Archive for the 'Fragrant Orchids' Category

The Little-Known Truth about Vanilla

Thursday, February 8th, 2024

Vanilla is one of the world’s favorite and costliest flavorings, but many don’t know that it comes from an orchid. Considering this, it’s no surprise that most people aren’t aware of the deeper history of these fragrant, cured seedpods. Vanilla’s roots as a valuable food go back to Mexico’s ancient Totonacs and Aztecs, who harvested […]

Pansy Orchids and Spectacular Waterfalls

Wednesday, January 24th, 2024

Pansy Orchids, or Miltoniopsis, have brilliant colors, sweet scents, and delightful waterfalls. This popular genus resembles pansies, and features pink, yellow, red, purple, or white blooms. Colorful patterns on their flower lips appear to flow downwards, and are called waterfalls. There’s lots of confusion between Miltoniopsis and Miltonia. Miltonias are a closely related genus, requiring […]

What’s My Favorite Orchid?

Wednesday, December 13th, 2023

What’s my favorite orchid? My answer to that question has always been “whatever’s in bloom right now.” Of course, there are special ones, but I can’t narrow it down to a single winner. Instead, I’ll invent a few categories to help out. Favorite flowers – Masdevallias are my favorites, but it was a tough call […]

Delighting in Indoor Orchid Blooms

Tuesday, October 10th, 2023

After a few warm, sunny autumn days, we’re delighting in indoor orchids. The first two photos show my Maxillaria marginata, a great intermediate grower. Its flowers are similar to its close relative the Coconut Orchid, but not as fragrant. Long stems hold them away from the plant, so they don’t get lost in the leaves […]

Demystifying Orchid Pollination

Saturday, September 16th, 2023

The vast, diverse orchid family uses a mind-boggling number of strategies to attract pollinators and attach pollen to them. Check out a few of their fascinating methods in the videos below — Lady in Black – Pollination in Vanilla Blowin’ in the Wind – Wind mediated pollination in orchids What Have I Done to Deserve […]

More Than Cymbidiums at the Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show

Friday, April 7th, 2023

Last Saturday’s Gold Coast Cymbidium Society Show in Redwood City wasn’t all Cymbidiums, but there were plenty to be found. Arriving at the event shortly after it began, Dave and I were warned at the front door that the sales area was almost bare, having been quickly bought out by eager shoppers. I didn’t mind, […]

An Orchid with Fabulous Fringe

Tuesday, February 14th, 2023

Many orchids stop you in your tracks with their colors and patterns. This orchid stops you in your tracks with its shape and scent. Rhyncholaelia digbyana has fabulous fringe on its lip, and a rich citrus perfume at night. I bought this plant eight years ago, mistakenly believing that it could live outdoors on the […]

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 […]

A Little Fuzzy Lady Slipper

Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

This little Lady Slipper is colorful, cute, and fuzzy! Phragmipedium schlimii is native to the slopes of the Andes in Colombia. It’s smaller than most other Phragmipediums, or Phrags, so when I spotted this one for sale at last winter’s Pacific Orchid Expo, I figured I could find room for it indoors. A few months […]

Indoor Orchids Chase Away Winter Blues

Saturday, January 8th, 2022

Orchids can help take the chill out of a gray winter, cold rains, and short days. Fortunately, I have a lot blooming indoors right now. First, there’s a fragrant Cattleya hybrid in the row of photos above. It’s been reliable for years, pumping out white blossoms with rich purple coloring. The ruffled petals and lips […]