A Tough Odont Orchid

Posted November 20th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Photos

Odontoglossum bic-ross, odont, orchid hybrid flowers, aka Rhynchostele bic-ross, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaOdontoglossum bic-ross, odont, orchid hybrid flowers, aka Rhynchostele bic-ross, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaOdontoglossum bic-ross, odont, orchid hybrid flowers, aka Rhynchostele bic-ross, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Do you think that all orchids are fussy hothouse flowers? This brilliant Odont orchid lives outdoors all year long on the chilly Northern California coast. Despite heavy rains, strong winds, hail, heatwaves, and mischievous raccoons, it’s a very reliable bloomer.

Odontoglossum bic-ross, odont, orchid hybrid flowers, close up of flower lip, aka Rhynchostele bic-ross, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaOdontoglossum bic-ross, odont, orchid hybrid flower, side view of flower, aka Rhynchostele bic-ross, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaOdontoglossum bic-ross, odont, orchid hybrid flowers, aka Rhynchostele bic-ross, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

These flowers look delicate, but they can last three months through winter. This hybrid is Odontoglossum Bic-ross, its name abbreviated from its parent species, Odont. bictoniense and Odont. rossii. Both types survive over 9800 feet (3000 m) elevation in the Andes, so it’s easy to understand why this colorful hybrid is tough, too.

Odontoglossum bic-ross, odont, orchid hybrid flower, back view of flower, aka Rhynchostele bic-ross, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaOdontoglossum bic-ross, odont, orchid hybrid flower, aka Rhynchostele bic-ross, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaOdontoglossum bic-ross, odont, orchid hybrid flowers, aka Rhynchostele bic-ross, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Both of the parent species have been renamed as Rhynchosteles, so that would change the hybrid name also. But I’m still using my old, original nametag, Odontoglossum Bic-ross, for this tough little Odont.

Diversity As Natural Pesticide

Posted November 13th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: General Gardening, In the News, Problems

Scientists have published a study in Nature that explains why plant diversity discourages insect pests. Damaging insects love monocultures, large areas planted with a single crop, because they conveniently concentrate nutrients in one place. Diverse plantings have less of what they like, so bugs need to work harder in search of food. As a result, they’re less likely to visit and hang around.

While this research is about farming and not about houseplants, orchid growers may find this complements other natural, non-toxic remedies, like carnivorous plants and beneficial insects. Grow a broad variety of plants instead of a single kind. For example, add some plant diversity to a lawn to battle pests, rather than pouring on toxic insecticides. To learn more, find the full study at Nature.com (requires a subscription.)

And More from the Conservatory of Flowers

Posted November 6th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos

Phalaenopsis violacea var. coerulea HP, orchid species flower, Phal, Moth Orchid, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne pandurata, orchid species flowers, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis equestris var. blue, orchid species flower, Phal, Moth Orchid, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers is so packed with remarkable plants that there’s always more to explore. I’ve already done a few posts about our recent visit, but I still have photos to share. There are plenty more orchids, from brilliant Moth Orchids to bizarre Bulbophyllums.

Bulbophyllum grandiflorum, orchid species flower, weird flower, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaStanhopea tigrina, orchid species flower, weird flower, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaStanhopea tigrina, orchid species flower, weird flower, close up of flower lip, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Pleurothallis orchid species flower, weird flower, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium orchid flowers, fragrant flowers, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaOncidium orchid flower, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Although they aren’t orchids, the strange Bat Flower in the next three photos is a great tropical bloom. We’ve seen them at botanical gardens, but often the flowers are past their prime. It’s also challenging to take decent photos of a big, weird, complex blossom. But this time we got good pictures of a fresh flower. I think it looks more like cat whiskers than a bat. What do you see in this fascinating bloom?

Tacca chantrieri, Bat Flower, large weird tropical flower, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaTacca chantrieri, Bat Flower, large weird tropical flower, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaTacca chantrieri, Bat Flower, large weird tropical flower, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

November Orchid Shows

Posted November 1st, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

With events in every corner of the earth, it’s easy to celebrate orchids. From Santa Barbara to Lisbon, this month features plenty of shows to choose from.

November 3 – 5
Massachusetts Orchid Society Show & Sale, Mahoney’s Garden Center, 242 Cambridge St., Winchester, Massachusetts
November 3 – 5
Feria de Orquídeas, Parque Botánico Orquidario, Calle Terraza 86, Estepona, Málaga, Spain
November 3 – 5
Exposição de Orquídeas, Ginásio Angelino Oliveri, Pires do Rio, Goiás, Brazil
November 4
Wraysbury Orchid Show, Wraysbury Village Hall, The Green, Wraysbury, Staines, UK
November 4 – 5
Deerfield Beach Orchid Society Show & Sale, Emma Lou Olson Civic Center, 1801 NE 6th St., Pompano Beach, Florida
November 4 – 5
Kansas Orchid Society Fall Show & Sale, Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, 701 Amidon St., Wichita, Kansas
November 4 – 5
Fort Worth Orchid Society Show & Sale, Oak and Redbull Hall, Ft. Worth Botanic Garden Center, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd., Ft. Worth, Texas
November 4 – 5
Utah Orchid Society Fall Show, Red Butte Garden, 303 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, Utah
November 4 – 5
Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City Show, Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, Missouri
November 4 – 5
Northwest Orchid Society Fall Show & Sale, Swansons Nursery, 9701 15th Ave. NW, Seattle, Washington

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Great Website for Orchid Species

Posted October 28th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Growing, Misc

Everyone interested in orchid species should know about the Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia. I’ve mentioned this website in passing before, but it truly deserves its own post. Remarkably, this site lists 22,000 out of 28,000 orchid species! That’s almost 80% of all known orchids, with more continually added. There’s no other resource I know of that comes close. It’s been a labor of love for Jay Pfahl, a hobbyist who created the site 20 years ago. He and other volunteers constantly add new listings, make name changes, and continually revise and update. For orchid species growers like myself, it’s often the only place with light, temperature, and native habitat info for obscure varieties.

Novices may find it challenging to navigate the immense site. I go to the alphabetical species page, and then use the “Find” feature (Ctrl+F) on my Windows computer to search the orchid name. The homepage includes essential info, like the symbol keys for light, temperature, fragrance, and blooming season. There’s a thorough botanical glossary for scientific terms. Even if you skip the scientific parts, this website has so much fascinating and helpful info. You’ll never look at orchids the same way again after exploring the Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia.

A Tiny But Stubborn Stelis Orchid

Posted October 22nd, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Growing, Mini Orchids, Photos

In all the years I’ve been doing this blog, this tiny Stelis orchid has not bloomed — until now! It had flowered in past years, but not since 2006. I don’t know what’s made it so happy, but it now boasts eight flower spikes, despite some hot and dry weather. Dave and I were finally able to take good photos.

Stelis orchid species flower, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaStelis orchid species flower, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaStelis orchid species flowers and flower buds, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Stelis orchid species flower, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaStelis orchid species flowers, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaStelis orchid species flowers, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Stelis is a large genus of pleurothallids. These Masdevallia relatives range from Florida to Argentina, centered in the cloud forests of the Andes. There are hundreds of different species, many tough to tell apart. On this plant, the tiny triangular blooms are about ¼ inch (6 mm) tall. Despite their eye-straining size, all the requisite orchid flower parts are there. It’s easier to appreciate them with the help of a camera zoom, especially the small white hairs which fringe each flower.

Stelis orchid species flowers and flower buds, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaStelis orchid species flowers and flower buds, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaStelis orchid species flower, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Stelis orchid species flowers, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaStelis orchid species flowers, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaStelis orchid species flowers, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

This plants lives outdoors in the fog all year. It receives daily watering, and a small amount of direct sun. Some Stelis varieties only open their flowers in full sun, but mine has kept them open for a couple weeks regardless of the weather. Even with these photos, it will be tough to figure out which Stelis species I have. But I can still enjoy the cute blossoms on this stubborn little orchid.

New Orchids Discovered in Madagascar

Posted October 16th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Fragrant Orchids, In the News, QuickPost

Madagascar is the home of so many fascinating plants and animals, and scientists have discovered even more orchids. Ten new Cynorkis species have been found in a remote area of northern Madagascar, including one with a champagne fragrance. Check out the story and great photos at The English Garden.

The Dracula Ball

Posted October 9th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, Cool Growers, Events, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos

Want to go to a fantastic party and help orchids at the same time? Enjoy the Dracula Ball: Gala under Glass on October 19th at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. This fundraiser celebrates Draculas — not the Transylvanian kind, but the Latin American orchids with the same name. Tickets start at $75 for the event, which highlights “the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and tactile beauty of rainforests.” It’s for a great cause, supporting the Conservatory’s Highland Tropics Gallery with its important collection of rare, cool-growing orchid species. The three Draculas in the pictures below are prime examples of the Conservatory’s crucial work, and include the famous Dracula vampira in the first photo. Celebrate the blooms on October 19th, and help rare orchids at the Dracula Ball.

Dracula vampira, orchid species flower, pleurothallid, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDracula astuta, orchid species flower, pleurothallid, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDracula orchid flower, pleurothallid, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Our Garden Blooms

Posted October 6th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Photos

Cymbidium hybrid orchid flowers, growing outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaLimonium flowers, growing outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCalifornia poppy flower, Eschscholzia californica, California native species, growing outdoors in Pacifica, California

With warm days lately, we’re enjoying lots of flowers. Orchids and other greenery keep our front and back yards full of color and buzzing with local wildlife. Cymbidiums, Epidendrums, and Masdevallias are such reliable bloomers here that they rarely take a break. Poppies, nasturtiums, and bromeliads add to the show. Even though we don’t have a lot of garden space, the wide variety of plants brings in a range of visitors. All manner of birds and bugs arrive daily, including hummingbirds, honeybees, and butterflies.

Epidendrum flowers, reed stem epidendrum orchid, growing outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaAloe striata, succulent leaves with water drops, growing outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia chaparensis, pleurothallid, orchid species flowers, growing outdoors in Pacifica, California

Nasturtium flowers, orange and red flowers, growing outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium hybrid orchid flowers, growing outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaBillbergia bromeliad flowers, growing outdoors in Pacifica, California

October Orchid Shows

Posted October 1st, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

From Honolulu to Helsinki, from Louisville to Lima, orchid lovers gather to discuss, photograph, judge, and buy orchids. Don’t miss these great events around the globe.

October 1
Waikato Orchid Society Spring Show, Hamilton Gardens, Cobham Dr., Hamilton, New Zealand
October 1
Hastings River Orchid Society Show, Wauchope RSL Club, Wauchope, NSW, Australia
October 1 – 2
Riverland Orchid Society Show, Loxton Agricultural and Horticultural Society Show, Bookpurnong Terrace Showgrounds, Loxton, South Australia, Australia
October 2 – 6
Congreso Peruano de Orquideología, Recreo Valentín, Jirón San Carlos, Moyobamba, Peru
October 4 – 15
Big Fresno Fair Orchid Show, Fresno Fairgrounds, Floriculture Building, 2011 S Chance Ave., Fresno, California
October 5 – 8
Maui Fair Orchid Land, War Memorial Gymnasium, 700 Halia Nakoa St., Wailuku, Hawaii
October 6 – 7
Bay of Islands Orchid Society Spring Show, Turner Centre, 43 Cobham Rd., Kerikeri, New Zealand
October 6 – 8
Southern Orchid Spectacular, Caringbah High School, 85 Willarong Rd., Caringbah, NSW, Australia
October 6 – 8
Bendigo Orchid Club Show, Wes Vine Hall, Truscott Reserve, Murdock St., California Gully, Victoria, Australia
October 6 – 8
Gippsland Orchid Club Show, Mid Valley Shopping Centre, Princess Hwy., Morwell, Victoria, Australia

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