Coy Australian Orchids

Posted December 17th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, Photos

Koalas and kangaroos are well-known Australian wildlife, but many people don’t realize how many fascinating orchids are also Aussie natives. Australian Geographic showcases some of the most remarkable in “Orchids: The coy seduction.”  Natives like the Sun Orchid, Purple Enamel Orchid, Hammer Orchid, and Giant Spider Orchid are rarely seen outside the country. Check out the article’s great photo gallery with 15 pictures of these very unusual plants from Oz. It’s easy to see that Australia’s orchids are unlike any others in the world.

I’ve also added a few of Dave’s and my photos below, showing even more variety in the Australian orchid family tree. Some of these, like the Phal, Dendrobium, and Sarcochilus, are commonly grown outside the country. Each one has its own magical beauty.

Phaius tankervilleae, orchid species native to Australia, grown at Kawamoto Orchid Nursery, Honolulu, HawaiiPhalaenopsis amabilis, Moth Orchid, orchid species native to Australia, Pacific Orchid Expo 2010, San Francisco, CaliforniaPterostylis erecta, Greenhood, orchid species native to Australia, grown in San Francisco, California 2013

Dendrobium tetragonum, orchid species native to Australia, Pacific Orchid Expo 2012, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium striolatum, aka Dockrillia striolata, Streaked Rock Orchid, orchid species native to Australia, grown outdoors in San Francisco, California 2013Sarcochilus hartmannii, orchid species native to Australia, grown outdoors in San Francisco, California 2010

Orchid Books

Posted December 12th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Books, Botanical Gardens

Worried that a gift orchid might freeze its blooms off? Give an orchid book instead! Orchid books are full of gorgeous flowers, make great holiday presents, and don’t need water or fertilizer. Check out the five popular examples below:

Growing Windowsill Orchids
Master experts from Kew Gardens share their orchid success tips. Short but thorough, with wonderful photos and clear-cut illustrations, this is one of my favorite books for orchid beginners.

The Orchid Whisperer: Expert Secrets for Growing Beautiful Orchids
This book shares practical advice to grow like the pros, and includes lots of colorful photos.

Orchids for Every Home: The Beginner’s Guide to Growing Beautiful, Easy-Care Orchids
From renowned orchid authors Brian and Wilma Rittershausen, this book offers beautiful pictures and good info for beginners.

Orchids
This stunning coffee table book showcases orchid beauty with master photography.

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Illustrated Dictionary of Orchid Genera
One of Florida’s best known botanical gardens has put its expertise into this massive work. The book is a comprehensive reference guide to the vast orchid family, with great photos and illustrations.

How the Cymbidium Industry Came to Santa Barbara

Posted December 6th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, In the News

The next Santa Barbara International Orchid Show will recall how World War II turned the area into an orchid haven. England was the world’s leading Cymbidium grower before World War II. During the war, the UK’s valuable plants were threatened by aerial bombings and fuel shortages. To help save them, orchid enthusiasts in California purchased and imported many English Cymbidium collections. They thrived in the mild climate and relative safety of Santa Barbara. After the war, those rescued British plants became parents of American hybrids, which helped spur growth of Santa Barbara’s orchid industries.  “It turns out that as an unintended consequence of World War II, the center of the orchid world shifted to America.” Santa Barbara now grows more orchids than any other region in the USA, and is renowned for Cymbidiums. It’s home to numerous companies like the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate. Next March, the 70th Santa Barbara International Orchid Show will salute this lucky break for Southern California.

December Orchid Events

Posted November 30th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events

December may be the slowest month for shows, but you can still find orchid events around the world. Many groups have holiday orchid auctions, so check with your local orchid society for info.

December 5 – 6
Orchid and Exotic Plant Fair, Stephward Estate, 17 Peter Rd., Uvongo, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
December 5 – 7
Iwitahi Weekend, Sika Lodge, Iwitahi Native Orchid Reserve, Clements Mill Rd., Waikato, New Zealand
December 5 – 7
Festival Nacional de Orquideas de Itu, Espaco Fabrica Sao Luiz, Rua Paula Souza, 492, Centro, Itu, Sao Paulo, Brazil
December 5 – 7
Exposicao Nacional de Orquideas de Londrina, Salao da Sociedade Sao Vicente de Paulo, Av. Madre Leonia Milito, 499 – Centro, Londrina, Parana, Brazil
December 6
Acadian Orchid Society Show, Hotel Acadiana, 1801 West Pinhook Rd., Lafayette, Louisiana
December 6
North of England Orchid Society Monthly Meeting & Show, Community Hall, Manchester Rd., Rixton with Glazebrook, Cheshire, UK
December 6 – 7
Orchid, Garden & Gourmet Food Festival, Bonnet House, 900 N. Birch Rd., Fort Lauderdale, Florida
December 13
Christmas Orchid Festival & Craft Fair, Writhlington School, Knobsbury Ln., Writhlington, Radstock, Somerset, UK
December 17
Golden Gate Cymbidium Society Holiday Orchid Auction & Potluck Dinner, Lakeside Garden Center, Lake Merritt, 666 Bellevue Dr., Oakland, California

Giant Hyacinth Orchid

Posted November 26th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Dormancy, Fertilizing, Growing, Photos, Watering

With dense clusters of little purple blooms, this looks like a hyacinth. On closer inspection, however, each flower reveals itself as a tiny, perfect orchid. Known as the Giant Hyacinth Orchid, this has been a very reliable bloomer in our garden, opening in late autumn and continuing for several months into winter.

Arpophyllum giganteum, orchid species flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaArpophyllum giganteum, orchid species flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaArpophyllum giganteum, orchid species with small purple flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

This year’s incredible bloom consists of 30 spikes, each with many dozens of small flowers spiraling upward. I keep this plant outdoors all year. Since our move from San Francisco to Pacifica last winter, it lives in windier and more exposed conditions, but it seems to have adapted pretty well. It did suffer some sunburned leaves during a few hot days in October, when I should have moved it into shade. Despite the damaged leaves, it’s still putting on this great show.

Arpophyllum giganteum, Giant Hyacinth Orchid, orchid species with small purple flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaArpophyllum giganteum, orchid species with small purple flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaArpophyllum giganteum, Giant Hyacinth Orchid, orchid species with small purple flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Giant Hyacinth Orchids are native to cloud forests from southern Mexico through Central America, and down into Venezuela and Colombia. To grow them, give some full sun, regular water, fertilizer, high humidity, and winter dormancy. They can tolerate a wide range of temps, but need cool nights to bloom. Our local Anna’s Hummingbirds love the flowers, and pollinate many of them. The Giant Hyacinth Orchid offers spectacular color for our winter garden.

Close up photo of Arpophyllum giganteum, Giant Hyacinth Orchid, orchid species with small purple flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaClose up of Arpophyllum giganteum, Giant Hyacinth Orchid, orchid species with small purple flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaArpophyllum giganteum, Giant Hyacinth Orchid, orchid species with small purple flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Rainforest Alliance

Posted November 21st, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation

The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity, encourage sustainability, halt deforestation, and stop environmental destruction.  With programs in over 100 countries, the Rainforest Alliance takes the approach “that the health of the land is inextricably connected to the wellbeing of those who depend on it for their livelihoods.” To these ends, the group fights climate change, promotes responsible eco-tourism, trains farmers in sustainable practices, and much more. Founded in 1987, and based in New York City, the group may be best known for “Rainforest Alliance Certified” products. These items feature their familiar green frog logo to show they have been harvested in a way to protect biodiversity, and also to protect the rights of local peoples.

By championing rainforests, the group saves the orchids growing within them. To help the Rainforest Alliance in their work, join their community, or make a donation. As a non-profit organization, donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Ghost Orchid Time-Lapse

Posted November 15th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Fragrant Orchids, Videos, Warm Growers

Enjoy these two short, time-lapse videos featuring the blooms of rare Ghost Orchids. It’s easy to see why these flowers inspire so much fascination and intrigue.  In the first video, a small flower spike emerges from the roots of this bizarre, leafless orchid species. The growing spike unfurls a perfect Ghost Orchid flower, revealed in full profile. The second video shows a different flower unfurl over 2½ days. Both of these clips are courtesy of Jay Staton Photography.

More Orchids from Foster Botanical Garden

Posted November 10th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos, Warm Growers

I’ve already sung the praises of Honolulu’s Foster Botanical Garden on this blog. In addition to posts about Foster’s orchids, including the biggest orchid in the world, and giant Grammatophyllums, here’s another post with more of Dave’s great photos. For readers who are already feeling winter’s chill, I hope these tropical beauties in sunny Hawaii will inspire warm thoughts.

 Miltonia flower, yellow with white and purple flower lip, Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiCymbidium flowers hanging on pendant flower spike, red, white, and yellow flowers, Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiOncidium hybrid, light yellow, white, and reddish brown flowers, Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, Hawaii

These warm growing orchids come in a huge variety of bright colors and fantastic shapes. Many have sweet scents, but unfortunately, no photo can convey those.

Cattleya orchid, purple flowers, Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiProsthechea orchid, white flower with purple spots and purple flower lip, Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiVanda orchid, close up of purple flower showing flower lip and column with yellow pollen, Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, Hawaii

Whether it’s Leopard Orchids with spots like a jungle cat, or Philippine Ground Orchids with vibrant hues, these floral jewels are the embodiment of tropical beauty. It’s always worth a visit to Foster Botanical Garden, even if it’s only a virtual one.

Grammatophyllum scriptum, Leopard Orchid close up showing flower lip, greenish yellow flower with reddish brown spots and stripes, Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiSpathoglottis orchid, white flower with light purple and yellow, Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiSpathoglottis orchid, yellow and pink flower, Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, Hawaii

The Dracula Orchid Reserve

Posted November 4th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, Cool Growers, In the News

Dracula orchids may have a haunting side, but these fascinating Masdevallia relatives need your help. Newly discovered Dracula species in Ecuador are threatened by deforestation. Conservation groups are attempting to create a new nature sanctuary in northwestern Ecuador, to be named the Dracula Orchid Reserve. Rainforest Trust and Fundación EcoMinga want to save part of the Chocó region, whose coastal rainforest is considered to be one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. “The Chocó is the richest area,” said Rainforest Trust CEO Paul Salaman. “It’s possible that this small reserve of just 650 acres [263 hectares] could hold five percent of all the orchids on Earth.” Many other rare plants, birds, and endangered creatures like the Spectacled Bear also make their homes in this incredible jungle.

You can help Rainforest Trust with donations, which are tax deductible as allowed by law. They even accept Bitcoin donations. Read more about the proposed Dracula Orchid Reserve at the Epoch Times.

November Orchid Shows

Posted October 31st, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

Orchid shows abound in every corner of the planet. All of these events offer great opportunities to enjoy wonderful blooms, take pictures, talk to experts, and buy plants for your orchid collection.

November 1
Orchid Society of Great Britain Autumn Show, Wraysbury Village Hall, The Green, Wraysbury, Staines, UK
November 1
Jamaica Orchid Society Meeting & Awards Judging, Jamaica Horticultural Society Building, JHS Showgrounds, Gibson Dr., Hope Pastures, Kingston 6, Jamaica
November 1 – 2
Santa Cruz Orchid Society Show & Sale, Soquel High School, 401 Old San Jose Rd., Soquel, California
November 1 – 2
Kansas Orchid Society Fall Show & Sale, Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, 701 Amidon St., Wichita, Kansas
November 1 – 2
Utah Orchid Society Fall Show, Red Butte Gardens, 303 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, Utah
November 1 – 2
Essex County Orchid Society Show & Sale, Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens, 1550 Road 3 E. Ruthven, Kingsville, Ontario, Canada
November 1 – 2
North Shore Orchid Society Show, St. Anne’s Hall, Beach & Glencoe Rds., Browns Bay, New Zealand
November 1 – 2
North Moreton Queensland Orchid Council Show, Brisbane Botanic Gardens Auditorium, Mt. Coot-Tha Rd., Toowong, Queensland, Australia
November 1 – 2
Stawell Orchid Society Summer Show, Centenary Hall, Main St., Halls Gap, Victoria, Australia
November 1 – 2
Tweed District Orchid Society Show, Tweed Diamond Jubilee Spectacular, Brett St., Tweed Heads South, NSW, Australia

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