A Bay Area Guide to Orchids and Their Culture

Posted August 12th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Books, Growing Orchids in San Francisco

No matter where you live, every orchid lover needs A Bay Area Guide to Orchids and Their Culture by Mary E. Gerritsen and the San Francisco Orchid Society. This well-written book has hundreds of beautiful photos and lots of helpful orchid info. There are concise sections on care basics, explanations of the Bay Area’s varied microclimates, and lists of which orchids work best where. Don’t be fooled by the title — this book has more than the cool and intermediate orchids we’re lucky enough to grow outdoors here. It also has plenty of great info about warm growers, so it really is suited for everyone. Definitely add this one to your orchid reference library. Buy it from the Orchid Conservation Alliance, the British publisher Redfern Natural History Books, or Amazon. And if you’re not one already, this gorgeous book will turn you into an orchid addict!

orchid book

More Photos from Orchids in the Park

Posted August 6th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events, Growing Orchids in San Francisco

How many botanical wonders can be found at Orchids in the Park? Lots!!! Here are more of our photos from this year’s event.

Schomburgkia thomsoniana x brysiana, Myrmecophila hybrid, orchid flowers, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDoritaenopsis Kenneth Schubert, Moth Orchid hybrid flower with bluish purple color, Phal, Phalaenopsis, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium helix, orchid species flower, Antelope Dendrobium with twisted petals resembling horns, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Oncidium tigroides, orchid species with small brown white and yellow flowers, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium hellwigianum, miniature orchid species with small pink and orange flowers and grasslike leaves, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaThunia Gattonensis, orchid hybrid flower, close up of flower lip, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Big flowers or small, hybrid or species, fragrant or not — it’s just a tiny fraction of the orchid world’s diversity. The show included an Antelope Dendrobium, the aptly-named Dendrobium helix. There were also Coconut Orchids, Jewel Orchids, and an Oncidium species with small flowers that look like bumblebees. In other words, it was another great Orchids in the Park. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Maxillaria tenuifollia, Coconut Orchid, orchid species flowers, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaSchoenorchis gemmata, miniature orchid species with tiny flowers, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMasdevallia corazonica, orchid species flowers, white flowers, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Dendrobium hekouense, miniature orchid species flower, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaLaelia purpurata 'Hot Night' AM/AOS, orchid species flower, close up of flower lip, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaLudisia discolor, Jewel Orchid, variegated leaves and flower spike, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

August Orchid Shows

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

The Southern Hemisphere is the focus of this month’s schedule, but there are also events to enjoy in California, St. Louis, the UK, and Germany. Don’t miss these opportunities to celebrate orchids!

August 2 – 7
Orquídeas, Pájaros y Flores, Jardín Botánico Joaquín Antonio Uribe, Carrera 52, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
August 3 – 6
Five Dock RSL Orchid Society Show, Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre, Roseby St., Drummoyne, NSW, Australia
August 4 – 5
South West Orchid Society – Taunton Flower Show, Vivary Park, Taunton, Somerset, UK
August 4 – 5
Maroochydore Orchid Society Show, Community Centre, Millwell Rd. E., Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia
August 4 – 6
Manly Warringah Orchid Society Show, Dee Why RSL Club, Pittwater Rd., Dee Why, NSW, Australia
August 4 – 6
Sommerfest, Orchideengärtnerei Gerhard und Marianne Krönlein, Setzweg 4, Obereisenheim, Germany
August 4 – 6
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas de Penápolis, Ginásio de Esportes Dr. Nagib Sabino, Penápolis, São Paulo, Brazil
August 4 – 6
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas de Lagoa Santa, Colégio M2, Rua Vereador Ildeu Viana Matos, 273, Lagoa Santa, Minas Gerais, Brazil
August 4 – 6
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas de Varginha, Rua João Paruci, 21, Jardim Zinoca, Varginha, Minas Gerias, Brazil
August 5 – 6
Harrogate Orchid Society Show, RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Crag Ln., Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Read the rest of this post »

Donations Being Doubled for Dracula Orchid Reserve

Posted July 28th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, In the News

The Orchid Conservation Alliance (OCA) is happy to announce that the Rainforest Trust is doubling donations for the Dracula Orchid Reserve, an important nature sanctuary in Ecuador. Every contribution will be matched, dollar for dollar. The groups’ goal is to purchase 1450 acres (587 hectares) in one of the planet’s most important biodiversity hotspots. This rainforest in northern Ecuador is home to many rare plant and animal species, including lots of unusual Dracula orchids. You can help by donating to the OCA. The OCA is a non-profit organization, and donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Any amount is appreciated, and will go twice as far, thanks to the Rainforest Trust.

Orchids in the Park 2017

Posted July 24th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos

Phalaenopsis orchid hybrid flower, Moth Orchid, Phal, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis orchid hybrid flower, Moth Orchid, Phal, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis cornu-cervi 'Red', Moth Orchid species flower, Phal, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Masdevallia mezae, orchid species flowers, pleurothallid, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMyrmecophila orchid flower, Myrmecophila tibicinis or hybrid, Schomburgkia, flower petals with wavy edges, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Californiapossibly Restrepia brachypus, orchid species flower, mini orchid, pleurothallid, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Year after year, Orchids in the Park is full of delights. Whether it’s the latest in Moth Orchid hybrids, or brilliant yellow Lycastes which smell like cinnamon, there’s lots for every orchid lover. I’m just starting to go through all the photos from this past weekend’s event, but it’s easy to see that it was a sensational show.

Stanhopea wardii, orchid species flowers, pendent flowers, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaSobralia flower, large orchid flower, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaLycaste aromatica hybrid, orchid hybrid flowers, fragrant yellow flowers, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Tolumnia Jairak Flyer 'Amaze', orchid hybrid flower, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum rothschildianum, orchid species flower, Lady Slipper, Paph, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaLaeliocattleya Sonitone 'Plum Sorbet', Cattleya orchid hybrid flower, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Among all these stunning blooms, Dave and I noticed lots of Sobralias and Stanhopeas on display this year. That’s a rarity, because both varieties have short-lived blossoms (some Sobralia flowers last less than a day!) They’re not often seen at shows, but this time, there was a bumper crop of both. I saw one vendor diligently misting his prize Stanhopea blooms to keep them fresh for the weekend. Fortunately, the flowers live on with these photos, and with more orchids to come in future posts.

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.