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

Read the rest of this post »

Water Orchids More During A Heatwave

Posted September 27th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Growing, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos, Problems, Watering

Some readers may wonder why I’m posting a reminder about heatwaves at the start of autumn, but SF Bay Area locals understand. For us, the warmest months of the year are September and October. True to form, our cool, foggy weather gave way to warmer temps on schedule this year, and we’ve had a few heatwaves. Our humidity drops as the heat rises, leaving us with desert-like dryness. That dry air presents as much danger to orchids as the high heat itself, so both problems need to be addressed. Follow these tips to help your orchids survive a heatwave:

  • Move plants into shady areas until the fog returns.
  • Water all orchids on warm days, even if it’s not their regular watering day. For my cool growers and intermediate growers outside, I water them all daily if temps rise above 80°F (27°C,) sometimes multiple times on hotter days.
  • To raise humidity levels, spray down leaves, walls, patios, decks, flowerpots, and other surfaces. As it evaporates, the water adds moisture to the air. Remember, high humidity for leaves, flowers, and exposed roots is what’s important. Avoid oversoaking the potting material.
  • Other methods to raise humidity include grouping plants together, or placing plants in humid areas near a water feature. Using a spray mister helps. Placing flowerpots atop pebbles in trays of water is effective, as long as the bottoms of the pots are always kept above the water level.
  • Don’t remove sunburned leaves until cooler weather returns. Those burnt leaves are protecting lower leaves. Check the photos below for examples of sunburned orchids leaves. Burns usually start out as white patches, but then turn brown or black over time. Now get to watering!

Partly sunburned leaves of Laelia anceps orchid species, after a heat wave approaching 100°F (38°C) 3 weeks earlier, Pacifica , CaliforniaPartly sunburned leaves of Coelogyne mooreana orchid species, after a heat wave approaching 100°F (38°C) 3 weeks earlier, Pacifica , CaliforniaPartly sunburned leaves of Moth Orchid hybrid, Phal, Phalaenopsis, gardening center store in South San Francisco, California

Orchids on the Equinox

Posted September 22nd, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos

Orchid flowers, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaEpidendrum parkinsonianum, orchid species flowers, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis flowers, Moth Orchid hybrids, Phals, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Laelia purpurata 'Hot Night' AM/AOS, orchid species, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMasdevallia picea, orchid species flower, Pleurothallid, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaAliceara Hilo Ablaze 'Hilo Gold' HCC/AOS, orchid hybrid flower, close up of flower lip, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Delight in these orchids to mark today’s equinox. They’re all from this past July’s Orchids in the Park. With an incredible range of colors, shapes, and scents, they seem as distantly related as an oak tree is from an oyster.  But superficial appearances are so often misleading. These orchids share a basic design which runs much deeper than their various facades. With the arrival of autumn in California, the diverse orchid family blooms on.

Lycaste (Shonan Harmony x Auburn 'Red'), close-up of orchid hybrid flower, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPleurothallis hitchcockii, orchid species flowers, Pleurothallid, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCattleya orchid hybrid flower, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Zygopetalum Advance Australia 'HOF' AM/AOS, orchid hybrid flowers, Zygo, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis flowers, Moth Orchid hybrids, Phals, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaStanhopea wardii, orchid species flowers, weird flowers, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Orchid Gives up the Secrets of Its Success

Posted September 19th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News, QuickPost

Chinese scientists have studied an orchid’s genetics to learn the secrets of its success. They’ve sequenced the genes of the species Apostasia shenzhenica, which is an early offshoot of the orchid family tree. Their study shows that important orchid traits, like massed pollen, tiny seeds, and the ability to live as air plants, emerged at the beginning of their evolution. These features help orchids survive in almost every corner of the planet. Find the scientific paper at Nature.

Ecuador Hosting the 22nd World Orchid Conference

Posted September 16th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events, Videos

Every three years, orchid lovers from around the world gather for an event nicknamed the Orchid Olympics. Officially known as the 22nd World Orchid Conference, this year’s event is happening in Guayaquil, Ecuador from November 8th – 12th. The conference includes science, horticulture, and conservation sessions, as well as an enormous orchid show with vendors from around the globe. Check out the video below for more info —

Orchids in the Conservatory of Flowers

Posted September 10th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos

These photos highlight just a few of the orchids on display at San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers. Their extraordinary collection spans the vast range of the orchid world. Big and small, hybrid and species, common and rare — they’re all well represented.

Stanhopea orchid flower, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDracula vampira flower, orchid species, black orchid flower, Pleurothallid, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMiltoniopsis flowers, Pansy Orchid, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Cattleya Hardyana flower, close up of flower lip, orchid hybrid, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaHapalochilus nitidus, aka Bulbophyllum nitidum, miniature orchid, orchid species flower, unusual flower, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaAnoectochilus species from Vietnam, Jewel Orchid, Dark leaves with white stripe down the middle, unusual orchid, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

One of the benefits of air plants like these is that they live in different levels of the glasshouses, and visitors are not simply looking down at the ground to see flowers. Some are at eye level; others are high over our heads. As Dave and I pointed our cameras up into the trees, it was a delight to see other visitors look up and suddenly realize that there were orchids above them. Like the rainforests they’re modeled after, the Conservatory is a prime example of vertical gardens. Be sure to check out what’s in bloom the next time you’re in Golden Gate Park.

Orchids in the Aquatic Plants Gallery, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMaxillaria lawrenceana, orchid species, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrochilum magnum orchid species, aka Chain Orchid, aka Necklace Orchid, and tillandsia bromeliad in bloom, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Stanhopea wardii, orchid species, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis cornu-cervi, Moth Orchid species, Phal, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne orchid flowers hanging from moss basket, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Orchids: Masters of Deception

Posted September 4th, 2017 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Misc, Videos

Enjoy this adorable animation explaining how deceptive orchids can be. Some orchids trick pollinators, steal from fungi, or take advantage of trees to grow above the forest floor. And they’ve convinced lots of humans to do their bidding, too. The video below comes courtesy of the University of Western Australia and Curtin University.