Endangered Ghost Orchids To Grow Again In Native Florida Forests

Posted February 3rd, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, Fragrant Orchids, In the News, QuickPost, Warm Growers

Ghost Orchids are making a comeback in South Florida. These beautiful, rare, leafless orchids are being saved through intensive conservation efforts by scientists who cultivate seeds in the lab, and then return the plants to the wild.

February Orchid Shows

Posted January 31st, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

Two of the world’s largest orchid shows happen this month, in Tokyo and here in San Francisco. Many events are perfectly timed for Valentine’s Day shopping and romantic excursions.

February 4 – 7
Exposición Nacional de Orquídeas, Cerveceria Centro, Salón José Arzú Castillo, 3a. Ave 7-16, Zona 2, Guatemala City, Guatemala
February 6
Orchid Society of Great Britain Spring Show, Napier Hall, Hide Pl., Westminster, London, UK
February 6 – 7
Orchid Society of Greater St. Louis Show & Sale, Missouri Botanical Gardens, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri
February 6 – 7
Venice Area Orchid Society Show & Sale, Venice Community Center, 326 S. Nokomis Ave., Venice, Florida
February 6 – 7
Salon des Orchidées, Vergèze-Espace, 30310 Vergèze, France
February 6 – 21
Mostra delle Orchidee, Garden di Bussolengo, Via Pastrengo, 16, Bussolengo, Verona, Italy
February 7
Ocho Rios Orchid Society Show, Couples Sans Souci, St. Mary, Jamaica
February 8 – 10
Bankstown Orchid Society Show & Sale, Lidcombe Shopping Centre, 92 Parramatta Rd., Lidcombe, NSW, Australia
February 9 – 13
Orchideenschau, Shopping City Seiersberg 1-9, 8055 Seiersberg, Austria
February 10 – 12
National Orchid Festival, Nowshahr, Iran

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More Winter Orchid Exhibitions

Posted January 28th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

No matter how cold it is outside, it’ll be warm inside all of these winter orchid exhibitions. Check my earlier list for more of these events which run for weeks.

January 30 – March 6
Cleveland Botanical Garden features the sights and sounds of Cuba for Orchid Mania. Don’t miss Orchids After Dark on Wednesdays evenings when the garden stays open until 9 p.m.

February 6 – March 6
Kew Gardens in London celebrates dazzling Brazilian colors in an orchid carnival. The Princess of Wales Conservatory will highlight Brazilian orchids and other tropical plants.

February 6 – March 27
Explore “Where the Wild Things Grow” with the Missouri Botanical Garden’s historic orchid collection. Hundreds of blooming orchids will create a tropical oasis inside the Orthwein Floral Display Hall in St. Louis.

February 13 – March 13
Enjoy Wonderful & Weird orchids at the Chicago Botanic Garden. There will be thousands of orchids on display, and special orchid events, too.

Disposable Orchids

Posted January 23rd, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Buying Tips, Misc, Photos

Paphiopedilum Atlantinet, Lady Slipper orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaEpidendrum orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium Pepperpuss x Cymbidium Memoria Amelia Earheart 'Scott Valentine', Cymbidium orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, California

Disposable orchids are part of modern life. Once the blooms finish, the plant goes into the trash or the compost bin. If you want more flowers, then buy a new plant. That’s the idea behind most orchids sold today, like these modern hybrids in today’s photos. Each new and improved variety is a glorious work of art, but then the beauty fades. Of course, you don’t need to believe the marketing. Many orchid lovers, including me, got our starts with such orchids, keeping them alive well past their expected expiration dates. But most don’t survive for long after their blooms fade. Orchids are just another disposable commodity, like so many things in our lives today.

Phalaenopsis Mini Mark 'Holm', Moth Orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaOncidium Wildcat 'White Lip', orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaCattleya Chan Hsiu Jewel 'Shang Mei', orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, California

Certainly, orchid species are not disposable. But mass-produced orchids hybrids are. They’re often sold in supermarkets, home improvement centers, big box stores, plant nurseries, and gardening centers. The orchid industry grows them en masse, starting them in laboratories before transporting them around the globe. So you’re not going to make anything go extinct if you throw your hybrid away. Remember to always buy orchids from reputable vendors, and never buy plants taken from the wild. Ask if you’re not sure.

Masdevallia Dean Haas, orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaOdontonia Memoria Martin Orenstein 'Lulu' HCC/AOS, orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaDialaelia Mizoguchi 'Princess Kiko', orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, California

And instead of throwing your orchid away, consider giving it to a friend with a green thumb. They may complain that they already have too many orchid rescues, but they’ll probably take it anyway. Or maybe bring it into your office or workplace. Or try to flower again in your own home. Don’t believe the sales pitch which says these orchids are so tricky to grow that you must toss them and buy new ones. Remember, these hybrids are bred to be beautiful, but also tough enough to be trucked to your local grocery store. And do any of the orchids pictured here look disposable to you?

Vuylstekeara Cindy 'Pinky Lee', orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaVanda Pachara Delight, orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis Kingcar Bonnie Girls 'DC6063', Moth Orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, California

Life Lessons from the Plant Kingdom

Posted January 19th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Misc, QuickPost

What life lessons can we learn from orchids? The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center explains how North American orchid species have plenty to teach us.

Pacifica Blooms

Posted January 16th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos

Don’t hate us because we can garden year-round on the California coast! As a peace offering, please enjoy these pictures of a few orchids blooming outside on our back patio. I snapped these photos during a recent break in the rainy weather.

Pleurothallis palliolata, miniature orchid species, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaPleurothallis palliolata, miniature orchid species, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia Charisma 'Pink Glow' x uniflora 'Cow Hollow', orchid hybrid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

The small Pleurothallis in the first two photos had just opened its strange little bloom when I took these shots, but the Masdevallias, Epidendrums, Coelia, and Zygo have already been flowering for weeks. They’ve survived lots of winter winds and rains. The blemishes on these blooms are badges of toughness, not signs of weakness. In fact, the white Cymbidium pictured below has had its flowerpot knocked over by the wind more times than I can count. Yet its flowers haven’t stopped, and they’re only a little worse for wear. No matter how close we are to the cold North Pacific Ocean, Pacifica has plenty of orchids to enjoy.

Zygopetalum BG White 'Stonehurst', orchid hybrid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium flowers and leaves, orchid hybrid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium flowers and leaves, orchid hybrid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Epidendrum x obrienianum, orchid hybrid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaEpidendrum x obrienianum, orchid hybrid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCoelia bella, orchid species, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Winter Orchid Exhibitions

Posted January 10th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

These orchid exhibitions offer brilliant blooms and a refuge from the cold weather. They all make great Valentine’s Day excursions, too.

January 8 – February 22
The Denver Botanic Gardens offers a winter escape with its Orchid Showcase. Enjoy a floral wonderland in the Orangery and Marnie’s Pavilion.

January 9 – March 6
Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio showcases orchids and other tropical plants throughout its displays.

January 16 – February 28
Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh invites you to chase away the winter blues with its Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show.

January 22 – March 12
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden pairs Art & Orchids.  Beautiful flowers accompany the works of great North Carolina photographers.

January 23 – March 27
Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia celebrates an Orchid Extravaganza. Young visitors will love OrKid Days activities geared to families with children.

Taiwan Orchids to Bloom in Desert Countries

Posted January 8th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, QuickPost

Taiwan is one of the biggest commercial orchid producers in the world, and it’s looking to expand. Learn about the complicated challenges facing its orchid business at Taiwan Today.

Zurich Succulent Plant Collection

Posted January 5th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

If you’re thinking that I’ve gone astray with photos from the Zurich Succulent Plant Collection (Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich,) I’ll remind you that orchids often turn up in unexpected places. After all, many orchids share traits with succulent plants, and that’s why they’re included here. Dave took these pictures last month. His work sometimes takes him to Zurich, but usually he’s too busy to play tourist. However, a few weeks ago he had an extra day to explore the city. He wasn’t expecting to find orchids in Zurich, but he’d heard there were nice cactus and succulent greenhouses.

Cactus and succulent display, Zurich Succulent Plant Collection, Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich, SwitzerlandParodia horstii, cactus species in flower, Zurich Succulent Plant Collection, Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich, SwitzerlandCoelia species, possibly Coelia bella in flower, Epiphyte House, Zurich Succulent Plant Collection, Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich, Switzerland

Catasetum orchid, strangley shaped flower, Epiphyte House, Zurich Succulent Plant Collection, Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich, SwitzerlandMoth Orchid, Phalaenopsis flower, Epiphyte House, Zurich Succulent Plant Collection, Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich, SwitzerlandEpidendrum orchid, red flowers, Epiphyte House, Zurich Succulent Plant Collection, Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich, Switzerland

Even on a cold December day, lots of orchids were blooming inside the glasshouses. The Zurich Succulent Plant Collection has an Epiphyte House devoted to air plants, like orchids and bromeliads. Many orchids are succulents, with thickened leaves, stems, roots, or pseudobulbs that effectively store water. While they can’t survive in dry air like cactus or agave, they are able to survive rainless periods or annual dormancy.

Epidendrum centropetalum aka Oerstedella centradenia, orchid species flower, Epiphyte House, Zurich Succulent Plant Collection, Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich, SwitzerlandMasdevallia tovarensis, orchid species with white flowers, Epiphyte House, Zurich Succulent Plant Collection, Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich, SwitzerlandVanilla vine, Zurich Succulent Plant Collection, Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich, Switzerland

Maxillaria picta, orchid species, Epiphyte House, Zurich Succulent Plant Collection, Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich, SwitzerlandVanda flowers and plant, Epiphyte House, Zurich Succulent Plant Collection, Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich, SwitzerlandLaelia flowers, Epiphyte House, Zurich Succulent Plant Collection, Sukkulenten-Sammlung Zürich, Switzerland

The Zurich Succulent Plant Collection is a world-renowned center for succulent plant research. Their glasshouses display thousands of varieties, including many unusual and rare species from different climate zones. More plants can be found in the outdoor Rockery and Cold Frames. Entry is free, and the greenhouses are open daily.

A Bumper Harvest of New Plant Species

Posted January 2nd, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, QuickPost

Kew scientists discovered over 140 plant species last year, twice as many as they found the year before. Their discoveries include some fascinating new orchids, like a 10 foot (3 m) tall Lady Slipper from Ecuador!