Archive for the 'Cool Growers' Category

Orchids for Summer

Friday, June 21st, 2019

Celebrate today’s summer solstice with this wonderful Irish Marsh Orchid, blooming last week in County Kerry. This species is native only to the Emerald Isle. In the Irish language, it’s called Magairlin gaelach.┬áThe intense colors and spotted patterns on the flower lip rival the showiness of many better-known tropical cousins. These European terrestrial species can […]

Orchids Living on the Coast

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Life is great on the Northern California coast, but it can be tough for plants. Strong winds and chilly fog can be big challenges for our garden. Fortunately, the vast and diverse orchid family provides lots of choices. Here are three tenacious orchids that are happily living just 1/3 mile (0.5 km) from the ocean. […]

Orchids in Our Spring Garden

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

After a rainy winter, our spring garden has burst into bloom, with orchids and more. The first two photos are not orchids: a very tough red rose and a brilliant yellow and white Tidy Tips. We didn’t know the rose was in our backyard for a few years, since it was completely encased by a […]

An Orchid Phantasm in a Pennsylvania Forest

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Why is a weird, parasitic orchid from Japan growing near Philadelphia? The Asian species, Cyrtosia septentrionalis, has popped up on the grounds of Longwood Gardens, and nobody really knows why. This strange orchid is a parasite on a soil fungus, and is considered impossible to cultivate. It could be that some seeds hitchhiked with other […]

Orchids by the Sea

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Late autumn gives rise to a lot of outdoor orchid blooms at our home in Pacifica. Some of the flowers may be a little battered by the elements, but they can still survive for many weeks. In the past couple months, these plants have endured heavy rains, strong winds, and two weeks of bad, smoky […]

Yes, There Are Orchids in Iceland

Monday, August 13th, 2018

In a chilly, windy July rain, near a trail with a long name, in between glaciers with longer names, orchids bloom in southern Iceland. Orchids near the Arctic Circle? In fact, orchids live just about everywhere on earth, including Iceland, which is home to seven native species. Two of them are shown here. The Heath […]

Magical Masdevallia Orchids

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

When it comes to spring blooms in our garden,┬áthe Masdevallias really stand out. There are still some Cymbidiums flowering, and the Epidendrums never stop, but these brilliant colors steal the show. The orange flowers belong to a hybrid, Masdevallia ignea x falcata. Some of the blooms are battered by the elements, but they last for […]

Fermilab Plants Rare Native Orchids

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

What do rare orchids and particle physics have in common? The folks at Fermilab are in the business of subatomic discoveries, but they’re also part of a project to restore native prairie. On their campus outside of Chicago, they’ve been bringing back native plants like the Eastern Prairie Fringed Orchid. This species is endangered throughout […]

Winter Blooms in Our Garden

Monday, February 5th, 2018

The Northern California coast is already a beautiful place, but winter orchid blooms make it even better. The plants in these photos are reliable performers in our garden every year. We grow lots of Cymbidiums, which do very well in our climate. And so do some other orchid varieties, like cool-growing Zygos, Epidendrums, Laelias, and […]

Cymbidium Season

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Cymbidiums adorn much of the California coast. Many varieties bloom in autumn, when orchid lovers can spot them in flowerpots and gardens on the coast of the SF Bay Area. Plants in my and my neighbors’ gardens are currently blossoming in Pacifica, and we’re enjoying another fantastic Cymbidium season. Many people are amazed that orchids […]