Capital Orchids at the US Capitol

Posted June 9th, 2024 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

Phalaenopsis tetraspis, Moth Orchid species flowers, Phal, white purple and yellow flowers, United States Botanic Garden, orchid glasshouse, United States Capitol, Washington DCPaphiopedilum victoria-regina, Lady Slipper orchid flowers, orchid species flowers, Paph, United States Botanic Garden, orchid glasshouse, United States Capitol, Washington DCVanda Pure's Wax 'Carmela', orchid hybrid flowers, large purple flowers, United States Botanic Garden, orchid glasshouse, United States Capitol, Washington DC

Did you know that you can find remarkable orchids only a few steps from the US Capitol? The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) sits on the National Mall, just across from Congress. It’s the oldest botanic garden in the country, and has great outdoor and indoor plant collections, including orchids. Dave and I recently visited, and the amazing displays left us in awe.

Dendrobium capituliflorum, orchid species flowers, cluster of small green and white flowers, United States Botanic Garden, orchid glasshouse, United States Capitol, Washington DCBulbophyllum echinolabium, orchid species flower, close up of flower lip, weird flower, United States Botanic Garden, orchid glasshouse, United States Capitol, Washington DCPhragmipedium Inca Embers, orchid hybrid flower, Phrag, Lady Slipper orchid, red and yellow flower, United States Botanic Garden, orchid glasshouse, United States Capitol, Washington DC

Dendrobium Mousmee, orchid hybrid flowers, United States Botanic Garden, orchid glasshouse, United States Capitol, Washington DCDendrobium unicum, orchid species flower, orange purple and white flower, United States Botanic Garden, orchid glasshouse, United States Capitol, Washington DCBrassia glumacea, orchid species flowers, Spider Orchid, United States Botanic Garden, orchid glasshouse, United States Capitol, Washington DC

The USBG’s Orchid House is packed with an impressive variety of stunning specimens, rare species, and wonderful fragrances. The orchids are all artfully displayed, many mounted as air plants at every level of the garden. It’s a very dense jungle, and very photogenic, too.

Epidendrum ilense, orchid species flowers, white flowers with fringed lips, United States Botanic Garden, orchid glasshouse, United States Capitol, Washington DCBulbophyllum macranthum, orchid species flower, United States Botanic Garden, orchid glasshouse, United States Capitol, Washington DCVanilla planifolia orchid, vanilla vines growing up 3-story brick wall, United States Botanic Garden, Garden Court, United States Capitol, Washington DC

There are also orchids in the Tropics glasshouse and the Garden Court. They include a 3-story tall vanilla vine growing attached to the brick wall by the gift shop entrance, shown in the last photo. With all the botanical wonders in every direction, we almost didn’t notice it. These dozen photos are only a quick glance of our visit. I’ll post more from the USBG soon. If you’re in Washington DC, be sure to visit this wondrous garden.

June Orchid Events

Posted May 31st, 2024 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events

The orchid schedule slows down in June, but there are still events listed for five continents below. Check with your local orchid society for more in your area, as some don’t put out their publicity until the last minute.

June 1
North of England Orchid Society Monthly Meeting & Show, Hoghton Village Hall, Blackburn Old Rd., Preston, UK
June 1 – 2
Central Florida Orchid Society Show & Sale, Florida National Armory, 2809 S. Ferncreek Ave., Orlando, Florida
June 1 – 2
Calgary Orchid Show, Genesis Centre, 7555 Falconridge Blvd. NE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
June 6 – 9
Ranyukai Orchid Exhibition, World Import Mart Building, 4th Floor, Sunshine City, Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, Japan
June 7
Walking the Landscape: Orchids of Arnside, Old Station Buildings, Station Rd., Arnside, Carnforth, UK
June 7 – 9
Conejo Orchid Society Show & Sale, Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. Janss Rd., Thousand Oaks, California
June 7 – 9
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas de Valinhos, Parque Municipal Monsenhor Bruno Nardini (Recinto da Festa do Figo), Rua Dom João VI, 82, Parque Planalto, Valinhos, São Paulo, Brazil
June 7 – 9
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas de Pirajuí, Igreja Nossa Senhora Aparecida, Rua Sebastião Rizzo, s/nº, Pirajuí, São Paulo, Brazil
June 8
Orchid Digest Speakers Day, in-person and online hybrid event, Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, California
June 8
Native Orchids of Rocky Mountain National Park – lecture and outdoor exploration, Fall River Visitor Center, 3450 Fall River Rd., Estes Park, Colorado

Read the rest of this post »

A Sparkling White Masdevallia Orchid

Posted May 20th, 2024 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Fertilizing, Growing, Photos, Watering

Masdevallia coccinea alba 'Blanca', orchid species flower, white flower, flower with water drops, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea alba 'Blanca', orchid species flowers, white flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea alba 'Blanca', orchid species flowers and leaves, white flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

These stunning white Masdevallia flowers are remarkable for their beauty, and also for what they show about orchid variability. Masdevallia coccinea is native to Colombia, where it lives high in the Andes from 8000-11,000 feet (approx. 2500-3500 m.) Known in Spanish as la banderita (little flag,) this species comes in a range of distinct colors. Each color appeals to different pollinators at different elevations, with white and yellow in higher altitudes.

Masdevallia coccinea alba 'Blanca', orchid species flower, white flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea alba 'Blanca', orchid species flowers, white flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea alba 'Blanca', orchid species flowers, white flower and light cream color flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

I bought this plant last summer at Orchids in the Park, and it’s putting on an amazing display for its first bloom. It’s meeting the very high standards of the two other color varieties I’ve grown for years, the yellow and hot pink ones shown in the final row of photos. They’re great examples of how much orchids may differ, but still be considered the same species.

Masdevallia coccinea alba 'Blanca', orchid species flowers and buds, white flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea, orchid species flower, bright pink flower, flower with water drops, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M Wayne Miller' AM/AOS, orchid species flower, yellow flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

No matter its hue, this species needs regular watering, cool temps, good humidity, and strong air movement. I grow my plants outdoors all year on the foggy Northern California coast. In these cool conditions, they’re happy with morning sun. They get light doses of fertilizer, and definitely enjoy an occasional dose of worm castings, also. If I find any more colors for sale, you can be sure that I’m going to add them to my collection.

Orchid Show Shines in San Mateo

Posted May 10th, 2024 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos

Renanthera monachica, orchid species flower, red orange and yellow flower, spotted flower, Peninsula Orchid Society and Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaProsthechea Green Hornet, orchid hybrid flower, weird flower, AKA Encyclia, Clamshell Orchid, Peninsula Orchid Society and Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis Tying Shin Fly Eagle 'Wilson #66', orchid hybrid flower, Phal, Moth Orchid, red yellow and purple flower, Peninsula Orchid Society and Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show, San Mateo, California

Phalaenopsis schilleriana 'Rose Perfume', orchid species flower, Moth Orchid, Phal, Peninsula Orchid Society and Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaSarcochilus Little Rey Vladimir, orchid hybrid flowers, yellow and white flower, Butterfly Orchid, Peninsula Orchid Society and Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaCymbidium Mitzi 'Mildred Munday', orchid hybrid flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society and Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show, San Mateo, California

At the end of April, Dave and I enjoyed attending a little orchid show in nearby San Mateo, south of San Francisco. The Peninsula Orchid Society and the Gold Coast Cymbidium Society joined forces for an event that was full of winning orchids. Elegant, exotic, weird, wonderful, large, and small were packed into wonderfully diverse displays.

Vanda Pachara Delight, orchid hybrid flowers, large purple flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society and Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaCymbidium Memoria Thuy_Hong Bui 'My Van', orchid hybrid flower, Peninsula Orchid Society and Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaGrammatophyllum scriptum var. leopardianum, orchid species flowers, spotted flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society and Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show, San Mateo, California

Laeliocattleya Fire Dance 'Patricia', orchid hybrid flowers, Cattleya orchid, corsage orchid, orange and purple flowers, Peninsula Orchid Society and Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaPeninsula Orchid Society Show display table, Peninsula Orchid Society and Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show, San Mateo, CaliforniaPeninsula Orchid Society Show display table, Peninsula Orchid Society and Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show, San Mateo, California

In addition to the displays, there were lots of vendors and friendly orchid folk. I’m still sorting through our photos, so check back soon for more. If you’re unsure whether a small show is worth a visit, I’d suggest going to check it out. You might be pleasantly surprised at how many amazing flowers you’ll see.

May Orchid Events

Posted May 1st, 2024 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events

May brings lots of great events, with many around Mother’s Day. Later in the month, the Redland International Orchid Festival in Homestead, Florida is one of the country’s largest orchid shows, and London’s Chelsea Flower Show features lots of glitz, glamour, and royalty alongside the greenery.

May 1 – 5
Festival de Orquídeas, Centro del Sur Mall, 296X+42C, PR-163, Ponce, Puerto Rico
May 2 – 4
Hawkesbury District Orchid Society Show, Richmond Market Place, 78 March St., Richmond, NSW, Australia
May 3 – 4
New Mexico Orchid Guild Show & Sale, Albuquerque Garden Center, 10120 Lomas Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico
May 3 – 5
Platinum Coast Orchid Society Show & Sale, Kiwanis Island Park Gymnasium, 951 Kiwanis Island Park Rd., Merritt Island, Florida
May 3 – 5
Exposición Nacional de Orquídeas, Salon de Usos Múltiples, 5to. Nivel – Parqueo Municipal, Boulevard Walter Thilo Deininger (junto al Parque Central,) Antiguo Cuscatlan, El Salvador
May 3 – 5
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas, Centro de Convenções Palácio das Orquídeas, Av. Dr. Amym José Daher, Piracanjuba, Goiás, Brazil
May 3 – 5
Les Chasseurs d’Orchidées Show, La ferme de l’Abbaye d’Aulne, Rue Vandervelde 275, Thuin, Belgium
May 3 – 12
Cultivo de Vainilla, Exposición de Orquídeas, Conferencias, Ventas, Talleres, Museo Franz Mayer, Av. Hidalgo 45, Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México, Guerrero, Cuauhtémoc, Ciudad de México, Mexico
May 4
Bucks County Orchid Society Auction, Churchville Nature Center, 501 Churchville Ln., Churchville, Pennsylvania
May 4
Devon Orchid Society Show, Public Hall, Station Rd., Budleigh Salterton, Devon, UK

Read the rest of this post »

A Lovable Little Lepanthes Orchid

Posted April 26th, 2024 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Growing, Intermediate Growers, Mini Orchids, Photos

Lepanthes regularis, orchid species flower, miniature orchid, small flower, pleurothallid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaLepanthes regularis, orchid species flower and bud, miniature orchid, small flower, pleurothallid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaLepanthes regularis, orchid species flower and leaf, miniature orchid, small flower, pleurothallid, grown indoors in Pacifica, California

For years, I’ve needed glasses to see small things. Despite that, I bought this lovable little Lepanthes orchid at February’s Pacific Orchid Expo. I knew that its blossoms would be tiny, colorful specks. A month after bringing it home, it popped open a flower, then another, and another. It’s kept going ever since. The charming blooms are not easy to see in detail, nor to photograph. But even without magnification, their burst of color makes them resemble petite pieces of candy.

Lepanthes regularis, orchid species flowers and leaf, front view and side view of flowers, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaLepanthes regularis, orchid species flower and leaf, miniature orchid, small flower, pleurothallid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaLepanthes regularis, orchid species flowers and leaf, front view and side view of flowers, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown indoors in Pacifica, California

Lepanthes regularis is a pleurothallid native to Costa Rica and Panama. Its blooms are a mix of brilliant burgundy, yellow, and pale yellow-green. Each mini blossom is only about 3/16 inch (5 mm) tall. Up close, their flower lips look like they have horns. I’ve been keeping my plant in a goldfish bowl with a glass plate cover. It’s potted in moss, and sitting on a layer of marbles with water below the flower pot. That keeps the humidity very high, like Lepanthes’ cloud forest homes. It’s in shade, and receives regular, dilute doses of fertilizer. Lepanthes can’t dry out. They need to be kept moist, but not soggy.

Lepanthes regularis, orchid species flowers and leaf, front view and side view of flowers, miniature orchid, small flowers, pleurothallid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaLepanthes regularis, orchid species flower, miniature orchid, small flower, pleurothallid, grown indoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaGoldfish bowl made into small terrarium for Lepanthes regularis, orchid species, miniature orchid, pleurothallid, grown indoors in Pacifica, California

Curiously, even though these orchids are small, they constitute one of the largest plant genera in the world. There are over one thousand Lepanthes species, and frequently new ones are scientifically discovered. The genus ranges from Mexico to Brazil. Many varieties feature bright colors and unusual shapes. Fortunately, cameras and magnifying lenses make it easier to enjoy their lovely flowers.

Study Shows Orchid Family Emerged and Thrived Alongside Dinosaurs

Posted April 13th, 2024 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, In the News

Scientists from the UK, Latin America, Asia, and Australia have assembled the most extensive orchid family tree ever created. It’s part of a new study, which also finds that orchids first evolved about 85 million years ago. That means they shared the earth with dinosaurs for about 20 million years. Contrary to previous works which showed that orchids emerged in Australia, this research points to origins in the Northern Hemisphere. They’re now one of the most widespread flower families, living all over the world except for Antarctica and the driest deserts. Orchids even live in the Arctic.

Better understanding of complex orchid relationships helps in crafting conservation policies. An estimated 56% of orchids are threatened with extinction. Professor Alexandre Antonelli, Director of Science at RBG, Kew and senior author of the study, stated that “Orchids are not only extraordinary jewels of nature, they also hold untold mysteries about life on Earth: how species evolve, adapt and move. Safeguarding their future is critical ….”

April Orchid Events

Posted April 1st, 2024 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events

From Singapore to San Diego to Saskatoon, orchid lovers are busy this month. Check out these events happening around the globe.

April 3 – 6
American Orchid Society Spring Members Meeting, Krull-Smith, 2800 W. Ponkan Rd., Apopka, Florida
April 5 – 6
Central East Texas Orchid Society & Sale, First Christian Church, 4202 S. Broadway Ave., Tyler, Texas
April 5 – 6
Bay of Plenty Orchid Society Show, War Memorial Hall, Main St., Te Puke, New Zealand
April 5 – 6
Sunshine Coast Orchid Show & Sale, Uniting Church, 56c Queen St., Caloundra, Queensland, Australia
April 5 – 7
Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society International Show & Sale, Oaks Expo Center, 100 Station Ave., Oaks, Pennsylvania
April 5 – 7
Apopka International Spring Orchid Festival, Krull-Smith, 2800 W. Ponkan Rd., Apopka, Florida
April 5 – 7
Townsville Orchid Society Autumn Show, Townsville Orchid Society Hall, Charles St., Kirwan, Queensland, Australia
April 5 – 7
Exposition Internationale d’Orchidées, Salle des Fêtes, 1 Rue De La Clef De Sol, Volgelsheim, France
April 5 – 7
Exposição Orquídeas & Outras Plantas, Jardim Zoológico de Lisboa, Praça Marechal Humberto Delgado, Lisboa, Portugal
April 5 – 7
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas de Campos, Centro de Convenções da UENF, Parque California, Campos dos Goytacazes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Read the rest of this post »

Spring Equinox Orchids

Posted March 19th, 2024 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Photos

Zygopetalum BG White 'Stonehurst', Zygo orchid hybrid flower, purple green and white flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaLaelia anceps 'Helen', orchid species flower, cattleya alliance, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaEpidendrum orchid flowers, orange and yellow flowers, flower with water drops, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Arpophyllum giganteum, Giant Hyacinth Orchid, orchid species flowers and leaves, tall cluster of small purple flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaPleurothallis palliolata, orchid species flower, weird flower, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaPleurothallis restrepioides, AKA Stelis restrepioides, orchid species flowers and buds, pleurothallid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

As spring begins today, these orchids have been flowering in our garden over the winter. Regular readers of this blog won’t be surprised that this post is heavy on the Cymbidiums, which are in the six photos below. The non-Cymbidiums in the six photos above include a Zygo, a Laelia, an Epidendrum, a Giant Hyacinth Orchid, and two pleurothallids.

Cymbidium Green Zenith 4N x Tracyanum 4N, orchid hybrid flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flower, flower with water drops, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Cymbidium tracyanum, orchid species flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flower, yellow and white flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Fortunately, winter brought frequent rains, enough to keep Northern California out of drought. There were some big storms, but none too bad, and it wasn’t too cold. Our rainy season isn’t done yet, so those things are still a possibility. For now, I’ll enjoy these great blooms, and look forward to more on the way. Happy Equinox.

More Photos from Pacific Orchid Expo 2024

Posted March 12th, 2024 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos

Cymbidium orchid flower, white and purple flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2024, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaEpidendrum orchid hybrid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2024, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum Ruby Paradise, orchid hybrid flower, Lady Slipper, Paph, Pacific Orchid Expo 2024, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Propescapetalum Glicky 'Gold Country', zygopetalum orchid hybrid flower, zygo, Pacific Orchid Expo 2024, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium Hsinying Chrysopense 'Marjorie' AM/AOS, orchid hybrid flowers, purple and orange flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2024, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaOrchid display table with a variety of orchids, Pacific Orchid Expo 2024, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

By the time I leave an orchid show, like last month’s Pacific Orchid Expo, I’m on orchid overload. Sorting through our photos, I find fascinating details I hadn’t noticed, and I’m even more amazed. Brilliant colors, showy flowers, and strange shapes reveal themselves. And there are always new hybrids, and species I’ve never seen before. Enjoy these orchids, and check back again for more finds from this year’s show.

Dendrobium orchid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2024, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California Masdevallia angulata, orchid species flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2024, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaAnoectochilus koshunensis, Jewel Orchids, orchid species, variegated orchid leaves, mini orchids, Pacific Orchid Expo 2024, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Bonatea speciosa 'Green Egret', orchid species flower, weird flower, side view of flower, green and white flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2024, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaOrchid display table with a variety of orchids, Pacific Orchid Expo 2024, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaOncidium Jiuhbao Gold 'Tainan' AM/AOS, orchid hybrid flowers, Dancing Lady Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2024, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California