Dogs Are an Orchid’s Best Friend

Posted February 21st, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, In the News

In the vast orchid family full of weird plants, Rhizanthellas stand out as among the weirdest. These Australian natives live their whole lives underground, and feed off fungi rather than photosynthesize. Their flowers occasionally break the surface, but usually out of sight in the dirt or leaf litter, so they’re really hard to find. But Missy the detection dog has a nose for these bizarre plants. In Barrington Tops National Park north of Sydney, Missy can sniff out the rare orchids in a few minutes, compared to humans who take 10 days to find them. Conservation groups hope that trained dogs will help them better understand and protect these fascinating orchids.

Don’t Miss Pacific Orchid Expo 2020

Posted February 18th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Events, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Photos

Paphiopedilum flower, Paph, Lady Slipper, wavy petals, Pacific Orchid Expo 2019, Hall of Flowers, County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis Cupid Spirit, orchid hybrid flowers, Phal, Moth Orchid, flowers and buds, white bright pink and yellow flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2019, Hall of Flowers, County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaEpidendrum hybrids Pacific line, pink red and orange orchid flowers, reed stem epidendrums, Pacific Orchid Expo 2019, Hall of Flowers, County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Cymbidium tracyanum x Bedrock 'Phillis' Flavor', orchid hybrid flower, flower with spots and stripes, Pacific Orchid Expo 2019, Hall of Flowers, County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDisplay table with blooming orchid plants and award ribbons, Pacific Orchid Expo 2019, Hall of Flowers, County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium hybrid orchid with green flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2019, Hall of Flowers, County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

San Francisco’s big annual orchid show runs this weekend from February 21st – 23rd, and includes a special preview night on Thursday, February 20th. These photos from last year’s expo are just a small sample of what to expect. Over 150,000 orchids will be on display, alongside dozens of vendors, expert care demos, and kids’ activities. Buy tickets in advance or at the door, but don’t miss one of the most incredible orchid shows in the world!

Cattleya and Laelia flowers, Display table with blooming orchid plants, Pacific Orchid Expo 2019, Hall of Flowers, County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaMasdevallia Monarch, orchid hybrid flowers, orange flowers, pleurothallids, Pacific Orchid Expo 2019, Hall of Flowers, County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium and Phalaenopsis flowers, orchid hybrid flowers, Phal, Moth Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2019, Hall of Flowers, County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Cymbidium Yai, hybrid orchid flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2019, Hall of Flowers, County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaCattleya coccinea 'Gracie', small bright orange flowers, orchid species flower, large purple and yellow Cattleya hybrid flower, Pacific Orchid Expo 2019, Hall of Flowers, County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis Yin's Black Eagle, orchid hybrid flowers, Moth Orchid, Phal, bright yellow and bright pink flowers, Pacific Orchid Expo 2019, Hall of Flowers, County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Even More Winter Orchid Exhibits

Posted February 15th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

In addition to the earlier listings here and here, more orchid exhibits are starting in New York City and Washington DC.

February 15 – April 19
Experience the Orchid Show: Jeff Leatham’s Kaleidoscope at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Each gallery in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory creates “a different color experience and visual effect, like the turn of a kaleidoscope.”

February 28 – May 3
Discover the World of Orchids on the National Mall at the US Botanic Garden (USBG) in Washington DC. Enjoy thousands of magnificent orchid flowers, and celebrate USBG’s bicentennial year.

Orchid Valentines

Posted February 13th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Growing, Photos

Phalaenopsis Kingcar Bonnie Girls 'DC6063', Phal orchid hybrid flowers, Moth Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis, Phal orchid hybrid flowers in a variety of colors, Moth Orchids, Orchids in the Park 2019, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CaliforniaPhalaenopsis, Phal orchid hybrid flowers, Moth Orchid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2013, San Francisco, California

Orchids have become so favored as Valentine’s gifts that it’s now a common dilemma whether to keep the plant afterwards. Many think that orchids are impossible to grow, but with basic care info, common varieties are easy.  The most popular are Moth Orchids, like those pictured in the photos above. Check out more tips about proper watering and good humidity to help your plant. With a little attention to its needs, your gift will stay in bloom longer, and bloom again, so you can enjoy it for years to come.

More Photos from RHS Garden Wisley

Posted February 8th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, General Gardening, Photos

Stanhopea dodsoniana, side view of orchid species flower, weird flower, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKStreptocarpus 'Crystal Ice', Cape primrose, gesneriad, purple and white flowers, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKView inside Glasshouse, palm trees, plants under glasshouse roof, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UK

Succulent flower, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKAnthurium flowers, flowers with pink and dark reddish purple, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKIpheion sessile, AKA Tristagma sessile, white flowers and thin leaves, Alpine House, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UK

In my first post about RHS Garden Wisley, I focused on orchids, but there was certainly plenty more to enjoy. There’s only one more orchid in this post, a Stanhopea in the first picture. Stanhopeas are known for their bizarre but short-lived flowers, only lasting a few days. We certainly were lucky to find so many in bloom at the Wisley Glasshouse at the beginning of December.

View inside Glasshouse, plants under glasshouse roof, succulents, aloes, sansevieria, and large cactus-like euphorbia, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKColorful variegated leaves of begonia, peperomia, and other plants, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKDark green leaves with bright yellow spots, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UK

Aloe arborescens Variegata, succulent with striped variegated leaves, aloe species, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKFittonia albivenis Vershcaffeltii Group, pink stripes on veined green leaves, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKSpiral Begonia leaves with spiral variegation, green and silver white leaves, Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UK

The Glasshouse holds many more tropical, exotic blooms, but they had competition for our attention from plants with variegated leaves. Wisley’s displays featured foliage with spots, stripes, swirls, spirals, and veins in a rainbow of colors. I was especially impressed with the many variegated begonias. The Alpine Houses also showcased some variegated plants, including cyclamens with various fascinating patterns. They were great examples of how gardeners can enjoy beautiful hues without flowers.

Cyclamen hederifolium, plant species leaves, variegated leaves with dark green stripe on silvery green background, Alpine House, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKNarcissus 'Silver Palace', narcissus cultivar flower, white flower with orange pollen, Alpine House, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UKTrees, plants and wooden bench, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, UK

February Orchid Events

Posted January 31st, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

This month features two of the world’s biggest orchid shows in Tokyo and San Francisco. Others are well-timed for Valentine’s Day gifts and activities. All these events are wonderful opportunities to enjoy amazing flowers.

February 1 – 2
Orchid Society of Greater St. Louis Show & Sale, Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri
February 1 – 2
Madison Orchid Growers Guild Show & Sale, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, 3330 Atwood Ave., Madison, Wisconsin
February 1 – 2
Venice Area Orchid Society Show & Sale, Venice Community Center, 326 S. Nokomis Ave., Venice, Florida
February 1 – 11
Okinawa International Orchid Show, Ocean Expo Park, Tropical Dream Center, 424 Azaishikawa, Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa, Japan
February 5
Hinckley & District Orchid Society AGM & Quiz, Barwell Constitutional Club, 20 Chapel St., Barwell, Leicestershire, UK
February 6 – 9
Deep Cut Orchid Society Show & Sale, Dearborn Market, 2170 Route 35 S., Holmdel, New Jersey
February 7 – 9
South Carolina Orchid Society Show, Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden, Botanical Garden Visitors Center, 1300 Botanical Parkway, West Columbia, South Carolina
February 7 – 9
Newport Harbor Orchid Expo & Sale, Westminster Mall, 1025 Westminster Mall, Westminster, California
February 7 – 9
Neu-Ulmer Orchideentage, Edwin-Scharff-Haus, Silcherstr. 40, Neu-Ulm, Germany
February 8
Diablo View Orchid Society Valentine’s Show & Sale, First Lutheran Church, 4000 Concord Blvd., Concord, California

Read the rest of this post »

More Winter Orchid Exhibits

Posted January 29th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Events

Botanical gardens offer these extended exhibits to show off their orchid collections, and to provide a refuge from winter’s chill. Check out this season’s previous listing here. All of them make excellent Valentine’s Day activities.

February 1 – March 15
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden’s Art & Orchids presents orchids with the works of North Carolina artist Patrick Dougherty. The garden is located in Belmont, North Carolina, near Charlotte.

February 1 – March 22
The Missouri Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show creates a tropical oasis in St. Louis. The Orthwein Floral Display Hall will feature orchids from the garden’s large collection. Two Orchid Nights will include live music and drinks.

February 1 – April 12
Atlanta Botanical Garden puts on Orchid Daze, which draws inspiration from Latin American artists. The exhibit will have orchid market weekends and orchid care clinics.

February 5 – March 2
Mille & une orchidées (A Thousand & One Orchids) will delight any flower lover in Paris. The displays will be in the Grandes Serres (Great Greenhouses) of the Jardin des Plantes.

February 8 – March 8
The Kew Orchid Festival celebrates the orchids of Indonesia in London. Kew’s Princess of Wales Conservatory will also host Orchids: After Hours, which will stage cooking demos, orchid expert talks, and Indonesian dance performances.

February 8 – March 22
The Orchid Show at Chicago Botanic Garden makes a great escape from winter. Ten thousand brilliant blooms will be arranged in artistic installations. The exhibit includes morning music, special photographers’ hours, and special evening events.

Vanda Orchids in Glass

Posted January 27th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Fertilizing, Growing, In the News, Photos, Warm Growers, Watering

(Vanda Prayad Muang Ratch x Ascocenda Lena Kamolphan) x Vanda Srakaew, orchid hybrid flowers, orchid grown in glass jar indoors in Pacifica, California(Vanda Prayad Muang Ratch x Ascocenda Lena Kamolphan) x Vanda Srakaew, orchid hybrid flowers leaves and roots, orchid grown in glass jar indoors in Pacifica, California(Vanda Prayad Muang Ratch x Ascocenda Lena Kamolphan) x Vanda Srakaew, orchid hybrid flowers and buds, orchid grown in glass jar indoors in Pacifica, California

Vandas are orchid royalty, but they can be challenging to grow. They need sun, warmth, regular water, high humidity, and lots of space for their long, dangling roots. Since they don’t like being potted, they’re usually grown on mounts or in baskets, with their roots hanging freely. That makes them difficult for home growers, who have to battle low humidity to keep those roots happy. Fortunately, there’s a great trick. By placing the plant in a glass vase, it’s much easier to give it the moisture it needs.

(Vanda Prayad Muang Ratch x Ascocenda Lena Kamolphan) x Vanda Srakaew, orchid hybrid flower, orchid grown in glass vase indoors in Pacifica, California(Vanda Prayad Muang Ratch x Ascocenda Lena Kamolphan) x Vanda Srakaew, orchid hybrid flowers leaves and roots, orchid grown in glass vase indoors in Pacifica, California(Vanda Prayad Muang Ratch x Ascocenda Lena Kamolphan) x Vanda Srakaew, orchid hybrid flowers, orchid grown in glass vase indoors in Pacifica, California

I’d seen this method used over the years, and recently tried it myself for the first time. The amazing results are pictured here. I bought a small Vanda at an orchid show, and also bought a 5 inch (12.7 cm) wide glass container. Thick Vanda roots are firm enough to hold the plant in place in the vase, even when large blooms make it very top-heavy. As the roots grow, they curl around inside the glass. In warmer weather, I water it every day by filling the vase, letting it soak for a few minutes, and then pouring the water out. There’s always a little water left to evaporate and provide humidity. On hot days, I do this twice daily, or let the plant soak longer. It’s easy to add fertilizer weakly, weekly. At cooler times of year, I water as little as once a week, but still keep humidity levels high.

(Vanda Prayad Muang Ratch x Ascocenda Lena Kamolphan) x Vanda Srakaew, orchid hybrid flowers leaves and roots, orchid grown in glass vase indoors in Pacifica, California(Vanda Prayad Muang Ratch x Ascocenda Lena Kamolphan) x Vanda Srakaew, orchid hybrid flowers leaves and roots, orchid next to glass vase, orchid grown in glass vase indoors in Pacifica, California(Vanda Prayad Muang Ratch x Ascocenda Lena Kamolphan) x Vanda Srakaew, orchid hybrid roots grown in shape of vase, orchid grown in glass vase indoors in Pacifica, California

It’s best to use a vase with a wide opening, remembering that you’ll want to remove the plant occasionally to clean the glass. If lots of algae builds up on the roots, let them dry more between waterings. British botanist James Wong recently wrote about a slightly different method that works for growers who are really fighting low humidity. Keep the vase 20% full of water at all times. This guarantees the roots won’t dry too much. Growing Vandas in glass is an elegant and easy way to enjoy their big, bold, colorful blossoms.

Missoula’s ‘Best Kept Secret’ Helps Conserve Endangered Orchids

Posted January 24th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Conservation, In the News, QuickPost

Most people don’t think of orchids when they think of Montana, but Missoula’s Botanica, Ltd. is a great place for orchids. Brenda Oviatt and Bill Nerison have turned their hobby into a business which is devoted to growing endangered species. They specialize in the African Angraecoid family, which includes threatened varieties like Darwin’s Orchid, Angraecum florentum, Jumellea, and Oeoniella.

More from Oxford Botanic Garden

Posted January 18th, 2020 by Marc Cohen
Categories: Botanical Gardens, Photos

Phragmipedium Hanne Popow, Phrag, Lady Slipper hybrid orchid flower, pink white and yellow flower, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKOncidium orchid flower, Dancing Lady Orchid, yellow brown and white flower, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKNepenthes pitcher plant, carnivorous plant, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

Averrhoa carambola, Star Fruit, Carambola, fruiting tree species, 3 star fruit hanging on branch, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKAmaryllis flowers, large flowers, flowering bulb, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKTillandsia xerographica growing on Euphorbia abyssinica, bromeliad, epiphyte, succulents, Arid House, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

Oxford Botanic Garden has great orchids, and many other impressive plants, too. The photos in this post include a couple of orchids, more from the glasshouses, and sights from the surrounding grounds. The glasshouses feature fantastic collections of exotic tropical flowers, carnivorous plants, desert plants, and more.

Shrimp Plant, Pachystachys lutea, white flowers with bright yellow bracts, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKNepenthes pitcher plant, carnivorous plant, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKPavonia x gledhillii, flowers of hybrid flowering shrub, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

Whiteheadia bifolia, AKA Massonia bifolia, bulbous perennial with leaves flattened on ground and small flower in middle, Alpine House, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKUniversity of Oxford Botanic Garden in December, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKPenstemon hartwegii flowering outdoors in December at University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK

Outdoors, the gardens offer ample winter interest, with Oxford’s historic architecture as the backdrop. During our visit, red penstemon flowers and brilliant purple berries brightened a chilly, gray December day. Lively fountains and colorful goldfish animated the garden. Bare trees, having already shed their leaves, showed off their majestic branch structures. Despite the cool weather, there was plenty to enjoy in this amazing garden.

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii, Bodinier's beautyberry, bright purple berries, University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKFountain at University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UKGoldfish in outdoor pool at University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK