Friday, September 20, 2019

Can a professed flower freak ignore orchids?

The answer is probably obvious, at least in the case of this flower freak: NO.  A friend (who is not a flower freak) and I attended the annual orchid show and sale at South Coast Botanic Garden last weekend.  We arrived early, before the show area was open, so we had lots of time to check out the sale area.

I didn't attempt to identify these but, moving clockwise from the top left, I think the first 5 were all intergeneric hybrids involving Cattleyas.  The next photo was one of many Phalaenopsis displays.  I didn't look for the parentage of the next 2 plants and I won't venture a guess.  The plants in the middle are a dark-foliage variety of the zz plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia 'Raven'), which were surprisingly expensive.


When judging was complete and the show area finally opened, I photographed only the specimens that grabbed my interest due to their color, shape or both.  The orchid family (Orchidaceae) is the world's second largest family of flowering plants (after the sunflower family, Asteraceae) and the number of  genera, species, and intergeneric hybrids is eye-boggling.  Identifying an individual specimen is frustrating at best, especially as most are identified only by an abbreviation signifying their natural or hybrid generic names.  (If you like making yourself crazy, check out the Royal Horticultural Society's 2017 list of accepted abbreviations here).

 Here are my favorites from the show:

Aerangia 'Splendida', which had flowers like soaring birds

Brassolaeliocattleya Toshie Aoki 'Pizzazz'

Simply labeled Cattleya bicolor

Cattleya 'Red Jewel'

Cattleya 'Spotted Gem' x 'Spotted Leopard'

Simply labeled "Chocolate Chip Cross"

This was my favorite.  It's Dendrobium 'Joyce Kelly'.

Epicattleya (no cultivar name)

Gongara galeata

The clips distract but the flower is interesting.  This is Habenaria medusa.  A better photo can be found here.

Labeled Oncidium harryanum, I gather it's correctly classified as Ondontogolossum harryanum

Paphiopedilum haynaldianum

Paphiopedilum 'Mount Toro'

Rhyncholaeliocattleya Chief Canyon 'Morning Call'

Rossioglossum grande


Did I leave the show without purchasing anything?  You already know the answer to that question, don't you?

My purchases were: Brassolaeliocattleya 'Lawless Romeo Cluster' (apparently a hybrid of Blc. 'Toshie Aoki' and Blc. 'American Heritage') and Phalaenopsis sogo vivieno 'Golden Leaves'


Have a good weekend.


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. You know I am a professed flower freak too. I've killed two orchids in the past. Every winter I feel the urge to buy an orchid or two, especially around the time of our flower show, since the local group always puts together such a gorgeous display garden. I hope your new acquisitions thrive for you. Thanks for sharing these great flower forms. I love the unusual ones, although I'm sure I would kill them. But those long whiskers and curly side petals are so much fun!

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    1. Do your orchids spend winter in your greenhouse, Alison? While most of mine survive under a regime of benign neglect, I'm sure they'd flower better if I actually fed them at regular intervals. I'm very sloppy about that...

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  2. Such beautiful colours and some unusual forms. I have the greatest respect for orchid growers. Orchids are the most interesting of plants especially the means they go to get pollinated. You showed great restraint only coming home with two. Enjoy your weekend too.

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    1. My restraint was due in part to the fact that I'm running out of room in my lath (shade) house for plants, Elaine. My Cymbidiums may have to move back outside to free up some space.

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  3. So incredibly beautiful...and fascinating! I knew there were a lot of varieties, etc., but had no idea it was the worlds 2nd largest family. I love orchids - they are one of the few indoor plants that I've had success with.

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    1. Orchid shows are always crowded, probably because the plants appeal to everyone from collectors to people who want a decorative item for a table. Their one downside is that their foliage isn't usually a selling point.

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  4. The pair of "orchids on a stick" I bought at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show last Feb are still alive! Of course there are no flowers, but that's not why I bought them (I know...I'm odd). Perhaps you need a second lath house dedicated to just orchids?

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    1. The nice thing about orchids is, once they do bloom, those blooms usually last far longer than anything but silk flowers (which I detest). I've seriously considered asking my husband to build me a covered porch extension on my lath house, Loree, but he has a LOT of post-remodel furniture projects on the docket already.

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  5. Those were all pretty amazing. The first one was spectacularly different, but there were some close runners up in the post.

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    1. I have a soft spot for the Cattleya 'Spotted Gem' x 'Spotted Leopard' too. The breeder couldn't get enough spots it seems!

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  6. Your fav ('Joyce Kelly') is mine, too. Love the ruffling, the pattern on that particular flower. The flying birds one was also very cool. Hybrid Epidendrum also interesting. Never thought about hybrids of that plant, which grows great outdoors in hot sun with little care.


    Seems like if a person really wants to do orchids right they need a dedicated lath/shade/glass house set up, depending on which orchids and location. I've thought about glassing in the master balcony to create a tropical conservatory in my dreams.

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    1. The Aerangia flowers were spectacular but the foliage, surrounded by a lot of air roots, detracted from their beauty. It was mounted on moss-covered wood so I assume it's an epiphyte.

      The lath house has helped me grow some plants but I haven't been able to maintain the humidity level many of them want. Your glass-enclosed balcony sounds like a great idea. Add some shades you can control electronically to prevent the summer death-star from burning your plants and you're done! ;)

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  7. Ooh, you picked some good ones to feature here. Looks like SCBC has an exceptional show. There is a small show here usually in Feb. featuring the local club, but the variety is limited. My success growing them is marginal. I usually kill them after a couple years, even the 'easy' ones! Houseplants aren't my specialty, I guess. ;)

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    1. In the past I've been haphazard about watering my orchids (just like my houseplants) but having them congregated in the lath house has improved my watering regime somewhat. I'm still terrible about feeding them though and flowers aren't plentiful without fertilizer.

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  8. Wow. Just wow. I need time to get my jaw up off the floor...

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  9. So beautiful! I hadn't realised there were so many different kinds of orchids.

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    1. With the number of new intergeneric and interspecies hybrids showing up continually, I expect the number of orchids is continuing to grow each year. Orchidaceae may pass up Asteraceae as the largest flowering family of plants yet!

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  10. With so many fascinating and beautiful orchids, It is easy to see how one can become an orchid addict. I have a friend who is illiterate when it comes to other plants (She had no idea that the bonsai I gave her had to be watered!), yet she successfully grows a wonderful collection of orchids.

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    1. Ha! It's all a matter of what one considers important I expect, Deb.

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  11. Oh gosh, yes, these are amazing and impossible to ignore. This show reminds me of an orchid show I attended in Florida when I was down there visiting my parents. There are some nifty orchid places around here, too. As you say, there are so, so many species and varieties in the Orchid family!

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    1. With its higher humidity levels, I expect Florida is a great place to grow orchids, Beth. Our relative dryness is my biggest problem when it comes to keeping them happy.

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  12. Of course you can't resist. Why try? You are so lucky that you can see them up close and personal AND you have quite the variety to choose from to purchase. I would be tempted too.

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    1. I don't try very hard to resist when it comes to plants, Lisa. I am running out of space in my shade house, though.

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