Archive for June, 2010

Wild Orchids

Monday, June 28th, 2010

As summer begins, this news article describes wild orchids blooming across Northern California. There are photos of the Stream Orchid, Epipactis gigantea, growing in the wild, and info about other lesser-known, but still fascinating, Golden State species. The article includes a good summary of orchid care basics for more commonly grown varieties. Wild orchids are […]


Friday, June 25th, 2010

If you saw a Thunia without flowers, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a cornstalk. When it’s in bloom, however, there’s no doubt that it’s an orchid. Thunia flowers look like Cattleyas that haven’t opened completely. The 5 inch (13 cm) wide blooms hang in clusters, pulling down the tops of their 4 ft. […]


Monday, June 21st, 2010

To honor today’s summer solstice, here are a few sunny-looking Masdevallias. While we enjoy long hours of daylight in the northern half of the planet, plants enjoy the ability to photosynthesize a little longer. Incredible flowers like these are the result. Even if you’re having a hectic Monday, I hope you can take a few […]

Garden Conservancy

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

What does the infamous prison at Alcatraz have to do with conservation? The Garden Conservancy is a non-profit organization that helps to preserve important gardens, including the ones around the former prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. Founded in 1989, the Garden Conservancy has helped Alcatraz and more than 90 gardens in the […]

Beneficial Insects

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

When trying to fight insect pests, remember that some of your best allies are other insects. For every aphid, mite, or beetle munching on a flower bud, there are hungry ladybugs, dragonflies, and spiders looking for lunch. These and many other beneficial insects work for free, have no toxic side effects, and only wish to […]

Offshore Flow

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

When local meteorologists use the phrase “offshore flow,” it’s going to heat up here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Orchid growers on the coast, like me, normally take advantage of the cool fog flowing off the Northern Pacific to maintain good humidity. Those moderate conditions allow many orchid varieties to grow outdoors all year. […]


Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

UPDATE: The spammers have made it impossible to keep comments open here. Instead, please check the guidelines below, and then go to any recent blog post where the comments are still open. You can ask your question anywhere. Thanks! Do you have an orchid question? Post questions or comments here, and find an answer from […]

Stream Orchid

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

My own orchid collection has species and hybrids from all over the world, but only one that’s native to San Francisco. It may be less glamorous than its tropical relatives, but this Epipactis, or Stream Orchid, really enjoys the local climate. This species has a large range over western North America, spanning from Canada south […]

June Orchid Shows

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Orchid shows wind down in the Northern Hemisphere, as summer heat complicates orchid logistics. The Native Orchid Conference in Edmonton, Canada is a notable exception. Starting June 12th, the conference includes perfectly timed field-trips to see North American native orchids at peak blooming times. Meanwhile, as winter begins Down Under, Australian orchid lovers can find […]