Archive for the 'Cool Growers' Category

A Sparkling White Masdevallia Orchid

Monday, May 20th, 2024

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. […]

Spring Equinox Orchids

Tuesday, March 19th, 2024

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 […]

Island Orchid Adapts to Find New Pollinator

Wednesday, January 10th, 2024

Like all living organisms, orchids adapt to survive. An orchid arrived on a remote island, without the bumblebee species which pollinates it. Goodyera henryi lives in parts of east Asia, including the Japanese mainland. When it reached Kozu Island, it might have died out without reproducing. However, Goodyera similis, a closely related species, also lives […]

More Blooms from a Legendary Masdevallia Orchid

Tuesday, November 28th, 2023

I’m captivated by this legendary Masdevallia veitchiana with its bold colors. In mid-October, it opened a gorgeous flower. A few weeks later, it was followed by a second, and then a third! The oldest blossom has been damaged by the elements, but it’s still standing tall. Together, all three are putting on a great show […]

A Legendary Masdevallia Orchid

Friday, July 7th, 2023

It only takes one look at this orchid to understand why it’s nicknamed the King of the Masdevallias, and is considered a national treasure of Peru. I bought this plant at last winter’s Pacific Orchid Expo, and was thrilled when it recently opened its first bloom, a brilliant orange flower with tiny purple hairs which […]

These Coral Root Orchids Are Welcoming Summer

Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

The warm and sunny colors of these Coral Roots Orchids are a perfect way to welcome the first day of summer. Coral Roots, or Corallorhizas, are strange, leafless orchids. They live underground except when they flower. With no chlorophyll, they instead take nourishment from fungi in the soil. The wild orchids in these photos are […]

Spring Orchids in Our Garden

Wednesday, May 10th, 2023

After a wet winter, our spring garden is full of orchids, especially Cymbidiums. Some of the flowers were mangled by strong rains, winds, and hail, but there’s still an impressive display. Along with the Cymbidiums in this post, there are also Masdevallias, a Coelogyne, an Epidendrum, and a Dendrobium. Originating from the Himalayas, the Andes, […]

Our Rain-Soaked Winter Garden

Friday, January 27th, 2023

After years of drought, we don’t typically complain about rainy days in California. More than three weeks of storms, however, led to lots of complaints. From December 26th to January 19th, we received approximately 20 inches (50.8 cm) of precipitation, including a single day when we had over 5 inches (12.7 cm.) We also had […]

New Zealanders Can Help Unravel a 250-Year-Old Orchid Mystery

Tuesday, December 27th, 2022

Massey University student Hayden Jones and Botany Curator Carlos Lehnebach are launching a citizen-science project to solve an orchid mystery. Maikuku, also known as the White Sun Orchid or Thelymitra longifolia, is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most common orchids. Although it was scientifically discovered 250 years ago, botanists wonder if its beautiful white blooms […]

Big, Bold Sobralia Blooms

Thursday, December 15th, 2022

This Sobralia orchid has been a reliable cool-grower in our garden for over a decade. Its scientific name, Sobralia macrantha, means “big-flowered Sobralia” and it’s no lie. These large, purple blooms with their frilly lips can span 10 inches (25 cm,) but mine are usually a little smaller. A few years ago, I moved this […]