Orchids at Foster Botanical Garden

Posted September 15th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos, Warm Growers

If you want to see orchids in Honolulu, visit Foster Botanical Garden. Hawaii’s oldest botanical garden showcases exotic orchids in several areas of its 13.5 acre (5.5 hectare) grounds. Photos from our recent visit start below with three spectacular blossoms: a Tiger Orchid, a Leopard Orchid, and a purple Miltonia. These warm growers are the epitome of tropical beauty. I’ll have much more about the Tiger Orchid and the Leopard Orchid in another post coming soon!

Grammatophyllum speciosum, Tiger Orchid, largest orchid plant in the world, in bloom at Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiGrammatophyllum scriptum, Leopard Orchid, in bloom at Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiMiltonia flower, in bloom at Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, Hawaii

Brilliant orchid colors and bizarre flower shapes abound at Foster. An Antelope Dendrobium earns its nickname from petals spiraling up like horns. Spider Orchids with long, skinny petals entice spider-hunting wasps to attack their flowers, and then pollinate them. The Clamshell Orchid looks more like an octopus orchid to me, admittedly with only five legs.

Antelope Dendrobium flowers, in bloom at Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiBrassia flowers, Spider Orchid, in bloom at Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiProsthechea cochleata or Encyclia cochleata, Clamshell Orchid, orchid species, in bloom at Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, Hawaii

Warm growers at Foster live both indoors and out. In the next photo, a cheery pink and yellow Spathoglottis basks in the sun outside Foster’s Conservatory. Inside the glasshouse, the next two Moth Orchids enjoy protection from the elements. Two Vandas and a Dendrobium hybrid also help fill Foster with tropical beauty. This garden is definitely worth a visit!

Spathoglottis hybrid orchid in bloom at Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiMiniature Phalaenopsis flower, Moth Orchid, in bloom at Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiPhalaenopsis violacea indigo blue x self, Moth Orchid, in bloom at Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, Hawaii

Vanda flowers in bloom at Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiVanda flower side view at Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiDendrobium flowers, orchid hybrid, in bloom at Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu’s Blooms

Posted September 8th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos, Warm Growers

Hawaii’s beauty takes many forms. During a recent trip to Honolulu, Dave and I enjoyed warm sun and the clear, blue ocean, but with our cameras, we found much more. Amid the hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops, busy Waikiki is a good place to find botanical beauty. These first three photos came from our hotel and nearby shopping area.

White Anthurium, Moana Surfrider Resort lobby, Honolulu, HawaiiCymbidium flower arrangement, Moana Surfrider Resort, Honolulu, HawaiiCalathea, Maranta Prayer Plant at Lyon Arboretum, Honolulu, Hawaii

To truly explore the island’s botanical treasures, however, you need to step out of Waikiki. A short drive away, in a different neighborhood, the tropical paradise of Foster Botanical Garden abuts Honolulu’s skyscrapers. We visited Foster in early 2013, but we enjoyed different summer blooms this time. In the next set of photos, a Spathoglottis, a Dendrobium hybrid, and a colorful gecko are a small fraction of Foster’s incredible collections.

Spathoglottis flowers, pink and yellow orchid hybrid, Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, HawaiiDendrobium flower, red and yellow orchid hybrid, Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu, Hawaii Gold dust day gecko, Phelsuma laticauda, on tree in Foster Botanical Garden, Honolulu

If you don’t explore beyond Waikiki, you’ll also miss treasures like Lyon Arboretum, a tropical rainforest located at the upper end of Honolulu’s Manoa Valley. This 200 acre (81 hectare) garden is run by the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. It’s often overlooked on tourist maps, so you’ll mostly share the hiking trails with island locals. The final six pictures show views from Lyon Arboretum. Dave and I returned with more photos from all of these locations, so check back soon as I sort through them to find the best.

View of Ko'olau Mountains at Lyon Arboretum, Honolulu, HawaiiWhite Water Lily at Lyon Arboretum, Honolulu, HawaiiTall tree fern in forest canopy at Lyon Arboretum, Honolulu, Hawaii

Beehive ginger, Zingiber spectablis at Lyon Arboretum, Honolulu, HawaiiLarge tropical tree at Lyon Arboretum, Honolulu, HawaiiFountain at Lyon Arboretum, Honolulu, Hawaii

September Orchid Shows

Posted September 1st, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

It might have been easier to list towns in Australia which don’t have orchid shows this month. In between the Aussies, there are plenty from the USA, UK, New Zealand, and Brazil. Even Sweden, Lithuania, and Costa Rica get in on the action. South Africa hosts three events this month, including one of the biggest orchid shows in the world. All over the globe, these are great chances to enjoy orchids, take pictures, talk with experts, and buy great plants.

September 3
Santa Clara Valley Orchid Society Fall Auction, American Legion Hall, 1504 Minnesota Ave., San Jose, California
September 3 – 6
Orchid Society of Western Australia Spring Show, Kardinya Shopping Centre, South St., Kardinya, Western Australia, Australia
September 3 – 6
Fairfield District Orchid Society Show, Stockland Mall, Polding St., Wetherill Park, NSW, Australia
September 3 – 6
Cumberland Orchid Circle Show, Winston Hills Mall, Caroline Chisholm Dr., Winston Hills, NSW, Australia
September 3 – 6
Alstonville Orchid Society Show, Alstonville Shopping Plaza, Alstonville, NSW, Australia
September 4 – 6
Hawkesbury District Orchid Society Show, Richmond Market Place, March St., Richmond, NSW, Australia
September 4 – 7
Australian Garden Show Sydney, Brazilian Fields, Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW, Australia
September 4 – 7
Five Dock RSL Orchid Society Show, Rhodes Shopping Centre, Rider Blvd., Rhodes, NSW, Australia
September 4 – 7
Maitland and Coalfields District Orchid Society Show, Hunter Valley Gardens, Broke Rd., Pokolbin, NSW, Australia
September 5 – 6
Childers & Isis District Orchid Society Spring Show, Isis Cultural Centre, Churchill St., Childers, Queensland, Australia

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Johannesburg Proud to Host Orchid Olympics

Posted August 30th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events, In the News

South Africa will host the 21st World Orchid Conference (WOC21) next month. Also known as the Orchid Olympics, WOC21 runs from September 10th – 14th in Johannesburg’s Sandton Conference Centre. The event is held every three years, with the last one in Singapore in 2011. It’s one of the biggest flower shows in the world, and attracts tens of thousands of visitors. The theme for this year is “Orchids: Gold in the Green Age,” tying into the area’s gold-mining history. Apart from WOC21, there will also be displays of South African plants, including cycads, aloes, proteas, and succulents. South Africa is home to a wide range of unusual orchids, like Disas, Stenoglottis, Mystacidiums, Angraecums, and more. Check the WOC21 website for additional info.

Hiking in Pacifica

Posted August 22nd, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Misc, Photos

As Dave and I explore our new hometown, we’ve been enchanted by this beautiful area. We recently took a short hike on Devil’s Slide Trail. Until recently, this was part of California Route 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway. Nicknamed Devil’s Slide, this stretch endured decades of landslides, road closures, and drivers occasionally plunging down steep cliffs. With the recent opening of tunnel bypasses, the county turned this bit of old roadway into a great hiking trail. Now, instead of driving along steep cliffs, we can walk, and enjoy the views at a slower pace.

Pacifica Coastal Trail, Devil's Slide Trail, view of Pedro PointPacifica Coastal Trail, Devil's Slide Trail, formerly part of California Route 1, Pacific Coast Highway, good view of upturned layers of sedimentary rockYellow flowers in bloom at Pacifica Coastal Trail, Devil's Slide Trail, formerly part of California Route 1, Pacific Coast Highway

These gorgeous sights illustrate Pacifica’s coastal climate, with strong winds, salt spray, and rocky soil. There’s little rain, but lots of fog. Plants and animals need to be tough to survive the ceaseless wind and harsh conditions.

Red tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis, flying above Pacifica Coastal Trail, Devil's Slide Trail, formerly part of California Route 1, Pacific Coast HighwayConifer growing attached to cliffs above Pacifica Coastal Trail, Devil's Slide Trail, formerly part of California Route 1, Pacific Coast HighwaySucculents growing attached to cliffs above Pacifica Coastal Trail, Devil's Slide Trail, formerly part of California Route 1, Pacific Coast Highway

For years, I only knew these views as they passed by in a flash from a car window. There was hardly time to enjoy the scenery, or watch a soaring hawk ride thermals without once beating its wings. Even the crumbling cliff side holds fascinations when there’s time to study it. Slowing down makes for a great pace of life in Pacifica.

Cliffs above Pacifica Coastal Trail with warning sign for falling rocks, Devil's Slide Trail, formerly part of California Route 1, Pacific Coast HighwayView of Pacific Ocean from Pacifica Coastal Trail, Devil's Slide Trail, formerly part of California Route 1, Pacific Coast HighwayStalk of tiny purple flowers on Pacifica Coastal Trail, Devil's Slide Trail, formerly part of California Route 1, Pacific Coast Highway

A Kaleidoscope of Orchids in Singapore

Posted August 16th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events, In the News, Videos, Warm Growers

Singapore is in full bloom for the Singapore Garden Festival, and, of course, orchids are a big part of the show. The event opens today and runs until August 24th. The 33 foot (10 m) tall wall of orchids in this video is only one of the amazing displays.

In the second video, an enormous Tiger Orchid, or Grammatophyllum, is being moved into place for the festival. How do you move a 661 pound (300 kg) orchid? Carefully! It’s a rare sight in bloom, but this one is a baby compared to the biggest ones, which can weigh more than 1 ton (907 kg.)

The Singapore Garden Festival takes place at Gardens by the Bay. The displays include lots of tropical plants besides orchids, with landscape gardens, fantasy gardens, balcony gardens, and floral arrangements, among others. Check out photos of the event at The Straits Times.

More Photos From Orchids in the Park

Posted August 11th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Events, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos

Laeliocattleya Sagarik Wax 'African Beauty', orchid hybrid, Orchids in the Park 2014, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoZygonisia Rogue Brune x Acacallis cyanea, orchid hybrid, Orchids in the Park 2014, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoMoth Orchids, Phalaenopsis flowers, orchid hybrid, Orchids in the Park 2014, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Yellow Paphiopedilum, or Lady Slipper, with blue Dendrobium and orange Epidendrum in background Orchids in the Park 2014, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoCatasetum Crownfox Voodoo 'SVO' AM AOS x Catasetum pileatum v imperiale 'SVO Blood Red, orchid hybrid, Orchids in the Park 2014, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoLaeliocattleya Tropical Sunset 'Oceans Heaven' SM JOGA x Slc Circle of Life 'Trailblazer' AM AOS, orchid hybrid, Orchids in the Park 2014, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Enjoy more photos from San Francisco’s recent Orchids in the Park. With so many incredible flowers packed into a small space, it can be tough to know which way to point the camera. Luckily, every direction brings great shots.

Tulip Orchid, Anguloa virginalis x toquettii, orchid hybrid, Orchids in the Park 2014, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoTolumnia Genting Volcano, miniature orchid hybrid, Orchids in the Park 2014, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoMasdevallia Sunset Jaguar 'XKE', orchid hybrid, Orchids in the Park 2014, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Dendrobium cuthbertsonii, miniature orchid species, Orchids in the Park 2014, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoMasdevallia roseola, orchid species, Orchids in the Park 2014, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoOncidium phalaenopsis 'Pacifica', orchid species, Orchids in the Park 2014, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

These different orchids have diverse colors, shapes, and sizes. They also have a range of temperature, water, and light needs. The final four photos show a few cool-growing orchid varieties, Masdevallias, Dendrobiums, and Oncidiums. which can live outdoors in San Francisco and other cool, foggy climates.

Orchids in the Park 2014

Posted August 5th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos

Masdevallia Sunset Jaguar 'XKE', orchid hybrid, Orchids in the Park 2014 at Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoPaphiopedilum flower, Lady Slipper, orchid hybrid, Orchids in the Park 2014 at Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoCymbidium aloifolium var. simulans, orchid species, Orchids in the Park 2014 at Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Dendrobium Hibiki, miniature orchid hybrid, Orchids in the Park 2014 at Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoMaxillaria molitor, orchid species, Orchids in the Park 2014 at Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoAnguloa virginalis x toquettii, orchid hybrid, Tulip Orchid, Orchids in the Park 2014 at Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

It’s San Francisco’s smaller orchid show, but Orchids in the Park always manages to impress. This past weekend was no exception. Here are the first of Dave’s photos from this year’s event.

Scaphosepalum gibberosum 'Vistamont', miniature orchid species with bizarre flowers, Orchids in the Park 2014 at Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoCleisostoma birmanicum, orchid species, Orchids in the Park 2014 at Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoPaphiopedilum flowers, Lady Slipper, orchid hybrid, Orchids in the Park 2014 at Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Masdevallia roseola, orchid species, Orchids in the Park 2014 at Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoBulbophyllum carunculatum 'Andreas Red', orchid species, Orchids in the Park 2014 at Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San FranciscoEncyclia guatemalensis, orchid species, Orchids in the Park 2014 at Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

This show and sale always exhibits so much more than the usual supermarket orchids. Phal and Dendrobium hybrids are great, but they are only a tiny fraction of the orchid world. No other flower family has the incredible diversity of orchids — their astonishing color combinations, mind-bending shapes, and wide range of fragrances. These unusual, uncommon flowers were great highlights of this year’s event.

August Orchid Shows

Posted July 31st, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

Orchid shows strut their stuff from Hilo to Copenhagen, Toronto to Singapore, and Sao Paulo to Brisbane. All of these events offer extraordinary flowers, and many also have orchid experts and vendors.

August 1
Santa Cruz Orchid Society Silent Auction & Ice Cream Social, Live Oak Grange Hall, 1900 17th Ave., Santa Cruz, California
August 1 – 3
Festival Trujillano de Orquideas, Coliseo Ruben Zayas Montanez, Calle Munez Rivera, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico
August 1 – 3
Hilo Orchid Society Annual Show & Sale, Edith Kanakaole Stadium, 350 Kalanikoa St., Hilo, Hawaii
August 1 – 3
Orchids by the Sea, Dee Why RSL Club, Pittwater Rd., Dee Why, NSW, Australia
August 1 – 3
Exposicao Nacional de Orquideas de Varginha, Espaco Botafogo, Rua Alves e Silva, 74, Centro, Varginha, Minas Gerais, Brazil
August 1 – 3
Exposicao Nacional de Orquideas de Lagoa Santa, Colegio M2, Orla da Lagoa Central, Rua Vereador Ildeu Viana Matos 273, Centro, Lagoa Santa, Minas Gerais, Brazil
August 2
California Sierra Nevada Judging Center Annual Speaker’s Day, Odd Fellows Hall, 1831 Howe Ave., Sacramento, California
August 2 – 3
Orchids in the Park Show & Sale, San Francisco County Fair Building, 9th Ave. & Lincoln Way, San Francisco, California
August 3
Stawell Orchid Society Show, Laidlaw Park, Patrick St., Stawell, Victoria, Australia
August 6 – 9
Newcastle Orchid Society Show, Edgeworth Centre, Edgeworth, NSW, Australia

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How Orchids Became Britain’s Favorite Flower

Posted July 29th, 2014 by Marc Cohen
Categories: In the News

London’s Daily Telegraph recounts how Moth Orchids became Britain’s favorite flowers. There’s no doubt that the British love orchids. Over 200 years ago, tropical orchids began arriving among the spoils of empire. Britain sent out explorers and collectors to bring back more. Soon rainforests were being stripped of these and other botanical treasures, which filled ships back to Europe.

Initially, growers were unsure how to provide conditions for these “air plants” in their hothouses. Eventually, in 1787, Kew botanists coaxed the tropical Prosthechea cochleata, or cockleshell orchid, to bloom in Britain for the first time. When news spread, every botanical enthusiast was desperate to cultivate the mysterious plants, which thrived high up in the forest canopy, without visible nourishment in some of the most remote and beautiful regions on earth.

From Darwin’s orchid fascination to the founding of the first orchid society in 1897, the British love for orchids has only grown over time. Fortunately, most all of today’s orchid market involves mass production greenhouses and scientific efficiency, not jungle expeditions. “We are now able to pop into our local garden centre or supermarket and pick up a piece of tropical paradise whenever we want.”