Orchids at the Center of Cloud Forest Conservation in Ecuador

Posted November 17th, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, In the News

Tune in to In Defense of Plants for an orchid conservation success story. Lou Jost has worked to protect cloud forests in orchid-rich Ecuador for decades, and has helped to create seven nature reserves. The reserves are essential habitats for many endangered plants and animals, including fascinating pleurothallid orchids, like Masdevallias, Draculas, and Stelis. If you’re inspired to help his efforts, you can donate to the Orchid Conservation Alliance and Fundación EcoMinga. Funds are needed for daily operations, maintenance, security, and to buy more land for reserves.

Singapore’s Supertrees Are Full of Orchids

Posted November 12th, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos, Warm Growers

Supertrees, Supertree Grove, vertical gardens, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, SingaporeSupertree, Supertree photo taken from Skyway raised pedestrian walkway, vertical gardens, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, SingaporeVanda hybrid orchid flowers growing on a Supertree, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, Singapore

Ionopsis orchid flowers growing on a Supertree, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, SingaporeCattleya orchid hybrid flowers growing on a Supertree, red and orange flowers, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, SingaporeClose-up of bromeliad fern and orchid plants growing on a Supertree, vertical gardens, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, Singapore

The island nation of Singapore has a grove of trees unlike any others in the world, the Supertrees. These tall, human-made structures are covered with air plants, or epiphytes, like orchids, bromeliads, and ferns. They’re superb examples of how to incorporate orchids into vertical gardens. Planting beds around the bases of the Supertrees also feature lots of orchids, including some impressively large specimens.

Supertrees lit in different colors at night, Supertree Grove, vertical gardens, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, SingaporeRenanthera orchid flowers growing at the base of a Supertree, red flowers, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, SingaporeGrammatophyllum orchid flowers blooming on a Supertree, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, Singapore

Vanda hybrid orchid flowers growing on a Supertree, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, SingaporeVanda orchid flowers blooming at the base of a Supertree, orchid flowers and leaves, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, SingaporeOrchid bromeliads and ferns growing on a Supertree, looking up at a Supertree from ground level, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, Singapore
Varieties on display include tropical beauties like Vandas, Renantheras, Cattleyas, Grammatophyllums, Dendrobiums, and even Vanilla vines. The Supertrees range in height from 82 ft. (25 m) to 164 ft. (50 m.) There are 18 of them within the Gardens by the Bay nature park, each covered with thousands of plants around concrete and steel cores. In addition to their green space, the Supertrees provide shade, hold solar cells to run their lights, collect rainwater, and serve as air intake and exhaust systems for the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest conservatories. A raised pedestrian path connects them and offers panoramic views. The colorful displays continue at night with brilliant light shows. Don’t miss these unique, orchid-laden trees if you’re in Singapore.

Supertrees and raised pedestrian Skyway, Supertree Grove, vertical gardens, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, SingaporeCymbidium orchid flowers blooming on a Supertree, yellow flowers, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, SingaporeCattleya orchid hybrid flowers growing at the base of a Supertree, Gardens by the Bay Nature Park, Singapore

Dragon Discovery: The Dracula Smaug Orchid

Posted November 6th, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, In the News, Videos

RBG Kew reports on Dracula smaug, a newly discovered orchid. This orchid isn’t named after the vampire legend; “Dracula” means “little dragon” in Latin, and “Smaug” is the name of the fire-breathing dragon from JRR Tolkien’s classic, The Hobbit. The species was discovered in cloud forests of northwestern Ecuador, near the Colombian border. Even though this Masdevallia relative with strange orange flowers has been given a fearsome name, it’s no danger to anyone. In fact, humans are a danger to it, since habitat destruction and removal of wild plants threaten it and many other species in this rich jungle.

Don’t miss the video below from the same article, offering a brief glimpse into Kew’s Tropical Orchid Nursery. There are extraordinary orchids from the Colombian cloud forest, including other types of Draculas.

November Orchid Events

Posted November 1st, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

People love orchids all over the planet, evidenced by these long, monthly lists of events. Don’t miss these chances to enjoy lots of stunning blooms.

November 1 – 2
Nambour Orchid Society Species Show, Uniting Church Hall, Coronation Ave., Nambour, Queensland, Australia
November 1 – 2
Sapphire Coast Orchid Club Native Show, Twyford Hall, Market St., Merimbula, NSW, Australia
November 1 – 3
Expo Orquídea, Ex Hacienda de Temixco Parque Acuático, México 95 km 85, Centro, Temixco, Morelos, Mexico
November 1 – 3
Orchideen und Wein, Autalhalle, Niedernhausen, Germany
November 2
Wraysbury Orchid Show, Wraysbury Village Hall, The Green, Wraysbury, Staines, UK
November 2
Hawke’s Bay Orchid Society Sarcochilus Show, Taradale Town Hall, 8 Meeanee Rd., Napier, New Zealand
November 2 – 3
Kansas Orchid Society Fall Show & Sale, Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, 701 Amidon St., Wichita, Kansas
November 2 – 3
Utah Orchid Society Show, Red Butte Gardens, 303 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, Utah
November 2 – 3
North Shore Orchid Society Sarcochilus & Other Orchids Show, St. Anne’s Hall, 756 Beach Rd., Browns Bay, New Zealand
November 2 – 3
North Moreton Orchid Council Summer Show, Brisbane Botanic Gardens Auditorium, Mt. Coot-Tha Rd., Toowong, Queensland, Australia

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It’s Always Springtime in Singapore’s Flower Dome

Posted October 27th, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

Dendrobium orchid flower, antelope Dendrobium with twisted petals like horns, Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeVanda orchid flower, Aranda hybrid, Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeMasses of Moth Orchid flowers, Phals, Phalaenopsis hybrids, Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, Singapore

Nighttime view of Supertrees lit with blue lights, Flower Dome Conservatory, & Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeTrees, flowers, and pathway in Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeRed flowers, Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, Singapore

Dave’s work schedule only permitted him a couple days to play tourist in Singapore, but he really saw a lot. He was able to enjoy the stunning Singapore Botanic Gardens, including the National Orchid Garden. He also toured the Cloud Forest Conservatory. In addition to all that, he took lots of photos in the Flower Dome, an enormous greenhouse next to the Cloud Forest Conservatory. One of the pictures above shows a nighttime view of the Flower Dome on the left and Cloud Forest on the right, with the Supertrees lit in blue. They all help make Singapore a “City in a Garden.”

Dahlia flower, Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeCactus, Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeSmall succulent plants, Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, Singapore

Trees and pathway in Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeClematis flower and buds, fuchsia flowers, Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporePink flowers with silver leaves, Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, Singapore

The Flower Dome is all about blooms. It features nine different gardens which showcase plants from around the globe, emphasizing cool, arid climates. The Flower Field display in the middle includes lots of great tropical orchids. There are also cacti, succulents, trees, and much more.  The Flower Dome is the largest columnless glasshouse in the world. The building is designed to be energy efficient and collect rainwater. Water recirculates to keep the temperature cool, and create an oasis of perpetual springtime.

Trees in the Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporePlant with curly leaves, Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeTrees and other plants, flowers, pathway with people, Flower Dome Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, Singapore

Edmond Albius: The Boy Who Revolutionized the Vanilla Industry

Posted October 20th, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Fragrant Orchids, In the News, Misc, Warm Growers

The modern vanilla industry owes its existence to a young enslaved African, Edmond Albius. Vanilla vines had been imported from Mexican jungles to the tiny French colony of Réunion, in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. But without their Mexican bee pollinators, nobody could figure out how to produce vanilla beans. In 1841, Edmond Albius, then an enslaved 12 year old, figured it out. He adapted a method for hand-pollinating watermelon plants to work for vanilla orchid flowers. The plantation where he was enslaved sent him around the island to teach others. By the late 1800’s, Réunion was producing more vanilla beans than all of Mexico. Sadly, Albius never shared in the wealth he brought to this little island.

In 1848, France finally freed its enslaved population. The 19 year old Albius did menial work, and found a job in a kitchen, but was jailed after a crime. Fortunately, some prominent officials intervened on his behalf, citing his important discovery, and he was released early. He continued his life in poverty, dying at 51 in 1880. Over the years, several have tried to discredit him, but there’s much evidence to prove that it was young Albius who found the solution. The French established successful vanilla plantations in their tropical colonies. Madagascar, a former French colony, now produces most of the world’s vanilla beans. Albius’ ingenuity helped make vanilla an essential ingredient in modern foods and fragrances.

The Many Orchids of Singapore’s Cloud Forest Conservatory

Posted October 16th, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

Lueddemannia striata x Acineta superba, orchid hybrid flower, Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeMasdevallia orchid flowers, Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporePhragmipedium Hanne Popow, Lady Slipper orchid hybrid flower, Phrag, Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, Singapore

Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeWaterfall inside the Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeRed and orange cattleya orchids, and yellow oncidium orchids, Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, Singapore

Singapore’s Cloud Forest Conservatory is a great place for orchids. It houses large displays of orchid species and hybrids, along with ferns, carnivorous plants, and other tropical greenery. The enormous glasshouse replicates a cloud forest, which is a high mountain forest bathed in constant mist and cool temperatures. Some of these varieties, like Masdevallias, Odonts, and Zygos, are the same ones that we can grow outdoors on the foggy Northern California coast.

Zygopetalum orchid flower, zygo, purple green and white flower, Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeInside the Cloud Forest Conservatory greenhouse, green wall, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeRossioglossum orchid flowers, large yellow brown and white flowers, Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, Singapore

Oncidium flowers, orchid flowers, Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeOncidium cirrhosum, AKA Odontoglossum cirrhosum, odont, orchid species flower, Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeInside the Cloud Forest Conservatory greenhouse, green wall and pedestrian walkway, Gardens by the Bay nature park, Singapore

Conservatory visitors can marvel at lots of exotic blooms, lush growth, green walls, and a towering indoor waterfall. Elevated walkways feature this indoor jungle from higher vantage points. The conservatory is part of Singapore’s enormous Gardens by the Bay nature park. I’ll have photos from the adjacent glasshouse, the Flower Dome, in a future post. I’ll have more of Dave’s pictures from the Cloud Forest Conservatory, too, so check back again soon. Enjoy orchids from the Singapore Botanic Gardens and National Orchid Garden in my earlier posts.

Dichaea orchid flower and leaves, Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeMiltoniopsis orchids, Pansy Orchids, Cloud Forest Conservatory, Gardens by the Bay nature park, SingaporeInside the Cloud Forest Conservatory greenhouse, panoramic photo of green wall and elevated pedestrian walkway, Gardens by the Bay nature park, Singapore

Experience the Orchids of Asia in Sarasota, Florida

Posted October 11th, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events, QuickPost

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida begins its exhibit “The Orchid Show 2019: Blossoms of Asia” tomorrow. The event runs from Saturday, October 12th to Sunday, December 1st, and features Asian orchids. It also includes information about orchids’ roles in Asian cultures, arts, and philosophies. Numerous lectures and classes will take place through the end of December.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens Are World Class

Posted October 6th, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, General Gardening, Photos

Arundina graminifolia, Bamboo Orchid, orchid species flower, Singapore Botanic Gardens, UNESCO World Heritage SiteSpathoglottis orchid flower, Ground Orchid, Singapore Botanic Gardens, UNESCO World Heritage SiteSpathoglottis orchid flowers, Ground Orchid, bright yellow flowers, Singapore Botanic Gardens, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Heliconia flowers, large red and yellow flower, Lobster Claw flower, False Bird-of-Paradise flower, Singapore Botanic Gardens, UNESCO World Heritage SiteWaterfall with tropical plants, Singapore Botanic Gardens, UNESCO World Heritage SiteHeliconia flowers, Lobster Claw flower, red and yellow flowers, False Bird-of-Paradise flower, Singapore Botanic Gardens, UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) is one of the most popular gardens in the world. Founded in 1859, it’s played a pivotal role in Singapore’s orchid industry, but there’s more than orchids in its 203 acres (82 hectares.) This tropical paradise is home to the National Orchid Garden, and also a Ginger Garden, Children’s Garden, Fragrant Garden, Evolution Garden, Ethnobotany Garden, a real tropical rainforest, several restaurants, and much more.

Waterfall with tropical plants, Singapore Botanic Gardens, UNESCO World Heritage SitePurple flowers, Singapore Botanic Gardens, UNESCO World Heritage SiteBandstand Gazebo

Evolution GardenTropical palm treesBonsai trees, Singapore Botanic Gardens, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Dave’s pictures from last month’s visit reveal just a tiny fraction of the garden’s lush grandeur. The SBG is also a major center for plant science, conservation, and education. In 2015, Singapore was proud to have the gardens declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of only three botanical gardens to receive the honor. With over 10,000 plant species on display, and millions of visitors annually, the SBG is certainly a world-class institution. Check back here soon for more photos from Dave’s Singapore trip.

October Orchid Events

Posted October 1st, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

From Honolulu to Helsinki, from Buenos Aires to Bologna, orchid lovers gather for shows, auctions, and conferences this month. The USA, New Zealand, and Australia have busy schedules. Check the list below to make sure you don’t miss any of these great events near you.

October 2 – 13
Big Fresno Fair Orchid Show, Fresno Fairgrounds, Floriculture Building, 2011 S Chance Ave., Fresno, California
October 3 – 6
Maui Fair Orchidland, War Memorial Gymnasium, 700 Halia Nakoa St., Wailuku, Hawaii
October 3 – 6
Orquídeas en el Arte, Novotel Buenos Aires, Av. Corrientes 1334, Buenos Aires, Argentina
October 4 – 5
Bay of Islands Orchid Society Spring Show, Turner Centre, 43 Cobham Rd., Kerikeri, New Zealand
October 4 – 6
Devonport Orchid Society Spring Show, Maidstone Park Hall, Spreyton, Tasmania, Australia
October 4 – 6
Gippsland Orchid Society Winter Show, Mid-Valley Shopping Centre, Princes Highway, Morwell, Victoria, Australia
October 4 – 6
Bendigo Orchid Club Spring Show, Wes Vine Hall, Truscott Reserve, Murdock St., California Gully, Victoria, Australia
October 4 – 6
Exposition et Vente d’Orchidées, Abayye de Fontfroide, Rd 613, Narbonne, France
October 4 – 6
Exposición Nacional de Orquídeas, Torre BOD, La Castellana, Caracas, Venezuela
October 4 – 6
Exposição de Orquídeas e Bromélias de Alagoas, IBAMA, Av. Fernandes Lima 4023, Gruta de Lourdes, Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil

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