The Orchid I Want For Valentine’s Day

Posted February 11th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Misc, Photos

At AboutOrchids, we love all types of orchids, but some really stand above the rest. For example, the stunning Lady Slipper ornament pictured below is a priceless antique, full of gold, diamonds, and rubies. If it weren’t locked up in a museum, it could be a great Valentine’s Day gift.

Hair ornament in the shape of a Lady Slipper orchid flower; made in Belgium, 1905-7, by Art Nouveau jeweller Philippe Wolfers; made from gold, plique-a-jour enamel, diamonds, and rubies; displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
Dave spotted this beauty at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum when he had some free time after a recent work trip. It’s a remarkable hair ornament in the shape of a Lady Slipper bloom, made in Belgium between 1905-7 by Art Nouveau jeweler Philippe Wolfers. The piece is considered an exceptional example of a difficult enameling technique called plique-à-jour, which creates a translucent effect. The Art Nouveau movement was fascinated by exotic flowers, and orchids are frequently found as artistic subjects.

Of course, this one isn’t for sale, so here are tips for buying Valentine’s Day orchids which aren’t made from precious gems. They’ll certainly be much more affordable.

And More Winter Orchid Exhibits

Posted February 8th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

Check out these orchid exhibits for great Valentine’s Day activities or as warm respites from winter. Find previous listings here and here.

February 8 – March 5
Mille et une orchidées (1001 Orchids) offers an escape from a chilly Paris winter at the Jardin des Plantes. Enjoy spectacular flowers among lush greenery in heated glasshouses.

February 10 – March 25
The Chicago Botanic Garden presents Asia in Bloom: The Orchid Show. Check out Orchids After Hours on Thursday evenings, and weekend plants sales at the Orchid Marketplace.

February 10 – April 1
Leave winter behind at Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Orchid Daze. Thousands of blooms will fill the Fuqua Orchid Center for the exhibition.

February 16 – March 24
Find inspiration at The Orchid & Poetry Show at Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City. The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory will contain exhibits inspired by poems.

February 23 – April 8
The US Botanic Garden Conservatory, collaborating with Smithsonian Gardens, presents Orchid Spectrum. Among the thousands of orchids on display, highlights include some unique, specimen plants from the two esteemed collections.

Winter Blooms in Our Garden

Posted February 5th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos

Laelia anceps, orchid species flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaZygopetalum BG White 'Stonehurst', orchid hybrid flower, Zygo, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaPurple Epidendrum orchid flowers, flowers with juniper and blue sky in background, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Cymbidium orchid hybrid flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flowers, water drops on flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flowers and flower bud, yellow flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

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 the Giant Hyacinth Orchid.

Zygopetalum BG White 'Stonehurst', orchid hybrid flowers, Zygo, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaArpophyllum giganteum, Giant Hyacinth Orchid, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaLaelia anceps, orchid species flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Cymbidium orchid hybrid flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flowers, large Cymbidium flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid hybrid flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Of course, being outdoor plants, some of the blooms are battered by the elements. Many of these flowers last for months, even with strong ocean storms and winds. This year, we’ve had a few storms, but otherwise have been unusually warm, dry, and windy. It’s been those drying winds which the orchids don’t like, and which damage the flowers. With the forecast predicting more warm days approaching 80°F (27°C,) I’m watering the orchids more this winter than I did during our cool, foggy summer. That backwards schedule is likely another sign of climate change. On the coast, right next to the cool Northern Pacific Ocean, it’s a strangely warm winter.

February Orchid Shows

Posted January 31st, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

Orchid shows are great places to enjoy incredible flowers, take photos, talk to experts, and buy orchids. Many events are perfectly timed for Valentine’s Day. Two of the world’s biggest shows happen this month in Tokyo and San Francisco.

February 1 – 4
Festival de Orquídeas, Plaza del Caribe, Ponce Bypass, Ponce, Puerto Rico
February 1 – 4
Exposición Nacional de Orquídeas, Salón Social José Mariano Arzú Castillo, 3a. Av. 17-16, Finca El Zapote, Zona 2, Guatemala City, Guatemala
February 2 – 4
Susquehanna Orchid Society Show & Sale, Milton and Catherine Hershey Conservatory, Hershey Gardens, 170 Hotel Rd., Hershey, Pennsylvania
February 2 – 4
Salon d’Orchidées, Salle Vergèze-Espace, Vergèze, France
February 2 – 4
Neu-Ulmer Orchideentage, Edwin-Scharff-Haus, Silcherstr. 40, Neu-Ulm, Germany
February 3 – 4
Madison Orchid Growers Guild Show & Sale, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, 3330 Atwood Ave., Madison, Wisconsin
February 3 – 4
Venice Area Orchid Society Show & Sale, Venice Community Center, 326 S. Nokomis Ave., Venice, Florida
February 3 – 4
Orchid Society of Greater St. Louis, Missouri Botanical Garden, Beaumont Room, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri
February 8 – 10
Maui Orchid Society Valentine’s Show, Maui Mall, 70 East Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului, Maui, Hawaii
February 8 – 11
Deep Cut Orchid Society Show & Sale, Dearborn Market, 2170 Route 35 S., Holmdel, New Jersey

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More Winter Orchid Exhibits

Posted January 26th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

These extended orchid exhibits offer warm oases in the winter cold. They’re well-timed for Valentine’s Day, too. Find the previous listings here.

January 27 – March 11
Celebrate Orchid Mania at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. And don’t miss the botanically-inspired fashion show created by Kent State University Fashion School.

February 2 – March 11
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina presents Art & Orchids 2018. The Orchid Conservatory will be complemented with Egyptian plants, and two dozen garden-themed Egyptian tapestries will also be on display.

February 10 – March 11
RBG Kew’s Orchids Festival will celebrate Thailand’s orchids in London. Highlights of the display in the Princess of Wales Conservatory include an elaborate orchid palace and handcrafted Thai umbrellas.

February 10 – March 11
Orchids 2018 offers orchid species in warm glasshouses at Cambridge University Botanic Garden in England. Enjoy the lunchtime guided tours on Wednesdays, and explore orchids after dark in Twilight!

AboutOrchids Is 10 Years Old Today!

Posted January 20th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Misc, Photos

Brilliant yellow Masdevallia orchid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2009, San Francisco, California

AboutOrchids is 10 years old today! As we approach 900 posts over a decade, it’s easy to look back and see how the blog (and I) have grown. When somebody asks how I still come up with new posts after all these years, the answer is that I’m still learning, too. And the more I learn, the more I understand that orchids are perennially fascinating. It may be the latest hybrid trend, or the discovery of new species, but there’s always more about orchids. With hundreds of thousands of different varieties, they are an endless topic.

You can probably hear my enthusiasm still going strong, but it can also be a lot of work. A decade ago, when blogs were still cool, I had no idea if AboutOrchids would outlast the trend. Along the way, Dave and I have learned more, and taken more photos, than we ever could have imagined. I’m thrilled when readers tell me that the website has helped them, or that AboutOrchids has given them enough orchid care basics to advance to other areas, like hybridizing or showing orchids. And supporting conservation must be an integral part of our love for these remarkable flowers.

So even if the website is desperately overdue for a revamp, I plan to still keep going with the blog. I can’t imagine a day when I’m ever done learning about orchids. Thanks to all AboutOrchids’ readers for being along for the ride.

Save the Flying Duck Orchid!

Posted January 17th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation

The Botanic Gardens of South Australia are asking for donations to help save the Flying Duck Orchid. You may have seen its bizarre flower, which truly looks like a flying duck. Unfortunately, like many other fascinating Australian species, it’s endangered by habitat destruction and invasive species. Over 40% of South Australia’s orchids are threatened with extinction. The goal is to create a seed bank to protect 20 native orchid species, including the Flying Duck, with the future aim of reinforcing wild populations. Their donations page can accept contributions from outside Australia, too.

Winter Orchid Exhibits

Posted January 15th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

Botanical gardens are great places to escape winter doldrums, especially when they hold extended orchid exhibits for just that purpose. These amazing events run for weeks, and provide an easy way to enjoy a day in a tropical rainforest.

January 11 – February 19
Denver Botanic Gardens presents an Orchid Showcase with hundreds of tropical blooms. Visitors can enter the showcase’s photo contest by using the hashtag #DBGContest on Facebook or Instagram.

January 13 – February 25
Head to Pittsburgh for the Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show at Phipps Conservatory. The botanical wonders on display will include some of their world-class Lady Slipper orchid collection.

January 13 – March 4
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio transforms into Orchids: Utopia. Enter the show’s Instagram photo contest with the hashtag #fpcOrchids.

January 20 – March 25
Beauty awaits at Longwood Gardens’ Orchid Extravaganza near Philadelphia. Start with a tall tower of Moth Orchids, continue through an orchid curtain, and then marvel at hundreds of hanging Vandas.

Remarkable Moth Orchid Species

Posted January 8th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Photos, Warm Growers

Do you have any of these Moth Orchid species in your collection? You might not own these specific varieties, but if you have Phal hybrids, there’s a good chance that one or more of these species are in their ancestry. These nine photos show a few of the types frequently used in hybridization.

Phalaenopsis amabilis, Moth Orchid species, Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2010, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis pulcherrima, Moth Orchid species, Phal, Orchids in the Park 2011, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CalforniaPhalaenopsis lindenii, Moth Orchid species, Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2010, San Francisco, California

Starting with the Phal species native to India, China, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Australia, plant breeders have turned this small genus of orchids into the most popular houseplants around. Phal hybrids are often recommended as the best orchids for beginners. Loved for their beauty around the world, they’re also tough enough to grow in test tubes, be shipped across oceans, and survive the rigors of supermarket shelves.

Phalaenopsis lueddemanniana, Moth Orchid species, Phal, Orchid Society of NW Pennsylvania Show 2010, Erie, PennsylvaniaPhalaenopsis stuartiana, Moth Orchid species, Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2016, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis schilleriana, Moth Orchid species, Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2016, San Francisco, California

There are about 60 Moth Orchid species. Many have multiple color variations, which may be rare in the wild, but have entered cultivation. They’ve added their genes to the vast Phal hybrid pool. Hybridizers continue to create new colors and patterns. All share their beginnings in tropical jungles with remarkable Moth Orchid species.

Phalaenopsis equestris var. blue, Moth Orchid species, Phal, Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco, California Phalaenopsis violacea var. coerulea HP, Moth Orchid species, Phal, Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis fasciata, Moth Orchid species, Phal, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Princess of Wales Conservatory, London, UK

January Orchid Shows

Posted January 1st, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

Welcome 2018 with orchids! There are shows around the world, despite the depths of winter in the northern USA and Europe. The Tamiami International Orchid Festival in Miami is one of the largest in the country, and always a spectacular show.

January 5 – 8
World Orchid Show, Bunka Kaikan Culture Center, 2nd floor, Sunshine City, Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-1-4, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, Japan
January 6
Orchid Society of Great Britain Auction, Napier Hall, Hide Place, Westminster, London, UK
January 6 – 7
Sarasota Orchid Society Show & Sale, Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida
January 11
Foredrag ved Lutz, Lindegaarden, Peter Lunds Vej 8, 2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
January 12 – 14
Tamiami International Orchid Festival, Dade County Fairgrounds Expo Center, Fuchs Pavilion, 10901 Coral Way (SW 24 St.,) Miami, Florida
January 12 – 14
North Jersey Orchid Society Show & Sale, Douglass Student Center, Rutgers Univ., 100 George St., New Brunswick, New Jersey
January 12 – 14
Paphiopedilum Guild Meeting & Show, Grand Naniloa Hotel, 93 Banyan Dr., Hilo, Hawaii
January 13
North of England Orchid Society Monthly Meeting & Show, Community Hall, Manchester Rd., Rixton with Glazebrook, Warrington, Cheshire, UK
January 13 – 14
Camden Haven Orchid Society Show, Laurieton United Services Club, Seymour St., Laurieton, NSW, Australia
January 13 – 14
Taranaki Orchid Society Summer Show, Highlands Intermediate School Hall, Coronation Ave., New Plymouth, New Zealand

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