Smithsonian Orchids Go Online

Posted May 27th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Conservation, In the News, Videos

Explore the spectacular Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection online. Thousands of stunning photos and botanical art pieces reveal this remarkable treasure trove, which includes rare and endangered species from around the world. Don’t miss a visit to the real thing if you’re in Washington DC, but if you can’t make it there, it’s now easy to visit virtually. In addition, check out the video below to learn about orchid conservation efforts by the Smithsonian and its botanical partners.

Take an Orchid Walk with a Wildlife Trust

Posted May 19th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, Events, Orchids in the Wild

The UK’s Wildlife Trusts make it easy for nature lovers to enjoy wild British orchids. There are dozens of Wildlife Trusts throughout the UK, which help promote conservation, manage nature preserves, and provide educational activities. Many of the groups offer expertly guided tours of Britain’s wonderful native orchids. Simply search their upcoming events for “orchids” to find walks all over the country. Below is a very small sample of future hikes. Many are free, but some require advance booking or a fee, so read instructions for each tour. Check their calendar for more!

May 23 — Evening Orchids in Flintshire

May 27 — Orchid Extravaganza – Walk at Parsonage Moor and Dry Sandford Pit

June 3 — Cross Hill Quarry Orchid Walk

June 3 — In Search of Amazing Orchids at Dancersend

June 10 — Marsh Orchids and Other Wetland Wildlife at Weston Turville Reservoir

June 17 — Orchid Extravaganza – Orchid Walk at Wendlebury Meads

Mother’s Day Orchid Care

Posted May 13th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Growing, Photos

Phalaenopsis I-Hsin Black Soot, orchid hybrid flowers, Phal, Moth Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2017, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis, orchid hybrid flowers, Phal, Moth Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis, orchid hybrid flowers, Phal, Moth Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2012, San Francisco, California

Mother’s Day orchids are even better when you know that most are easy to care for. With a few orchid basics, you can enjoy their flowers for weeks, or even months.

Paphiopedilum Redmix x Nupurubet, Paph orchid hybrid, Lady Slipper, Pacific Orchid Expo 2009, San Francisco, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum, Paph orchid, Lady Slipper, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum Macrabre Contrasts, Paph orchid hybrid, Lady Slipper, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, California

Watering – Remove wrapping paper or decorative containers, at least temporarily, if they block the pot’s drainage holes. Drench the plant with room-temperature water, and let all excess drain out. Don’t let the flowerpot sit in water for too long, or the orchid’s roots may rot.

High humidity – Orchids need water vapor in the air and good air movement. Dry air can damage flowers and attract pests. To raise humidity, group plants together, or put plants in a humid place like a bathroom or kitchen. Use a cool mist humidifier, or a spray mister. Place flowerpots on top of a layer of pebbles in trays of shallow water, always keeping the pots above the water level.

Brassolaelia Morning Glory 'H & R', Cattleya orchid hybrid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, CaliforniaCattleya orchid hybrid flower, Orchids in the Park 2016, Hall of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCattleya orchid hybrid flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2016, San Francisco, California

Identifying your orchid – The most popular varieties are Moth Orchids, like those in the first row of photos above. Lady Slippers in the second row are also favorites. Cattleyas are in the third row, and are known as the classic corsage orchids. The final row of pictures shows a Cymbidium, a Coelogyne, and a Masdevallia, and there are many more. They all come in many colors, sizes, and patterns, so use these images as general guidelines, not exact models. Once you know what kind of orchid you have, you can learn more about its care needs. And have a happy Mother’s Day!

Cymbidium hybrid orchid flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaCoelogyne mooreana, orchid species flowers and buds, grown indoors in San Francisco, CaliforniaMasdevallia orchid flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2006, San Francisco, California

Magical Masdevallia Orchids

Posted May 10th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Cool Growers, Photos

When it comes to spring blooms in our garden, the Masdevallias really stand out. There are still some Cymbidiums flowering, and the Epidendrums never stop, but these brilliant colors steal the show.

Masdevallia ignea x falcata, orchid hybrid flowers, primary hybrid, orange flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia ignea x falcata, orchid hybrid flowers and leaves, primary hybrid, orange flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea, purple flower, orchid species flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Masdevallia coccinea, purple flowers, orchid species flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M. Wayne Miller' AM/AOS, orchid species flowers, yellow flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M. Wayne Miller' AM/AOS, orchid species flower, yellow flower, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

The orange flowers belong to a hybrid, Masdevallia ignea x falcata. Some of the blooms are battered by the elements, but they last for months anyway. The purple and yellow ones belong to two different plants which are variants of the same species, Masdevallia coccinea. Unlike many of their miniature Pleurothallid relatives, they boast large flowers. Standing on tall stems, they wave in the breeze like colorful orchid flags. These magical Masdevallias are certainly the stars of the show.

Masdevallia coccinea with purple flower & Masdevallia coccinea var. xanthina 'M. Wayne Miller' AM/AOS with yellow flower, orchid species flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia ignea x falcata, orchid hybrid flowers and leaves, primary hybrid, orange flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, CaliforniaMasdevallia ignea x falcata, orchid hybrid flowers, primary hybrid, orange flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

World’s Largest Glasshouse Reopens at Kew

Posted May 5th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, General Gardening, In the News, Videos

The world’s largest glasshouse is open for business again!  Plant lovers can once again lose themselves in the newly refurbished Temperate Greenhouse at Kew Gardens in London. The 1863 building has been repaired many times, but this time it was thoroughly modernized. The Temperate Greenhouse dwarfs the nearby Palm House and Princess of Wales Conservatory. Thousands of plants, many endangered, have been returned from temporary homes after a 5-year renovation. Check out two BBC videos below about the news and Kew’s botanical wonders.

May Orchid Shows

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

Celebrate orchids all around the globe with this month’s shows. Many events are great for Mother’s Day outings and gift-buying opportunities. All are great chances to see incredible flowers, take photos, and talk to orchid experts.

May 3 – 4
Pine Rivers Orchid Society Show, Aspley Hypermarket, 59 Albany Creek Rd., Aspley, Queensland, Australia
May 4 – 5
Maclean District Orchid Society Show, McLean Bowls Club, McLachlan St., Maclean, NSW, Australia
May 4 – 6
Platinum Coast Orchid Society Show, Kiwanis Island Park Gymnasium, 951 Kiwanis Island Park Rd., Merritt Island, Florida
May 4 – 6
North Gauteng Orchid Society Autumn Show, Safari Garden Centre, Pretoria, Gauteng Province, South Africa
May 4 – 6
Tygerberg Orchid Group Autumn Show, Tyger Valley Centre, Bill Bezuidenhout Ave., Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa
May 4 – 6
Bankstown Orchid Society Show, Auburn Central, 72 Queen St., Auburn, NSW, Australia
May 4 – 6
Exposição Orquídeas no Jardim, Orquidário, Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, R. Jardim Botânico, 1008, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
May 4 – 6
Exposição Nacional de Orquídeas, Pavilhão Sagrada Família, Rua Cap. Geraldo 26, Itumirim, Minas Gerais, Brazil
May 5
Devon Orchid Society Show, Public Hall, Station Rd., Budleigh Salterton, UK
May 5 – 6
Manoa Orchid Society Show, Noelani Elementary School Cafeteria, 2655 Woodlawn Dr., Honolulu, Hawaii

Read the rest of this post »

Orchids with Green Flowers

Posted April 27th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Misc, Photos

Epidendrum pseudepidendrum, orchid species flower, green yellow and bright pink flower, grown in San Francisco, CaliforniaZygoneria, orchid hybrid flower, Zygo, green white and purple flower, Kawamoto Orchid Nursery, Honolulu, Oahu, HawaiiAeranthes Jean Bosser, orchid hybrid flower, Angraecoid, green flower, Orchids in the Park 2017, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Green flowers are always a little surprising. They blend in with the leaves, but then there’s a glimpse of color, or a distinctive flower shape, and a blossom emerges into view. Of course, the vast, diverse orchid family has plenty of green flowers. This post shows just a few. Bright green, light green, yellowish green — no matter the shade, they are spectacular.

Paphiopedilum venustum, orchid species flower, Paph, Lady Slipper, green and white flower, San Diego Zoo Orchid House, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum Pinocchio 'Cupping' x Paph primulinum Alba 'Green Tea', orchid hybrid flower, Paph, Lady Slipper, green and white flower, Half Moon Bay, CaliforniaPaphiopedilum orchid flower, Paph, Lady Slipper, green and white flower, San Diego Zoo Orchid House, California

Cymbidium hookerianum, orchid species flower, green white yellow flower with maroon spots, Pacific Orchid Expo 2014, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid flower, green white maroon flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2017, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium orchid flower, green white yellow flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

Some types are completely green; others include white, yellow, purple, red, or pink. I’ve seen many green Lady Slippers and Cymbidiums. There are Cattleya, Dendrobium, and Epidendrum varieties with green blooms. Many Zygos contain green, and some members of the Angraecum family have light green flowers. And there are a lot more.

Dendrobium orchid flower, green flower, Den-Phal, Pacific Orchid Expo 2008, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium Green Flash, orchid hybrid flowers, green and purple flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium tobaense var. giganteum, orchid species flower, green and reddish-orange flower, flower close-up, Pacific Orchid Expo 2018, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Cattleya leopoldii alba, orchid species flower, green and white flower, Orchids in the Park 2016, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaBrassolaeliocattleya Ports of Paradise 'Emerald Isle', orchid hybrid flower, yellow-green flower, flower close-up, Akatsuka Orchid Gardens, Volcano, Big Island, HawaiiRhyncholaeliocattleya Sung Ya Green 'Dragon King', yellow-green flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

Green blooms are unusual. Although it’s such a common color in nature, green isn’t typically associated with flowers. For orchids with a special surprise, think green.

Visit the Orchids of New Guinea

Posted April 22nd, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Misc

Visit exotic jungles at the Orchids of New Guinea website. Famous as the home of Birds of Paradise, the world’s largest tropical island is also full of botanical wonders. Over 2000 species of orchids grow everywhere, from coastal forests to towering mountain ranges. Their incredible diversity is apparent in the website’s image gallery, which has thousands of photos and illustrations, with new ones added regularly. Explore New Guinea from the comfort of your computer, and enjoy amazing orchids from an amazing land.

Take an Orchid Vacation

Posted April 15th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, Misc, Orchids in the Wild

Wouldn’t it be great to take an orchid vacation? The Orchid Conservation Alliance (OCA) regularly sponsors trips to exotic lands with experts who guide orchid tours. These trips feature orchids in their native habitats, and raise money for conservation projects. Tours are limited to 15 people maximum. Future trips include Yunnan, China in May, and Colombia’s Northern Andes in November. More are planned for Madagascar, Brazil, Peru, and Costa Rica.

The OCA is a fantastic non-profit organization worthy of support. Learn more about taking an orchid vacation. You can also help the OCA by becoming a member.

How To Say Coelogyne

Posted April 10th, 2018 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Dormancy, Fertilizing, Fragrant Orchids, Growing, Photos, Watering

Coelogyne corymbosa, orchid species flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne usitana, orchid species flower hanging at the bottom of a zig-zag flower spike, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne lawrenceana 'Encinal Warrior' AM/AOS, orchid species flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, California

Fortunately, Coelogyne orchids are easier to grow than they are to pronounce. This glorious genus of orchids originates in Southeast Asia, in a large area stretching from India and China to Indonesia, New Guinea, the Philippines, and Fiji. Many varieties have tumbling cascades of fragrant blooms. Their brilliantly-colored flower lips often feature weird ridges and frills. These photos represent less than a dozen of over 200 Coelogyne species.

Coelogyne cristata, orchid species flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne pandurata, orchid species flower, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne xyrekes, orchid species flower, close up of flower lip, Pacific Orchid Expo 2012, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Coelogyne speciosa, orchid species flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2009, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne pulverula, orchid species flowers, Kew Gardens, Princess of Wales Conservatory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, UKCoelogyne massangeana, orchid species flowers, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

To pronounce Coelogyne, say “see-LODGE-in-ee.” Their wide range spans different habitats, and there are varieties for warm, intermediate, and cool conditions. Many which come from the Himalayas grow well as outdoor plants in the SF Bay Area, and other cool, foggy climates. The flower in the final photo below belongs to a Coelogyne mooreana plant which has reliably bloomed outdoors for me for over a decade. Its perfumed flowers last more than a month. (The other photos are from orchid shows and botanical gardens.)

Coelogyne lawrenceana 'Encinal Warrior' AM/AOS, orchid species flower, close up of flower lip, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne fimbriata, orchid species flowers, Orchids in the Park 2012, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne mooreana, orchid species flower, grown outdoors in San Francisco, California

Coelogynes need regular waterings during spring and summer. Give them bright light, including some morning sun. They enjoy regular fertilizer, high humidity, and good air movement. Warm growers do not have a dormant season, but water should be reduced for cool and intermediate growers over winter. These impressive orchids will inspire you to have Coelogyne rolling off your tongue.