Millions of Native Orchids Flourish at Former Mining Waste Site

Posted May 3rd, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, QuickPost

In New York’s Adirondack Mountains, millions of native orchids are flourishing near an old iron mine. The wetland area is now home to local orchids like Grass Pinks, Rose Pogonias, and Ladies’ Tresses. Since the mine closed in 1978, the site has recovered to become the perfect home for six native New York orchid species and other rare plants, too.

May Orchid Shows

Posted April 30th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

The universal appeal of orchids is obvious with so many shows around the world. Many are perfectly timed for Mother’s Day presents and celebrations. Take advantage of any shows nearby to immerse yourself in incredible flowers.

May 1
Fenland Orchid Society Show, Terrington St. Clement Village Hall, Churchgate Way. Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, UK
May 4 – 7
Boolaroo Orchid Society Show, Belmont Citi-Centre, Macquarie St., Belmont, NSW, Australia
May 5 – 7
Maui Orchid Society Mothers’ Day Show, Maui Mall, 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului, Maui, Hawaii
May 5 – 7
Hawkesbury District Orchid Show, Richmond Market Place, March St., Richmond, NSW, Australia
May 5 – 8
Orchidays, Parc du Château d’Enghien, Enghien, Belgium
May 5 – 8
Exposition Internationale d’Orchidées, Salle du Pont de Pierre, Rue Henri Durre, Wallers, France
May 5 – 8
Five Dock RSL Orchid Society Show, Leichhardt Market Town, Flood St., Leichhardt, NSW, Australia
May 6 – 8
Zululand Orchid Society Autumn Show, Boardwalk Inkwazi Shopping Centre, Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
May 6 – 8
East Rand Orchid Society Autumn Show, Edenvale Community Centre, Edenvale, Gauteng, South Africa
May 6 – 8
Bundaberg Orchid Society Show, Bundaberg Civic Centre, Bourbong St., Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia

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Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich

Posted April 26th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

Dave’s work travels gave him another opportunity to find orchids in Switzerland. He really hit the jackpot a couple weeks ago at the Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich. The garden houses 9000 plant species over 13 acres (5.3 hectares,) with orchids featured in three tropical greenhouses. In addition, there are Mediterranean, alpine, native meadow, and carnivorous plant sections, and much more.

Tropical Greenhouses, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandInside a Tropical Greenhouse, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandEpidendrum species, orchid with purple flowers, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, Switzerland

Phaius tankervilleae, orchid species flower, Nun's Orchid, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandMaxillaria variabilis, orchid species flower, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandDendrochilum wenzelii, orchid species flowers, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, Switzerland

It was a real treat for Dave to discover vanilla orchids in bloom. We’ve seen countless vanilla vines in glasshouses and travels to the tropics, but the flowers are much harder to find. They’re open for less than a day, and often tough to photograph, since they’re high up on the vines. He was lucky to catch the beautiful vanilla flowers in the next row of photos. With orchid blooms and much more, the Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich brings the tropics to Switzerland.

Vanilla planifolia, orchid species flower, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandVanilla planifolia, front view of orchid species flower, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandVanilla planifolia, orchid species flower, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, Switzerland

Pinalia excavata, aka Eria excavata, orchid species flowers, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandLabeled as Dendrochilum uncatum, orchid species flowers, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandUnidentified orchid flower, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, Switzerland

Gaia Amazonas

Posted April 23rd, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation

Gaia Amazonas is a remarkable Colombian conservation organization. Created to protect the biological and cultural diversity of the Amazon, Gaia Amazonas has helped return over 100,000 square miles (26 million square kilometers) of Colombian rainforest back to the control of its native peoples. That’s an area larger than the UK!  Alongside the traditional knowledge and sustainable practices of indigenous peoples, the group helps conserve huge tracts of the Amazon Rainforest, including countless orchids. Founded in 1990 by Martín von Hildebrand, Gaia Amazonas is trying to expand its amazing success into Brazil and Venezuela. You can help support the group by donating and sharing its message of empowering native peoples to care for the rainforest.

Tolumnia Orchids

Posted April 18th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Dormancy, Growing, Mini Orchids, Photos, Warm Growers, Watering

If you have a warm, sunny windowsill, and sometimes forget to water, Tolumnias may be perfect for you. These mini orchids have eye-catching colors and patterns. I bought this Tolumnia hybrid at last year’s Pacific Orchid Expo, and this year, it put on a great show with lots of brilliant blooms.

Tolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flower, Equitant Oncidium, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaTolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flowers, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaTolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flowers, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, California

Tolumnias are native to the Caribbean, and are sometimes called Equitant Oncidiums or Dancing Lady Orchids. Their small leaves require morning sun and warm temps. With thin roots, which need to dry out between waterings, they’re often grown on mounts. This allows them to dry quicker than potted plants. Provide a winter dormancy with reduced watering, but always maintain high humidity and good air movement.

Tolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flowers, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaClose-up of Tolumnia Genting Volcano flower, orchid hybrid, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaTolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flower, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, California

Tolumnias come in vivid colors, like reds, pinks, yellows, and oranges. Although the plants remain small, their flower spikes can reach up to 18 inches (46 cm,) so they do require some extra space when in bloom. Old spikes may blossom again, so don’t cut them off when they’re done. And find a little room for these floral gems on your windowsill.

Tolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flower, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaClose-up of Tolumnia Genting Volcano flower, orchid hybrid, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaTolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flowers, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, California

Orchid Conservation Alliance Tours

Posted April 13th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, Events

Would you like to have an orchid adventure in southern France? How about southwestern China? Check out these expertly guided trips from the Orchid Conservation Alliance. I’ve blogged before about their great work to preserve orchids.

The trip to France is coming up first, from April 22 – May 1. Orchid lovers will enjoy wine, food, castles, and gardens, along with the native orchids of springtime in Provence and the Périgord.

The trip to China will be June 17 – 30. It will take lucky travelers to the spectacular scenery and rich plant life of the Himalayas, home to many orchids. Both trips are expensive, but promise the adventure of an orchid lover’s lifetime.

National Bonsai and Penjing Museum

Posted April 7th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: General Gardening, Photos

Pinus parviflora 'Miyajima', Japanese White Pine, bonsai in training since 1625, bonsai and its owner survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945Row of bonsai trees on display, National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, US National Arboretum, Washington DCWrightia religiosa, Water Jasmine, inside the Tropical Glasshouse at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, US National Arboretum, Washington DC

Bonsai is the art of growing small trees in containers. Each potted tree is carefully shaped and pruned to evoke an idyllic natural scene. There’s no better place to marvel at them than the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum at the US National Arboretum in Washington DC. I was able to enjoy this spectacular little forest of bonsai trees during a recent family visit to the East Coast.

Acer buergerianum Trident Maple, bonsai trained into the shape of Chinese Dragon, National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, US National Arboretum, Washington DCBonsai trees on display on round metal stand, National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, US National Arboretum, Washington DCAcer buergerianum, Trident Maple, penjing display, National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, US National Arboretum, Washington DC

Many people already know about bonsai, but penjing is a less common term. Penjing is the ancient Chinese art of creating miniature nature scenes. This was later adapted in Japan to create bonsai. There are many different styles of both bonsai and penjing, but generally, bonsai focuses on a tree or group of trees, while penjing creates landscapes, often with trees, rocks, and other plants. Beautiful trays or shallow pots hold the displays.

Ulmus parvifolia, Chinese Elm, windswept style bonsai, National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, US National Arboretum, Washington DCFicus natalensis, Natal Fig bonsai, close up of branches wrapped with wire, inside the Tropical Glasshouse at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, US National Arboretum, Washington DCButtonwood, Conocarpus erectus, National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, US National Arboretum, Washington DC

These tiny trees need regular water, sunlight, and temperatures appropriate for each species. They fare best when grown outdoors for most or all of the year. They are only brought inside for cold winters or harsh weather, and returned to the sun and fresh air as soon as possible. Growers temporarily wire branches to create specific shapes and designs. By keeping them in small pots, and pruning their branches and roots, the trees stay dwarfed. Even though they’re small, well-grown bonsai appear large and ancient. Expert daily care can keep them alive until they’re very old. Amazingly, the very first photo in this post depicts a Japanese White Pine which started cultivation in Hiroshima in 1625! It even survived the atomic bomb dropped on that Japanese city at the end of World War II. The Japanese family which nurtured this tree for six generations gave it as a gift to the USA for 1976’s bicentennial celebrations.

Juniperus chinensis 'Femina', Chinese Juniper penjing display, National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, US National Arboretum, Washington DCRock penjing display, National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, US National Arboretum, Washington DCCattleya orchid hybrid inside the Tropical Glasshouse at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, US National Arboretum, Washington DC

Of course, I’m always looking for orchids, and I found a few among the trees in the museum’s Tropical Conservatory. The only one in bloom during my visit was the brilliant Cattleya hybrid in the final photo. There was also an enormous Bamboo Orchid, but it didn’t have any new flowers. Visit the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum — it houses a forest full of bonsai and much more! Learn about bonsai basics at BonsaiEmpire.com.

Colorful Photos of Orchids for Spring

Posted April 3rd, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, QuickPost

National Geographic offers 12 wonderful orchid photos for spring. These aren’t your everyday orchids. Instead, they’re unusual Mediterranean terrestrial species, like Helleborines, Tongue Orchids, and Elder-Flowered Orchids. Aren’t they just as stunning as their better-known, tropical relatives?

April Orchid Shows

Posted April 1st, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

April is a very busy month for orchid shows around the planet. All are great opportunities to see wondrous flowers, take photos, talk to orchid experts, and buy plants for yourself.

April 1 – 2
RHS London Orchid Show, RHS Lindley Hall & RHS Lawrence Hall, London, UK
April 1 – 3
Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society International Show & Sale, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Ave., Oaks, Pennsylvania
April 1 – 3
Heart of Dixie Orchid Society Show & Sale, Holiday Inn Research Park, 5903 University Dr., Huntsville, Alabama
April 1 – 3
Orchid Society of Alberta Fair, Enjoy Centre, 101 Riel Dr., St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
April 1 – 3
Les Journées de l‘Orchidée, Salle Polyvalente, 6 Rue Aunes, Villeneuve Sur Bellot, France
April 1 – 3
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas de Santo André, Parque Prefeito Celso Daniel, Av. Dom Pedro II, 940, Bairo Jardim, São Paulo, Brazil
April 1 – 3
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas de Franca, Ginásio Champagnat, Rua Capitão Zéca de Paula, 2000, Franca, São Paulo, Brazil
April 2
Orchideenruilbeurs Regio West-Vlaanderen, Koning Albertstraat 6, Ardooie, Belgium
April 2 – 3
Spokane Orchid Society Show & Sale, Vicki’s Garden Center, 2100 S. Inland Empire Way, Spokane, Washington
April 2 – 3
Jacksonville Orchid Society Show & Sale, Garden Club of Jacksonville, 1005 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville, Florida

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Wisley Orchids

Posted March 29th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

In Surrey, UK, RHS Garden Wisley features colorful tropical orchids for a month-long exhibit from April 2nd – May 1st. Enjoy blooming orchids in the Glasshouse, and then enjoy them from an artistic perspective. The Wisley Garden Library displays orchid portraits until May 2nd, including works by renowned botanical artist Nellie Roberts.