Archive for the 'Misc' Category

Spending Time in the Garden Linked to Better Health and Wellbeing

Monday, June 1st, 2020

It’s well-established that gardening is good for our health, and a new British study augments the evidence. Researchers from the University of Exeter and the Royal Horticultural Society analyzed data from almost 8,000 people. The study found the benefits of gardening to health and wellbeing were similar to the difference in health between people living […]

Sneaky Orchids and Their Pollination Tricks

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

From London, RBG Kew explains how sneaky orchids can be. Many orchid varieties offer nectar or fragrant oils for their pollinators, but others are tricksters. Their colors, shapes, or scents deceptively advertise rewards, but they have none. Some temporarily trap their pollinators, like the remarkable Bucket Orchid, which makes bees squeeze past its pollen to […]

Still No Orchid Shows

Friday, May 1st, 2020

As we begin May, I’ll repeat that if any orchid shows are still happening, you shouldn’t go. I don’t know when big public events will be safe, but it’s still too soon. COVID19 is not contained, and the risks are too great. Orchid shows can wait. So what to do in the meantime? There’s certainly […]

Lovely Orchid Lips

Thursday, April 16th, 2020

Orchids have lovely lips. The lip, or labellum, is one of the defining parts of an orchid flower. This modified petal can be the most elaborate part of the bloom. It may be a landing pad, or even a temporary trap, for pollinating insects. It’s usually at the bottom of the flower, but since orchids […]

The Orchid Paintings of Glasnevin

Friday, April 10th, 2020

Even if you can’t visit Ireland to see the remarkable orchid paintings of Glasnevin, you can still enjoy some of them online. Located in Dublin, the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin holds over 2,500 orchid works. Most depict the garden’s own orchids, and were done by two skilled botanical artists, Lydia Shackleton and Alice Jacob. Contact […]

Happy 150th Birthday to Golden Gate Park

Saturday, April 4th, 2020

Happy birthday, Golden Gate Park! It’s one of the most famous parks in the world, and it’s turning 150 years old. Formerly barren sand dunes, it’s now full of plants, animals, museums, statues, hiking trails, lakes, and meadows. It’s one of our favorite destinations. (Of course, much of it is shut down because of the […]

Sheltering at Home for the Spring Equinox

Thursday, March 19th, 2020

Today is a spring equinox like no other. In the San Francisco Bay Area, we have been sheltering at home for several days now as COVID-19 spreads. Dave and I are fine, and our two cats are getting spoiled since we’re home most of the time. Only essential businesses are still open. Roads that are […]

Buy First-Class Orchids at the Post Office

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

You can now buy first-class orchids at the post office. The US Postal Service has just released 10 new stamps featuring wild orchids. All the species represented are native to the USA. My photos show both sides of a 20-stamp booklet and the cover image. There are nine orchid species depicted. Three Birds Orchid, Triphora […]

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Orchids

Thursday, December 26th, 2019

Legendary American artist Georgia O’Keeffe painted extraordinary flowers, including orchids. The Winston-Salem Journal analyzes two of her portrayals of Cattleya hybrids. The first, Narcissa’s Last Orchid, 1940,  is depicted realistically. The second, An Orchid, 1941, is more abstract. Both paintings focus on the frilly flower lips. Orchid expert Arthur Chadwick ponders which varieties inspired these […]

Edmond Albius: The Boy Who Revolutionized the Vanilla Industry

Sunday, October 20th, 2019

The modern vanilla industry owes its existence to a young enslaved African, Edmond Albius. Vanilla vines had been imported from Mexican jungles to the tiny French colony of Réunion, in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. But without their Mexican bee pollinators, nobody could figure out how to produce vanilla beans. In 1841, Edmond Albius, then […]