Archive for the 'Cool Growers' Category

The Deceptive Ways of the Calypso Orchid

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

In Defense of Plants exposes The Deceptive Ways of the Calypso Orchid. This dainty, charming species grows in northern forests of North America, Europe, and Asia, where it’s pollinated by bumblebees. The bees are attracted by the orchid’s sweet fragrance, yellow hairs on the flower lip which mimic pollen, and nectar spurs. But the yellow […]

Summer Solstice Orchids

Saturday, June 20th, 2020

Here on the Northern California coast, summers are often cool and foggy. Right on schedule for today’s summer solstice, we were greeted this morning by a heavy fog bank. It’s the perfect weather for Dave’s and my favorite orchids, Masdevallias, which live in high mountain cloud forests. These tropical, triangular beauties feature stunningly brilliant colors. […]

Samurai Orchids Fight to Survive in the Wild

Sunday, June 7th, 2020

In Japan, BotanyBoy describes the plight of the Samurai Orchid. Cultivated for centuries, they’re now endangered in the wild. Populations have shrunk as native habitats have been destroyed or altered by humans. Old growth forests only remain in small, disjointed pockets. They include areas around temples, shrines, rivers, and the very tops of mountain ridges. […]

The Power of Local Orchid Conservation

Saturday, May 16th, 2020

The Pink Lady Slipper, or Cypripedium acaule, used to grow wild in the Philadelphia area, but now is uncommon. It’s one of the most enchanting and elegant orchids native to the Eastern USA and Canada. When local plants were discovered last June, experts from nearby Longwood Gardens jumped into action. They hand-pollinated the flowers, and […]

Our Spring Garden

Monday, April 27th, 2020

Our spring garden is racing along and full of flowers. The winter rains were light, but it was apparently enough to make things burst into growth. The photos begin with a few outdoor orchids in the first row. There’s my favorite fragrant Zygo, a vigorous Australian Sarcochilus, and a stunning Cymbidium species, all thriving in […]

Paul Sterry Finds Rare, Fragile Ghost Orchids

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

Photographer and conservationist Paul Sterry saw a Ghost Orchid in 1986. Thirty-three years later, in 2019, he found another. His remarkable photos reveal a flower that very few people see in real life: the Ghost Orchid, or Epipogium aphyllum. (Even though it shares a common name, it’s different than the famous Florida Ghost Orchid in […]

A Big Season for Cymbidium Orchids

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

The California coast is already a beautiful place, and Cymbidium orchids make it even better. Since we moved to Pacifica several years ago, we’ve acquired more of them. Dave occasionally brings a nice one home from the grocery store. Usually they bloom in different seasons, but this year they all decided to flower over the […]

Dragon Discovery: The Dracula Smaug Orchid

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

RBG Kew reports on Dracula smaug, a newly discovered orchid. This orchid isn’t named after the vampire legend; “Dracula” means “little dragon” in Latin, and “Smaug” is the name of the fire-breathing dragon from JRR Tolkien’s classic, The Hobbit. The species was discovered in cloud forests of northwestern Ecuador, near the Colombian border. Even though […]

More Native Colorado Orchids

Saturday, September 14th, 2019

It’s always a pleasure to see orchids growing happily in the wild. During a recent family hike in Colorado’s San Juan National Forest, we spotted a couple of native orchid varieties. The first three rows of photos show the charming Goodyera oblongifolia, or Western Rattlesnake Plaintain. It’s named for its reticulated leaves which resemble snakeskin. […]

Deceptive New Zealand Orchids Pretend That They’re Mushrooms

Sunday, September 8th, 2019

Radio New Zealand exposes a tale of botanical deceit. Corybas, also known as Spider Orchids, are strange little plants which inhabit the New Zealand forest floor. Humans can’t smell their mushroom-scented blooms, but fungus gnats can. They’re tricked into pollinating the flowers. To study how that works, orchid researcher Carlos Lehnebach converted his bathtub into an […]