Jewel Orchids

Posted July 22nd, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Growing, Mini Orchids, Photos, Watering

Is anything more opulent than a Jewel Orchid? These mini terrestrials are treasured for their striking foliage, which boasts beautiful vein patterns on satiny leaves. The first row of photos below shows Ludisias, the easiest and most commonly grown Jewel Orchids. They’re usually seen with dark purple leaves and bright pink stripes, but there are other dazzling color variations, also.

Ludisia discolor, orchid species with variegated leaves, Jewel Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2010, San Francisco, CaliforniaLudisia discolor var. alba, orchid species with variegated leaves, Jewel Orchid, grown indoors in San Francisco, CaliforniaLudisia discolor var. nigrescens, orchid species with variegated leaves, Jewel Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2012, San Francisco, California

Along with Ludisias, Jewel Orchid varieties include Macodes, Goodyeras, and Anoectochilus. Some kinds need special growing conditions, and are difficult or impossible to keep in cultivation. All need constant high humidity, which can be the most challenging aspect of their care. Give them bright light, but no full sun, and regular water. Many are warm growing tropicals, and do well in the moist air of terrariums. However, some Goodyera species are native to cold climates in North America, Scandinavia, Japan, or the Himalayas. There are an increasing number of hybrids on the market, and these are easier to grow than the species.

Macodes petola, orchid species with variegated leaves, Jewel Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2007, San Francisco, CaliforniaGoodyera daibeniense, orchid species with variegated leaves, Jewel Orchid, Oakland Orchid Show 2010, CaliforniaMacodes lowii, orchid species with variegated leaves, Jewel Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2011, San Francisco, California

Jewel Orchid varieties, orchids with variegated leaves, Orchids in the Park 2012, San Francisco, CaliforniaGoodyera hispida, orchid species with variegated leaves, Jewel Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2012, San Francisco, CaliforniaAnoectochilus chapaensis, orchid species with variegated leaves, Orchids in the Park 2013, San Francisco, California

Jewel Orchids hold their small flowers high above their patterned leaves. Some are fragrant, but it’s that stunning foliage which always steals the show. There are other orchids with variegated or marbled leaves, like some Paphs and Oncidiums, but the term Jewel Orchid is properly used only for this family of mini terrestrials with tiny flowers. They’re fascinating gems of the orchid world.

Jewel Orchid, orchid with variegated leaves, Pacific Orchid Expo 2006, San Francisco, CaliforniaAnoectochilus lanceolatus, orchid species with variegated leaves, Orchids in the Park 2016, San Francisco, CaliforniaMacodes sanderiana, Jewel Orchid leaf close up, Pacific Orchid Expo 2012, San Francisco, California

Enjoy Orchids in the Park This Weekend

Posted July 19th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events, Growing Orchids in San Francisco

San Francisco’s summer orchid show happens this weekend in Golden Gate Park. Orchids in the Park runs from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday in the SF County Fair Building at 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way. These photos from last year’s event should provide plenty of incentive to put it on your calendar.

Vanda Charm, Darwinara Charm, orchid hybrid flower, Orchids in the Park 2016, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaOncidium Fan Dancer, orchid hybrid flower, Orchids in the Park 2016, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaHabenaria medusa, orchid species flowers, Orchids in the Park 2016, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Phalaenopsis Harlequin 'Diamond', Moth Orchid hybrid flower, Orchids in the Park 2016, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCalanthe orchid flower buds, Orchids in the Park 2016, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCleisocentron gokusingii, miniature orchid species with light blue flowers, Orchids in the Park 2016, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

This is the smaller of San Francisco’s two annual orchid shows, but it’s certainly just as amazing as the big winter one. With lots of blooms on display, over 20 vendors, orchid care demos, and raffles, Orchids in the Park is always an extraordinary event. It’s possible to purchase tickets in advance online, or at the door. Check back here soon for our photos from this year’s show.

Masdevallia orchid flower, Orchids in the Park 2016, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaEpidendrum pugioniforme, close up of orchid species flower, Orchids in the Park 2016, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaAnguloa dubia, Tulip Orchid, side view of orchid species flower, Orchids in the Park 2016, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Zygopetalum flower, Zygo, Orchids in the Park 2016, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium cuthbertsonii, miniature orchid species flowers and leaves, Orchids in the Park 2016, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium orchid flowers, Orchids in the Park 2016, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Singapore’s Orchid Extravaganza

Posted July 15th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

When little Singapore throws an Orchid Extravaganza, it goes big. This year’s event is running until August 20th at the Flower Dome, which is the largest glasshouse in the world. Over 10,000 orchids are on display, with Moth Orchids, Vandas, Dendrobiums, Tiger Orchids, and many more varieties.  Learn more about the exhibit from The Straits Times.

Beginners Guide to British Orchids

Posted July 9th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Misc

What’s the difference between a Fen Orchid and a Bog Orchid? Best to consult A Beginner’s Vegetative Guide to the Orchids of the British Isles. This great, free resource from London’s Natural History Museum is expertly written, with beautiful illustrations and clear-cut explanations for botanical concepts. The guide focuses on identifying species by their leaves, so that orchid lovers can tell them apart even when they’re not in bloom. Helpful graphics, detailed descriptions, and numerous photos will have novices distinguishing a Bee Orchid from a Fly Orchid in no time.

Blooming in Our Garden

Posted July 5th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Fragrant Orchids, General Gardening, Photos

Masdevallia Swallow and Scaphosepalum verrucosum, pleurothallid orchids, growing outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaNasturtium flower, Tropaeolum, growing outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium hybrid orchid in bloom, growing outdoors in Pacifica, California

Despite wind, fog, bugs, raccoons, and other gardening obstacles, our backyard in Pacifica is full of blooms for the start of summer. There’s lots of lush growth from our drought-busting winter. Even orchids that like a dry winter dormancy didn’t seem to mind the heavy rains, like the purple Zygo and white Dendrobium in the next two photos below. By the way, those same two orchids have powerful, sweet fragrances which are my favorite scents in the garden.

Zygopetalum BG White 'Stonehurst', Zygo orchid hybrid flower, growing outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaDendrobium x delicatum, orchid hybrid flowers, growing outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaViolet growing among Cymbidium orchid leaves, growing outdoors in Pacifica, California

Pink_Clover, Polygonum capitatum, ground cover with small pink flowers and red variegated leaves, growing outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaNasturtium flowers and leaves, Tropaeolum, growing outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaEpidendrum x obrienianum, orchid hybrid flowers, growing outdoors in Pacifica, California

Among the non-orchids in bloom, nasturtiums have happily taken over parts of our yard, each a sunnier color than the last. Pink Clover has spread from nearby flowerpots to sprout out of cracks in the concrete patio. And I normally pull out any weeds growing in my orchid pots, but my biggest Cymbidium is hosting a few volunteer violets for now. I don’t know where they arrived from, but they’re my kind of weeds. Check back soon for more of our garden blooms.

July Orchid Shows

Posted June 30th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

The show schedule may slow for the Northern Hemisphere this month, but Australia and Brazil have busy calendars. Whether it’s Rio, Brisbane, or Baton Rouge, don’t miss these great chances to enjoy amazing orchids.

July 1
Writhlington School Orchid Festival, Writhlington School, Knobsbury Ln., Radstock, Somerset, UK
July 1 – 2
Illawarra & District Orchid Society Winter Show, Senior Citizens Hall, Benaud Crescent, Warilla, NSW, Australia
July 4 – 7
Newcastle Orchid Society Show, Stockland Jesmond, Blue Gum Rd., Jesmond, NSW, Australia
July 7 – 8
Eurobodalla Orchid Club Winter Show, CWA Hall, Queen St., Moruya, NSW, Australia
July 7 – 9
Caboolture Orchid Society Show, Morayfield Community Centre, Morayfield Rd., Morayfield, Queensland, Australia
July 7 – 9
Exposição Orquídeas no Museu, Museu da República, Rua do Catete, 153, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
July 7 – 9
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas de Araraquara, Shopping Lupo, Rua Gonçalves Dias, 543, Araraquara, São Paulo, Brazil
July 7 – 9
D.O.G.-Sommertreff mit Länderwettbewerb Ungarn-Österreich-Deutschland, Gärtnerei Cramer, Zum Steiner 11, Bischofswiesen, Germany
July 8
North of England Orchid Society Monthly Meeting & Show, Barton Village Hall, Barton, Lancashire, UK
July 8 – 9
Baton Rouge Orchid Society Show & Sale, LSU Burden Museum and Gardens, 4560 Essen Ln., Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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Cymbidium Society of America

Posted June 26th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers

The Cymbidium Society of America (CSA) began in 1946 to further the growth of Cymbidiums and other cool growing orchids. The group has branches throughout California, and one each in Hawaii and New Zealand. It also has members around the world who enjoy helpful online orchid tips and the quarterly CSA Journal. Activities include shows, auctions, and an annual Cymbidium Congress, with expert speakers and a banquet. And despite the name, they’re not only about Cymbidiums. Many other orchid varieties which enjoy the same care, such as cool growing Paphs, are included as well. Visit the CSA website for more info, or to become a member.

Solstice Colors

Posted June 20th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos

Maxillaria tenuifolia, Coconut Orchid, orchid species flower, grown indoors in San Francisco, CaliforniaAda aurantiaca, aka Brassia aurantiaca, orchid species flowers, grown outdoors in San Francisco, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M Wayne Miller' AM/AOS, orchid species flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

To celebrate today’s solstice, enjoy this rainbow of orchids. Depending on which hemisphere you’re in, it’s the summer solstice or the winter solstice, the longest day or the shortest day. The seasons, and the cycles of life, march on everywhere.

Papiopedilum venustum var. album, Lady Slipper, orchid species flower, grown indoors in San Francisco, CaliforniaVanda coerulea v. compacta, orchid species flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaSobralia macrantha, orchid species flower, grown outdoors in San Francisco, California

Florida’s Million Orchid Project Is Growing

Posted June 17th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, In the News, Warm Growers

The Million Orchid Project continues to return rare native plants to Florida’s cities. While earlier efforts have focused on Miami-Dade County, volunteers recently attached 250 endangered species to trees, or planted them in the ground, in Boynton Beach, making them the first in Palm Beach County. This ambitious experiment is based on a wildly successful project underway for many years in Singapore. South Florida’s attempt is being led by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, and hopes to create thriving populations of rare, native orchid species. Learn more from earlier posts about The Million Orchid Project, and An Orchid Revival in South Florida.

Canada Has Lots of Lady Slippers

Posted June 10th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, Cool Growers, In the News

The Ram’s Head Lady Slipper is very rare. Typically, this small orchid species grows in isolated patches with only a few dozen plants. Cypripedium arietinum is native to alvar forests in the northeastern USA, the Great Lakes region, and from Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan. Recently, an Ontario quarry, wanting to expand, hired field ecologist Dan Brunton for an environmental study of the area. To everybody’s astonishment, he discovered a field with hundreds of thousands of Ram’s Head Lady Slippers. And he now estimates that there could be a half million plants in the area! Fortunately, the quarry owners have agreed to set aside 64 acres (26 hectares) of land to protect these and other rare species. That should help Canada continue to have lots of Lady Slippers.