Archive for the 'Cool Growers' Category

A Wild, Weedy, and Intoxicating Orchid, Part 2

Monday, November 8th, 2021

The Broad-Leaved Helleborine is indeed a wild, weedy, and intoxicating orchid. It’s an invasive species in North America, with nectar that drugs its insect pollinators. On the coast, just south of San Francisco, the plants near us grow in a tough botanical neighborhood. Their small patch of woods on a steep hillside is full of […]

A Sweet Little Caucaea Orchid

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

This Caucaea was a great find at a San Francisco Orchid Society sale last year. It’s a cool-growing miniature with a strong, sweet fragrance. Caucaeas are in the Oncidium family, and they’re named after the Cauca region of the northern Andes. Caucaea is pronounced “kaw-KAY-uh.” This species is Caucaea phalaenopsis, named for its resemblance to […]

A Wild, Weedy, and Intoxicating Orchid: Epipactis helleborine

Thursday, October 7th, 2021

Have you ever seen a drunk wasp? I have. Dave and I recently spotted one while were on a trail in a small wooded area near our home in Pacifica. The insect, shown in the first two photos above, was intoxicated from the nectar of a wild orchid, the Broad-Leaved Helleborine. The wasp hung upside […]

Summer in Our Garden

Sunday, August 22nd, 2021

Summers on the Northern California coast are typically cool and foggy, and this year has been no exception. That allows us to revel in cool-growing Cymbidium, Epidendrum, and Masdevallia orchids, as well as other plants like fuchsias, poppies, and nasturtiums. Their bright colors stand out against the green background, enticing bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and humans. […]

My Little Red Sarcochilus

Tuesday, July 20th, 2021

About five years ago, I bought this little Sarcochilus hybrid at an orchid show, and it’s been a reliable bloomer. It pumps out brilliant red flowers from a four inch (10 cm) pot for a month or two in late spring and early summer. They’re such a rich red that my cell phone camera can’t […]

The Surprising Putty Root Orchid

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021

Thanks so much to my friend Carola, who has generously let me post her photos of Putty Root Orchids near her home in Virginia. She’s taken pictures over the seasons, so they illustrate a year in the life of this extraordinary North American species. These orchids boast handsome leaves with alternating green and silvery-white pinstripes. […]

Orchid Post Mortem: Ada

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

Every now and then, I manage to kill an orchid. Recently, it was my Ada aurantiaca. The species has been renamed Brassia aurantiaca, but I bought it under the Ada name, so that’s how I usually refer to it. After it died, I realized that we didn’t take many photos of it over the years. […]

Spring Equinox Orchids

Saturday, March 20th, 2021

Lots of orchids have been blooming in our late winter garden, eager for today’s change of season. My favorite purple Zygo reliably boasts stunning flowers, shown in the first row of photos above. Their beauty is surpassed by their sweet fragrance, which is one of my favorites. The second row features a wonderful Coelogyne, which […]

Our Winter Garden Blooms

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

For over 30 years, I’ve been living and gardening in California, and I’ve certainly become spoiled by the fact that we can garden year-round here. But I did grow up in New Jersey, and went to college in upstate New York, so I also remember ice cold winters when nothing was growing. Outdoors was mostly […]

The Streaked Rock Orchid: A Tough Mini from Down Under

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

The Streaked Rock Orchid is a wonderful Australian native. Its strange flowers resemble elaborate birds in flight. Its little, pencil-like leaves turn purplish-red in the sun, making it look like a pointy, colorful hedgehog. In the wild, Dendrobium striolatum lives attached to rocky cliffs in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania. Our […]