqua Orchid Center for the exhibition.

February 16 – March 24
Find inspiration at The Orchid & Poetry Show at Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City. The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory will contain exhibits inspired by poems.

Winter Blooms in Our Garden

Posted February 5th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos

Laelia anceps, orchid species flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaZygopetalum BG White 'Stonehurst', orchid hybrid flower, Zygo, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaPurple Epidendrum orchid flowers, flowers with juniper and blue sky in background, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Cymbidium orchid hybrid flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flowers, water drops on flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flowers and flower bud, yellow flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

The Northern California coast is already a beautiful place, but winter orchid blooms make it even better. The plants in these photos are reliable performers in our garden every year. We grow lots of Cymbidiums, which do very well in our climate. And so do some other orchid varieties, like cool-growing Zygos, Epidendrums, Laelias, and the Giant Hyacinth Orchid.

Zygopetalum BG White 'Stonehurst', orchid hybrid flowers, Zygo, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaArpophyllum giganteum, Giant Hyacinth Orchid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaLaelia anceps, orchid species flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Cymbidium orchid hybrid flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flowers, large Cymbidium flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Of course, being outdoor plants, some of the blooms are battered by the elements. Many of these flowers last for months, even with strong ocean storms and winds. This year, we’ve had a few storms, but otherwise have been unusually warm, dry, and windy. It’s been those drying winds which the orchids don’t like, and which damage the flowers. With the forecast predicting more warm days approaching 80°F (27°C,) I’m watering the orchids more this winter than I did during our cool, foggy summer. That backwards schedule is likely another sign of climate change. On the coast, right next to the cool Northern Pacific Ocean, it’s a strangely warm winter.

February Orchid Shows

Posted January 31st, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

Orchid shows are great places to enjoy incredible flowers, take photos, talk to experts, and buy orchids. Many events are perfectly timed for Valentine’s Day. Two of the world’s biggest shows happen this month in Tokyo and San Francisco.

February 1 – 4
Festival de Orquídeas, Plaza del Caribe, Ponce Bypass, Ponce, Puerto Rico
February 1 – 4
Exposición Nacional de Orquídeas, Salón Social José Mariano Arzú Castillo, 3a. Av. 17-16, Finca El Zapote, Zona 2, Guatemala City, Guatemala
February 2 – 4
Susquehanna Orchid Society Show & Sale, Milton and Catherine Hershey Conservatory, Hershey Gardens, 170 Hotel Rd., Hershey, Pennsylvania
February 2 – 4
Salon d’Orchidées, Salle Vergèze-Espace, Vergèze, France
February 2 – 4
Neu-Ulmer Orchideentage, Edwin-Scharff-Haus, Silcherstr. 40, Neu-Ulm, Germany
February 3 – 4
Madison Orchid Growers Guild Show & Sale, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, 3330 Atwood Ave., Madison, Wisconsin
February 3 – 4
Venice Area Orchid Society Show & Sale, Venice Community Center, 326 S. Nokomis Ave., Venice, Florida
February 3 – 4
Orchid Society of Greater St. Louis, Missouri Botanical Garden, Beaumont Room, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri
February 8 – 10
Maui Orchid Society Valentine’s Show, Maui Mall, 70 East Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului, Maui, Hawaii
February 8 – 11
Deep Cut Orchid Society Show & Sale, Dearborn Market, 2170 Route 35 S., Holmdel, New Jersey

Read the rest of this post »

More Winter Orchid Exhibits

Posted January 26th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

These extended orchid exhibits offer warm oases in the winter cold. They’re well-timed for Valentine’s Day, too. Find the previous listings here.

January 27 – March 11
Celebrate Orchid Mania at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. And don’t miss the botanically-inspired fashion show created by Kent State University Fashion School.

February 2 – March 11
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina presents Art & Orchids 2018. The Orchid Conservatory will be complemented with Egyptian plants, and two dozen garden-themed Egyptian tapestries will also be on display.

February 10 – March 11
RBG Kew’s Orchids Festival will celebrate Thailand’s orchids in London. Highlights of the display in the Princess of Wales Conservatory include an elaborate orchid palace and handcrafted Thai umbrellas.

February 10 – March 11
Orchids 2018 offers orchid species in warm glasshouses at Cambridge University Botanic Garden in England. Enjoy the lunchtime guided tours on Wednesdays, and explore orchids after dark in Twilight!

AboutOrchids Is 10 Years Old Today!

Posted January 20th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Misc, Photos

Brilliant yellow Masdevallia orchid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2009, San Francisco, California

AboutOrchids is 10 years old today! As we approach 900 posts over a decade, it’s easy to look back and see how the blog (and I) have grown. When somebody asks how I still come up with new posts after all these years, the answer is that I’m still learning, too. And the more I learn, the more I understand that orchids are perennially fascinating. It may be the latest hybrid trend, or the discovery of new species, but there’s always more about orchids. With hundreds of thousands of different varieties, they are an endless topic.

You can probably hear my enthusiasm still going strong, but it can also be a lot of work. A decade ago, when blogs were still cool, I had no idea if AboutOrchids would outlast the trend. Along the way, Dave and I have learned more, and taken more photos, than we ever could have imagined. I’m thrilled when readers tell me that the website has helped them, or that AboutOrchids has given them enough orchid care basics to advance to other areas, like hybridizing or showing orchids. And supporting conservation must be an integral part of our love for these remarkable flowers.

So even if the website is desperately overdue for a revamp, I plan to still keep going with the blog. I can’t imagine a day when I’m ever done learning about orchids. Thanks to all AboutOrchids’ readers for being along for the ride.

Save the Flying Duck Orchid!

Posted January 17th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation

The Botanic Gardens of South Australia are asking for donations to help save the Flying Duck Orchid. You may have seen its bizarre flower, which truly looks like a flying duck. Unfortunately, like many other fascinating Australian species, it’s endangered by habitat destruction and invasive species. Over 40% of South Australia’s orchids are threatened with extinction. The goal is to create a seed bank to protect 20 native orchid species, including the Flying Duck, with the future aim of reinforcing wild populations. Their donations page can accept contributions from outside Australia, too.