Morning in the Garden of Orchids

A quick getaway to sultry Savannah to escape the winter blues revealed the many surprises of this spanish moss-bedecked southern city. Among them were beautiful gardens where we found orchids adding a tropical touch, whether on the steps of a grand mansion, or a tiny patch in front of an apartment door.

Cynbidium Orchid
Cynbidium Orchid

phalaenopsis orchids
phalaenopsis orchids

Winter Orchids at the US Botanic Gardens

Things are quiet at the USBG. Several sections are closed off for renovation and even the orchids appear to be in short supply as the USBG gets ready for its upcoming orchid show. Nevertheless, here are a few gems that caught my eye in the late afternoon sunshine. These are all generally orchids that like temperatures slightly on the cooler side.

Cymbidium Red Beauty 'Evening Star'
Cymbidium Red Beauty ‘Evening Star’

Paphiopedilum Alfred Dimmock
Paphiopedilum Alfred Dimmock
Dendrobium Wave King 'Akebono' AM/AOS
Dendrobium Wave King ‘Akebono’ AM/AOS
Anguloa clowesii
Anguloa clowesii
Cymbidium Longleyense, a pendulous hybrid
Cymbidium Longleyense, a pendulous hybrid

Bonsai Dendrobium


Dendrobium neomorale blooms
Dendrobium neomorale blooms!

I purchased this dendrobium orchid  at our local orchid society meet from a visiting speaker who grew them in Texas. This orchid comes from the Philippines where it likes the heat.

I was struck but the architectural beauty of the plant and its bonsai like appearance.  So  after it had  been growing in its pot for a few months, I slipped it into a bonsai pot.  The plant was growing in sphagnum but knowing that these cane-stemmed dendrobium often a appreciate a good drying it out, I potted it in clay aggregate while leaving the root ball intact within the sphagnum.

The plant has grown well and blooms every spring after the cooler night of winter. The tallest growth is about 18 inches tall. The tiny flowers last from 1-2 months! They have the texture of plastic and appear in pairs, hanging ‘upside down’. In nature, the plant would be growing on a tree with the long stems hanging meandering  down. The flowers, thus, would be the right way up.  This is one orchid that is very attractive even when not in bloom. As you cannot see, the plant has been very carefully staked to keep the growths more upright. There were twice as many blooms as shown in the photo below–I just waited too long to photograph it!

65th Orchid Show Ushers in Fall

The Orchid Show and Sale, held every Columbus Day weekend at the US National Arboretum kicks off  Saturday Oct 6 and runs through Monday.  This year marks the 65th Annual Orchid Show put on by members of the National Capital Orchid Society.

The show features hundreds of orchids in bloom, the likes of which you will not see for sale at your local grocery store. And if you want to add a few of these beauties to your collection, you’ll find a sales tent with many different types of orchids for sale, and experts who can help you choose.

Here are a few photos from this years show to whet your appetite. Visiting the show and sales tent is  free, so this is a great way to while away a few hours and enjoy a burst of tropical color.  There are also tours and workshops to help you hone your orchid growing skills!  See details and hours of operation

Lycaste Concentration ‘Santa Barbara’ AM/AOS


Trichoglottis philippinensis

Trichoglottis philippinensis

Orchids for Sale

Gorgeous Display from J&L Orchids

Starry Summer Orchids

My Brassavola David Sander is in bloom again! This year I was rewarded with about 6 blooms sequentially over two months. This plant needs to get big before it bloom profusely, but the attractive elongated foliage stays contained so a specimen can be grown in a 5″ pot. See my earlier post on this orchid for more information.

Orchid Mystique in Washington D.C.

The U.S. Botanic Gardens show Orchid Mystique: Nature’s Triumph, in collaboration with Smithsonian Gardens, runs until April 29, 2012. This year’s exhibit observes the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of the cherry blossom trees to Washington, D.C., apparently by presenting our orchids around the Conservatory “in serene settings evocative of Japanese gardens to complement the thousands of orchids on display.”

Unfortunately there is not too much of a Japanese aesthetic going on(Italian style terracotta pots don’t quite cut it) other than a lovely Japanese garden, and with the hordes of tourist, serenity is in short supply.  Still, there are always some beautiful orchids to observe and we’ve selected a few here to  share with you.

Also on display are photographs of Images of North American native orchids from Hal Horwitz, which are really worth seeing. In that same vein, its also worth checking out an exhibit about a new national effort to restore and conserve native US orchids. Sadly, may of our own orchids are extinct or endangered in our own backyards of Maryland and Virginia.

Cymbidium Blue River ‘Thunder’

Dendrobium aggregatum, a tiny species with large sprays of flowers


Dendrobium Gold Star 'Orange Royal'

Vanda Pachara Delight ‘Pachara’

Chysis bractescens

Cymbidium cooperi