Missoula’s ‘Best Kept Secret’ Helps Conserve Endangered Orchids

Posted January 24th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, In the News, QuickPost

Most people don’t think of orchids when they think of Montana, but Missoula’s Botanica, Ltd. is a great place for orchids. Brenda Oviatt and Bill Nerison have turned their hobby into a business which is devoted to growing endangered species. They specialize in the African Angraecoid family, which includes threatened varieties like Darwin’s Orchid, Angraecum florentum, Jumellea, and Oeoniella.

More from Oxford Botanic Garden

Posted January 18th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

Phragmipedium Hanne Popow, Phrag, Lady Slipper hybrid orchid flower, pink white and yellow flower, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKOncidium orchid flower, Dancing Lady Orchid, yellow brown and white flower, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKNepenthes pitcher plant, carnivorous plant, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

Averrhoa carambola, Star Fruit, Carambola, fruiting tree species, 3 star fruit hanging on branch, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKAmaryllis flowers, large flowers, flowering bulb, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKTillandsia xerographica growing on Euphorbia abyssinica, bromeliad, epiphyte, succulents, Arid House, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

Oxford Botanic Garden has great orchids, and many other impressive plants, too. The photos in this post include a couple of orchids, more from the glasshouses, and sights from the surrounding grounds. The glasshouses feature fantastic collections of exotic tropical flowers, carnivorous plants, desert plants, and more.

Shrimp Plant, Pachystachys lutea, white flowers with bright yellow bracts, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKNepenthes pitcher plant, carnivorous plant, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKPavonia x gledhillii, flowers of hybrid flowering shrub, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

Whiteheadia bifolia, AKA Massonia bifolia, bulbous perennial with leaves flattened on ground and small flower in middle, Alpine House, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKUniversity of Oxford Botanic Garden in December, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKPenstemon hartwegii flowering outdoors in December at University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

Outdoors, the gardens offer ample winter interest, with Oxford’s historic architecture as the backdrop. During our visit, red penstemon flowers and brilliant purple berries brightened a chilly, gray December day. Lively fountains and colorful goldfish animated the garden. Bare trees, having already shed their leaves, showed off their majestic branch structures. Despite the cool weather, there was plenty to enjoy in this amazing garden.

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii, Bodinier's beautyberry, bright purple berries, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKFountain at University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKGoldfish in outdoor pool at University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

Growing in Kew Gardens’ Temperate House

Posted January 12th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Intermediate Growers, Photos

Main entrance to Temperate House, large glasshouse, Kew Gardens, RBG Kew, London, UKView inside octagon part of the Temperate House looking out, large glasshouse, Kew Gardens, RBG Kew, London, UKCymbidium tracyanum, orchid species flower, flower with stripes and spots, Temperate House, large glasshouse, Kew Gardens, RBG Kew, London, UK

London’s Kew Gardens is home to the Temperate House, the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse. It was closed for renovations for five years, and reopened in 2018. The skilled staff at Kew have regrown its lush greenery, and it’s full of remarkable plants. During my visit there in early December, I found a couple of Cymbidiums in bloom. One was a great, colorful species, Cymbidium tracyanum, known for big flowers with dramatic spots and stripes.

Cymbidium tracyanum, orchid species flowers, flowers with stripes and spots, Temperate House, large glasshouse, Kew Gardens, RBG Kew, London, UKCymbidium orchid hybrid flower, Temperate House, large glasshouse, Kew Gardens, RBG Kew, London, UKCymbidium orchid hybrid flowers, Temperate House, large glasshouse, Kew Gardens, RBG Kew, London, UK

The Temperate House features plants that grow in mild climates around the world. The 628 foot (191 m) long structure is divided into five sections. There’s a large central area, which includes an upper walkway with great views. This space connects to two smaller octagonal glasshouses, which in turn connect to two medium-sized rectangular structures. Many of the 10,000 plants inside are rare and endangered in their native habitats. Kew works to conserve these species, and the Temperate House is essential to battling extinction.

View of plants in Temperate House from upper walkway, large glasshouse, Kew Gardens, RBG Kew, London, UKView of plants in Temperate House from upper walkway, large glasshouse, Kew Gardens, RBG Kew, London, UKWaterfall and plants inside the Temperate House, large glasshouse, Kew Gardens, RBG Kew, London, UK

Brugmansia sanguinea flower, Red Angel's Trumpet, Temperate House, large glasshouse, Kew Gardens, RBG Kew, London, UKCamellia saluenensis flower, pink flower with water drops, Temperate House, large glasshouse, Kew Gardens, RBG Kew, London, UKTemperate House, large glasshouse with different sections, seen from outside, Kew Gardens, RBG Kew, London, UK

Now that the building has been open to the public for over a year and a half, its plantings are maturing, and reaching for the sky. Comparing my photos to Dave’s pictures from almost a year ago, it’s easy to see that the forest canopy is growing taller and denser. As a refuge for rare plants, and a showcase for Kew’s botanical wonders, the Temperate House has a bright future.

Orchids Abound at RHS Garden Wisley

Posted January 5th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

Phragmipedium China Dragon, Phrag, Lady Slipper orchid hybrid flower, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKBrassidium Yoshiichi Nakagawa, orchid hybrid flowers, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKStanhopea dodsoniana, orchid species flower, weird flower, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UK

Coelogyne orchid flowers, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKPaphiopedilum philippense dark x Saint Swithin, Lady Slipper orchid hybrid flower, Paph, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKThe Glasshouse, large greenhouse next to pond in autumn, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UK

RHS Garden Wisley doesn’t have Kew Gardens’ international reputation, or Oxford Botanic Garden’s ancient pedigree, but it does have plenty of amazing orchids. Wisley is located south of London in Surrey County. When Dave and I visited in early December, its large Glasshouse featured lots of elegant Lady Slippers, dazzling Stanhopeas, and other orchids in bloom.

Stanhopea shuttleworthii, orchid species flowers, side view of flowers, weird flowers, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKStanhopea graveolens, orchid species flowers, weird flowers, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKStanhopea orchid flower, close-up of strange flower lip, weird flower, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UK

In addition to the Glasshouse displays, we stumbled on orchids in one of the small Alpine Houses. The last two photos in this post show a delightful Pterostylis truncata, an Australian Greenhood species, flowering in the cooler temps.  It’s a good reminder that orchids may turn up in unexpected places.

Nageliella purpurea, AKA Domingoa purpurea, orchid species flowers, small purple flowers, , Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKDendrochilum flowers, orchid species flowers, Chain Orchid, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKVanda orchid flowers, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UK

Paphiopedilum hybrid orchid flower, Lady Slipper, Paph, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKPterostylis truncata, Greenhood flower, brittle greenhood, little dumpies, orchid species flower, Australian orchid, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKPterostylis truncata, Greenhood flower, brittle greenhood, little dumpies, orchid species flower, Australian orchid, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UK

Wisley has lots more than its glasshouses. Much of the garden was dormant, but it surely must be spectacular during the growing season. Dating to 1878, Wisley covers 240 acres (97 hectares.) I’ll have another post soon about some of the winter interest and more floral highlights. There are multiple public transportation options from London to the garden, some in as little as 45 minutes. Wisley contains several cafes and restaurants onsite, making it easy to spend the day there.

Winter Orchid Exhibits

Posted January 3rd, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

These lengthy exhibits spotlight prized plants, and offer warm, tropical escapes from winter’s chill. All of the events listed below run through Valentine’s Day and beyond.

January 4 – February 24
Find The Spirit of Orchids at Filoli Historic House & Garden in Woodside, California, south of San Francisco. The famous Filoli mansion hosts orchid displays and Chinese orchid art by Ming Lee. Photos from last year’s event hint at this year’s botanical riches.

January 9 – February 16
Denver Botanic Gardens’ Orchid Showcase features orchids in the Orangery and Marnie’s Pavilion. Visitors can enter three of their pictures in the Photo Contest, with prizes including orchid plants and gift cards.

January 18 – March 1
Orchid Mania takes over at Cleveland Botanical Garden. Admission is free for garden members.

January 18 – March 2
Longwood Gardens presents an Orchid Extravaganza, which “will create an indoor paradise of whimsy and warmth.” The gardens are located in Kennett Square, outside of Philadelphia. Buy tickets early before they sell out.

January 18 – March 8
Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania stages an Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show: Out of This World. Enjoy otherworldly orchids and incredible tropical bonsai trees. Displays will include a 7 foot (2.1 m) tall orchid rocket, and the event will include educational programs on the weekends.

January Orchid Events

Posted December 31st, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

Welcome the 2020’s with orchids! All of January’s events are excellent opportunities to enjoy amazing flowers, take photos, talk to orchid experts, and buy plants. It’s a great recipe for a happy new year.

January 4
Orchid Society of Great Britain Auction, Napier Hall, Hide Place, Westminster, London, UK
January 4
Tischbewertung Hannover, Herrenhäuser Gärten, Herrenhäuser Str. 4, Hanover, Germany
January 4 – 5
Sarasota Orchid Society Show & Sale, Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida
January 8
Hinckley & District Orchid Society Plant Sale & Auction, Barwell Constitutional Club, 20 Chapel St., Barwell, Leicestershire, UK
January 9 – 13
Sunshine City World Orchid Exhibition, Bunka Kaikan Culture Center, 2nd floor, Sunshine City, Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-1-4, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, Japan
January 10 – 12
Ft. Lauderdale Orchid Society Show & Sale, Broward Convention Center, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
January 11
Gold Coast Cymbidium Growers Orchid Auction, San Mateo Garden Center, 605 Parkside Way, San Mateo, California
January 11
North of England Orchid Society Meeting & Show, Community Hall, Manchester Rd., Rixton with Glazebrook, Warrington, Cheshire, UK
January 11
Symbiose, Orchidées et Champignons, 175 av. Daumesnil, Paris, France
January 11 – 12
Paphiopedilum Guild Meeting & Show, Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, California

Read the rest of this post »

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Orchids

Posted December 26th, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, Misc

Legendary American artist Georgia O’Keeffe painted extraordinary flowers, including orchids. The Winston-Salem Journal analyzes two of her portrayals of Cattleya hybrids. The first, Narcissa’s Last Orchid, 1940,  is depicted realistically. The second, An Orchid, 1941, is more abstract. Both paintings focus on the frilly flower lips. Orchid expert Arthur Chadwick ponders which varieties inspired these works. At the time, Cattleyas were popular as corsages. To learn more, check out the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

More from Kew’s Princess of Wales Conservatory

Posted December 21st, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

Bromeliad flower viewed from above, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKBegonia maculata, Begonia species flowers and leaves, white-spotted leaves, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKWaterlily pond and surrounding plants in Tropical Rainforest Zone, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UK

Celebrate today’s solstice with more photos from my recent visit to Kew Gardens in London. These pictures are all from the Princess of Wales Conservatory, which is one of several large glasshouses at Kew. They include a few orchids, some brilliantly colorful bromeliads, and other tropical plants.

Paphiopedilum orchid flower, Paph, Lady Slipper, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKCoelogyne and Dendrochilum orchids in hanging baskets, orchid plants showing leaves and hanging flowers, pendant flowers, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKCalanthe orchid flowers, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UK

The conservatory features separate tropical and temperate zones for rainforest plants, ferns, desert plants, carnivorous plants, and, of course, orchids. It boasts incredible displays at any time of year, and offers a wonderfully warm respite from winter’s chill at this time of year.

Tropical Desert Zone with cactus and succulents, barrel cactus, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKAechmea Bromeliad flower, pink flower, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKBright yellow flowers, yellow puffball flowers, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UK

Enjoy Orchids at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden

Posted December 17th, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

Oncidium maculatum, orchid species flower, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKRestrepia orchid flower, miniature pleurothallid orchid, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKPhragmipedium Memoria Dick Clements, Lady Slipper orchid flower, Phrag, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

Conservatory glasshouse seen from outside, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKCymbidium tracyanum, orchid species flower, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKBromeliads in bloom with colorful flowers, glasshouse at University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

The UK’s oldest botanical garden has plenty for orchid lovers to enjoy. Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum dates to 1621, making it older than London’s Chelsea Physic Garden (founded 1673) and Kew Gardens (founded 1759.) Oxford’s garden covers 4.5 acres (1.8 hectares,) and grows over 6000 different plant species.

Calanthe orchid flower, glasshouse at University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKVanda orchid flower, glasshouse at University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKCoelogyne ovalis, orchid species flower with water drop, glasshouse at University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

Garden doorway between glasshouses at University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKRestrepia Honfleur, side view of orchid hybrid flower, miniature pleurothallid orchid, glasshouse at University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKInside view of the Tropical Lily House, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

The garden includes seven adjacent glasshouses with different growing conditions. Several of the greenhouses contain orchids, including the Fernery, Tropical Lily House, Palm House, and Insectivorous House. All of them are packed with fascinating plants. The flowers in this post are all orchids, except for the colorful bromeliads at the end of the second row of photos.

Ludisia discolor, variegated orchid species leaves, Jewel Orchid, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKPhalaenopsis orchid hybrid flower, Phal, Moth Orchid, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKPaphiopedilum Maudiae, orchid hybrid flower, Paph, Lady Slipper, green and white flower, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

Oxford Botanic Garden is part of the University of Oxford, one of the oldest universities in the world, founded over 900 years ago. It was a famous institution long before scenes from the Harry Potter films were shot there, lending its Gothic spires and medieval architecture to Hogwarts. The botanic garden inspired parts of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and also JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings stories. Oxford is an easy train ride from London, making it an ideal day trip.

Orchids in Kew’s Princess of Wales Conservatory

Posted December 13th, 2019 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

Calanthe orchid flower, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKPaphiopedilum orchid hybrid flower, Paph, Lady Slipper, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKGlasshouses at Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UK

Laelia schultzei, AKA Schomburgkia, orchid species flower with wavy petals, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKCoelogyne orchid flower, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKIsochilus orchid flowers and leaves, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UK

In London’s December chill, it’s great to warm up by stepping into one of the glasshouses at Kew Gardens. I was fortunate to visit last week, and enjoyed lots of warmth and tropical beauty. These photos show some of the orchids on display in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

Phragmipedium and Dendrochilum orchid flowers, Phrag, Lady Slipper, Chain Orchid, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKCymbidium orchid hybrid flowers, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKEpidendrum isthmi, orchid species flowers, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UK

Coelogyne orchid flower, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKOrchid display in glass case, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKMaxillaria orchid flower, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UK

The vast orchid family reliably offers blooms at any time of year, even early December. In fact, many orchid varieties flower during dormant periods. This usually corresponds to winter months, when their blooms are less likely to be damaged by heavy rains, which are typical of their growing seasons. With one of the most extensive botanical collections on the planet, the expert growers at Kew can put on impressive orchid displays all year long. If you’re anywhere near London, beat back the winter blues with a visit. It warms me up just thinking about it.

Psychopsis orchid flower, Butterfly Orchid, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKAngraecum eburneum, orchid species flower, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKOncidium leucochilum, orchid species flowers, Dancing Lady Orchid, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UK