Gold Medal Orchids at the Chelsea Flower Show

Posted May 25th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, QuickPost

McBean’s Orchids has won a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show once again. It’s a welcome victory, especially since the venerable, 137-year-old British nursery almost went out of business recently. The Chelsea Flower Show runs through May 28th.

Purple Zygo Orchids

Posted May 23rd, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Dormancy, Fragrant Orchids, Growing, Photos

Zygopetalum Artur Elle x Imagination, orchid hybrid, purple green white and maroon flower, Orchids in the Park 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaZygopetalum Adelaide Meadows, orchid hybrid, purple green white and maroon flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2016, San Francisco, CaliforniaZygopetalum Harry, orchid hybrid, purple green white and maroon flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2016, San Francisco, California

When you think of Zygo orchids, think purple. Zygos are known for brilliant purple hues, rich scents, and long-lasting flowers. Alongside all that purple, their showy blooms include green, white, and maroon. These photos show just of few of the growing number of Zygo varieties, with many new hybrids on the market. The species are native to South American rainforests in Brazil, Argentina, and Peru.

Zygoneria, orchid hybrid, purple green white and maroon flower, Kawamoto Orchid Nursery, Honolulu, HawaiiZygopetalum maxillare, orchid species, purple green white and maroon flower, Orchids in the Park 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaZygopetalum BG White 'Stonehurst', orchid hybrid, purple green white and maroon flower, grown outdoors in San Francisco, California

Zygo is short for Zygopetalum. To pronounce it, say “zai go” to rhyme with “I go.” Some varieties are warm growers, but there are also cool growers which are perfectly suited for the Northern California coast. They grow in conditions similar to Cymbidiums, but don’t need as much sun. These cool growers enjoy morning sun, regular water, and regular fertilizer, and then a drier winter dormancy. They prefer deep pots where their large root systems can expand. The third photo in the row above shows the plant I’ve grown successfully outdoors for years, Zygopetalum BG White ‘Stonehurst’. Its powerfully fragrant flowers last for months, and it reliably blooms twice a year. (The other Zygo photos are from orchid shows and greenhouse visits.)

Zygopetalum flowers, orchid hybrid, purple green white and maroon flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaZygocaste Rhine Wine, orchid hybrid, purple green white and maroon flower, Orchids in the Park 2010, San Francisco, CaliforniaZygotonia Midnight Blue 'Cardinals Roost', orchid hybrid, purple and white flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, California

Zygonisia, orchid hybrid, purple and white flower, Orchids in the Park 2012, San Francisco, CaliforniaZygopetalum Artur Elle 'Tombstone', purple green white and maroon flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2010, San Francisco, CaliforniaZygonisia Rogue Brune x Acacallis cyanea, orchid hybrid, purple and white flower, Orchids in the Park 2014, San Francisco, California

Zygos can be susceptible to botrytis, a type of fungal infection which leads to black leaf spots. The Zygos can thrive and bloom anyway. High humidity and good air flow will minimize the effects.

If you love purple, you’ll love Zygos. They’ll fill your garden with color and fragrance.

International Phalaenopsis Alliance

Posted May 18th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, Warm Growers

The International Phalaenopsis Alliance (IPA) is all about the appreciation, cultivation, and conservation of Moth Orchids. IPA members receive the beautiful Phalaenopsis quarterly journal, full of Moth Orchid news and photos. Members also enjoy informative newsletters, national and regional meetings, and lots of opportunities to learn from experts. As part of its conservation efforts, the IPA supports the Phal species collection at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. To support the IPA, you can join for as little as US$5 yearly.

Tough Masdevallia Withstands Strong Winds

Posted May 12th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Growing, Photos

It’s a common belief that all orchids are delicate and fragile, unable to adapt to any adverse conditions. A few orchids may fit that description, but many others are tough as nails. This magnificent yellow Masdevallia fits into the “tough as nails” category. Despite any flimsy appearances, these big, brilliant flowers can withstand strong winds.

Masdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M. Wayne Miller' AM/AOS, orchid species, yellow flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M. Wayne Miller' AM/AOS, orchid species, yellow flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M. Wayne Miller' AM/AOS, orchid species, close up view of yellow flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

I bought this beauty last year at the gift shop of the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley. It’s lived outdoors at our home in Pacifica ever since. With sunny, yellow 4 inch (10.1 cm) blooms at the top of 2 foot (61 cm) tall flower stems, it’s a real standout. It looks so delicate, but these flowers defy strong winds coming off the ocean. I keep the plant next to a wall in a sheltered spot, but it still endures occasional 50 mph (80 km/h) wind gusts. It also endures a steady assault of old blossoms and leaves raining down from a nearby camellia tree. After a month, the flowers are starting to look beaten up, but I’m just amazed that they’re standing at all.

Masdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M. Wayne Miller' AM/AOS, orchid species, yellow flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M. Wayne Miller' AM/AOS, orchid species, yellow flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M. Wayne Miller' AM/AOS, orchid species, close up view of yellow flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

While it would be impossible for many orchid growers to keep these outdoors, here on the Northern California coast, it’s a piece of cake. This species, Masdevallia coccinea, is native to the Andes, where it lives in cool, breezy, moist conditions. I keep it shaded from direct sun, and water it daily. Our cool, foggy weather seems to provide a great substitute for its native home. This Masdevallia is a beautiful addition to our garden, and a testament to how tough orchids can be.

Masdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M. Wayne Miller' AM/AOS, orchid species, side view of yellow flower bud opening, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M. Wayne Miller' AM/AOS, orchid species, side view of yellow flower bud opening, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M. Wayne Miller' AM/AOS, orchid species, side view of yellow flower bud opening, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Identifying Your Mother’s Day Orchid

Posted May 8th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Growing, Photos

Identifying your Mother’s Day orchid is an important part of basic orchid care. Since Moth Orchids are the most popular varieties, they’re the best place to start. It’s likely that your gift is a Moth Orchid, or Phal, like those in the first row of photos below. This is only a small sampling of countless Moth Orchid colors, patterns, and sizes. They come in many hues, including whites, pinks, yellows, reds, and purples.

Moth Orchid, Phalaenopsis hybrid, Phal flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2016, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis Taida Lime, Moth Orchid hybrid, Phal flower and buds, Pacific Orchid Expo 2016, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis Little Pink Gem, Moth Orchid hybrid, Phal flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

Lady Slippers, shown in the next row of photos, are also favorite gift orchids. Their distinctive, pouch-shaped flower lips make them easy to identify. Their colors include whites, pinks, greens, reds, and yellows.

Paphiopedilum flower, Lady Slipper, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum flower, Lady Slipper, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum Petula's Glory, Lady Slipper hybrid flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

Cattleyas, such as the next photo below, are popular corsage flowers, and often have sweet scents.

Cymbidiums, shown in the middle picture, come in reds, whites, pinks, yellows, greens, and browns.

Dendrobiums, like the last photo of this row, are a diverse group of orchids. Den Phals are the most common types.

Cattleya hybrid flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium hybrid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium Osos Dream, orchid hybrid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, California

Epidendrums, like the first picture in the next row, come in reds, yellows, oranges, pinks, greens, purples, and whites.

Miltoniopsis earn their nickname Pansy Orchid from their resemblance to pansy flowers.

Oncidiums, shown in the final photo, are also known as Dancing Lady Orchids. Their sprays of small flowers seem to sway together in a breeze.

Epidendrum hybrid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaMiltoniopsis hybrid flowers, Pansy Orchids, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaOncidium hybrid flowers, Dancing Lady Orchids, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

Millions of Native Orchids Flourish at Former Mining Waste Site

Posted May 3rd, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, QuickPost

In New York’s Adirondack Mountains, millions of native orchids are flourishing near an old iron mine. The wetland area is now home to local orchids like Grass Pinks, Rose Pogonias, and Ladies’ Tresses. Since the mine closed in 1978, the site has recovered to become the perfect home for six native New York orchid species and other rare plants, too.

May Orchid Shows

Posted April 30th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

The universal appeal of orchids is obvious with so many shows around the world. Many are perfectly timed for Mother’s Day presents and celebrations. Take advantage of any shows nearby to immerse yourself in incredible flowers.

May 1
Fenland Orchid Society Show, Terrington St. Clement Village Hall, Churchgate Way. Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, UK
May 4 – 7
Boolaroo Orchid Society Show, Belmont Citi-Centre, Macquarie St., Belmont, NSW, Australia
May 5 – 7
Maui Orchid Society Mothers’ Day Show, Maui Mall, 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului, Maui, Hawaii
May 5 – 7
Hawkesbury District Orchid Show, Richmond Market Place, March St., Richmond, NSW, Australia
May 5 – 8
Orchidays, Parc du Château d’Enghien, Enghien, Belgium
May 5 – 8
Exposition Internationale d’Orchidées, Salle du Pont de Pierre, Rue Henri Durre, Wallers, France
May 5 – 8
Five Dock RSL Orchid Society Show, Leichhardt Market Town, Flood St., Leichhardt, NSW, Australia
May 6 – 8
Zululand Orchid Society Autumn Show, Boardwalk Inkwazi Shopping Centre, Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
May 6 – 8
East Rand Orchid Society Autumn Show, Edenvale Community Centre, Edenvale, Gauteng, South Africa
May 6 – 8
Bundaberg Orchid Society Show, Bundaberg Civic Centre, Bourbong St., Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia

Read the rest of this post »

Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich

Posted April 26th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

Dave’s work travels gave him another opportunity to find orchids in Switzerland. He really hit the jackpot a couple weeks ago at the Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich. The garden houses 9000 plant species over 13 acres (5.3 hectares,) with orchids featured in three tropical greenhouses. In addition, there are Mediterranean, alpine, native meadow, and carnivorous plant sections, and much more.

Tropical Greenhouses, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandInside a Tropical Greenhouse, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandEpidendrum species, orchid with purple flowers, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, Switzerland

Phaius tankervilleae, orchid species flower, Nun's Orchid, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandMaxillaria variabilis, orchid species flower, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandDendrochilum wenzelii, orchid species flowers, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, Switzerland

It was a real treat for Dave to discover vanilla orchids in bloom. We’ve seen countless vanilla vines in glasshouses and travels to the tropics, but the flowers are much harder to find. They’re open for less than a day, and often tough to photograph, since they’re high up on the vines. He was lucky to catch the beautiful vanilla flowers in the next row of photos. With orchid blooms and much more, the Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich brings the tropics to Switzerland.

Vanilla planifolia, orchid species flower, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandVanilla planifolia, front view of orchid species flower, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandVanilla planifolia, orchid species flower, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, Switzerland

Pinalia excavata, aka Eria excavata, orchid species flowers, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandLabeled as Dendrochilum uncatum, orchid species flowers, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, SwitzerlandUnidentified orchid flower, Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, Switzerland

Gaia Amazonas

Posted April 23rd, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation

Gaia Amazonas is a remarkable Colombian conservation organization. Created to protect the biological and cultural diversity of the Amazon, Gaia Amazonas has helped return over 100,000 square miles (26 million square kilometers) of Colombian rainforest back to the control of its native peoples. That’s an area larger than the UK!  Alongside the traditional knowledge and sustainable practices of indigenous peoples, the group helps conserve huge tracts of the Amazon Rainforest, including countless orchids. Founded in 1990 by Martín von Hildebrand, Gaia Amazonas is trying to expand its amazing success into Brazil and Venezuela. You can help support the group by donating and sharing its message of empowering native peoples to care for the rainforest.

Tolumnia Orchids

Posted April 18th, 2016 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Dormancy, Growing, Mini Orchids, Photos, Warm Growers, Watering

If you have a warm, sunny windowsill, and sometimes forget to water, Tolumnias may be perfect for you. These mini orchids have eye-catching colors and patterns. I bought this Tolumnia hybrid at last year’s Pacific Orchid Expo, and this year, it put on a great show with lots of brilliant blooms.

Tolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flower, Equitant Oncidium, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaTolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flowers, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaTolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flowers, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, California

Tolumnias are native to the Caribbean, and are sometimes called Equitant Oncidiums or Dancing Lady Orchids. Their small leaves require morning sun and warm temps. With thin roots, which need to dry out between waterings, they’re often grown on mounts. This allows them to dry quicker than potted plants. Provide a winter dormancy with reduced watering, but always maintain high humidity and good air movement.

Tolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flowers, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaClose-up of Tolumnia Genting Volcano flower, orchid hybrid, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaTolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flower, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, California

Tolumnias come in vivid colors, like reds, pinks, yellows, and oranges. Although the plants remain small, their flower spikes can reach up to 18 inches (46 cm,) so they do require some extra space when in bloom. Old spikes may blossom again, so don’t cut them off when they’re done. And find a little room for these floral gems on your windowsill.

Tolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flower, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaClose-up of Tolumnia Genting Volcano flower, orchid hybrid, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaTolumnia Genting Volcano, orchid hybrid flowers, Equitant Oncidium, Dancing Lady Orchid, miniature orchid, grown indoors in Pacifica, California