Sunday, April 27, 2008

Best in show

By Jennifer Ross - North Shore Outlook - April 23, 2008

You don’t have to be a green thumb to appreciate orchids. The exquisite colours and delicate design make them a rare beauty that all can enjoy.

That’s why thousands of orchid enthusiasts will be showing up at this year’s Vancouver Orchid Society 2008 Annual Orchid Show and Sale. The show is an ideal spring event for those who have enjoyed growing orchids for years as well as for those still searching for their first plant.

Visitors will be able to shop for orchids from a huge selection of plants presented by show vendors, attend educational presentations and learn about the beauty and attraction of orchids. They can also watch exquisite orchid displays prepared by leading local and international growers.

“This event is also an American Orchid Society judged show,” said Chris Ostenstad, a co-chair of the show. “On Friday we judge orchids that are not yet recognized, that have been hybridized. With hundreds of entries we look for orchids that are bigger and better than ever.”

And if you have your own orchids at home and you would like to bring them to the event, there will be expert growers on site who can answer any questions you might have about orchids and other species. There will also be workshops throughout the day that address the care and maintenance of these exotic plants.

“The biggest myth about orchids is people think they are hard to look after, but they are not,” said Ostenstad. “If they have enough light and heat they will grow. Just don’t over water them.”

Because most orchids originated in tropical environments, placing them in the bathroom or a kitchen windowsill will provide enough humidity to help ensure a healthy plant, explains Ostenstad, who has two greenhouses and over a thousand orchids. Some orchids, if handled properly, can outlive their owners.

For those concerned about the initial cost of buying an orchid, there will be plants in a range of prices available at the show. While some cost thousands due to the rarity of the species, others, like the popular Phalaenopsis, are more affordably priced.

“The hybridizing market is key today because it is worth a lot of money,” said Ostenstad. “But you have to be willing to invest a lot of time and effort. Most orchids take two years to grow and some can take between three to 10 years to flower.”

The Vancouver Orchid Society 2008 Annual Orchid Show and Sale takes place May 3 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and May 4 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Richmond Curling Club (5540 Hollybridge Way). Admission is $7 and children under age 12 can visit the show for free. For more information, go to

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Vero Beach Orchid Society will be holding their 26th Annual Orchid Show

The Vero Beach Orchid Society will be holding their 26th Annual Orchid
Show & Sale 'Orchids at Riverside' April 26th & 27th, 2008, 10-5 each
day. The location of the show is at Riverside Park, Highway 60 East at
the foot of the Merrill Barber Bridge Vero Beach, Florida.

Free Admission/Free Parking
$2.00 Donation Appreciated

This is an American Orchid Society Judged Event

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Orchid guide both useful, attractive

"300 Orchids: Species, Hybrids & Varieties in Cultivation" (Firefly, $29.95) is a chunky little book chock-full of practical information on the most common orchid varieties, which seem to be growing in popularity.

Alphabetically arranged and encyclopedic in design, it's a comprehensive guide that covers species from every continent and provides basic care instructions and information on taxonomy, form, distribution, cultivation, habitat and conservation status for each.

Its author, Jane Boosey, is a British orchid dealer.

Though it's oddly shaped and sized for such a purpose, the photos make it a wonderful candidate for the coffee table.

-- Newsday


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mother's Day Orchids

Orchids for Mother's Day
By Susan Taylor
"Mother's Day is coming up and what better gift to get her than an orchid? Mother's Day Orchids are one of the best gifts to give because of their allure and mystique. Their distinctive color, shape and history have made them a gift that will be received with awe. One of the most common comments I've heard is "I've always wanted to grow an orchid…" Why don't you give your mother one so she can try?

Orchids are in fact one of the best buys you can make for any holiday, especially if you pick a Phalaenopsis. These lovely orchids come in an amazing rainbow of colors for almost any décor and often will bloom for up to six months depending upon the variety and parentage. What other kind of blooming plant will do that for you? No cut flowers will do that; other blooming plants only last for a couple of weeks. Phals will provide a lasting display that will please and provide enjoyment for a long while. They are one of the staples used in flower arrangements in hotels and other areas where floral arrangements are part of the décor..."


Friday, April 11, 2008

Orchid Show and Tell...

A Festival of Orchids will be on display at Bridgemere Garden World, near Nantwich from tomorrow until Sunday April 14.
There will be around 30 varieties of Orchids including, for the first time at the centre, English grown Phalaenopis.
There will also be a team in Houseplants on hand to offer help and advice, and on Saturday at 11am, Alan Banner, Bridgemere's orchid expert will be giving a talk on The Care of Orchids, when visitors can pick up some helpful hints and tips on the care of these fascinating plants.

In addition to all the various plants, there will be features on floral arrangements to help give ideas on ways of using cut stems of orchids from the Florista Flower Shop, to creative effective and dramatic designs.



For the Love of Orchids

Mr. G says he may still be a Yankee at heart, but he's right at home in Cleveland. Not Ohio. Cleveland, Fla. It's a small, unincorporated neighborhood east of Punta Gorda. Carl Powell of Powell's Nursery was born near here, and I myself am a recent transplant. Mr. Powell thought the two of us, me and Mr. G, should meet. With my newfound love of orchids and my almost total lack of knowledge and experience with them, I couldn't agree more.



Sunday, April 06, 2008

The annual Taiwan International Orchid Show held last month in Tainan County has received more than NT$2.4 billion (US$78.7 million) in export order

"The annual Taiwan International Orchid Show held last month in Tainan
County has received more than NT$2.4 billion (US$78.7 million) in export
orders, a 65 percent increase from last year...

the show attracted more than 200,000 local and foreign visitors as well as
2,000-plus buyers from 24 countries during its 10-day run which ended on
March 17.

Some of the orders for several species or patented species were in the
quantity of millions...

This year, the American Orchid Society, which was asked to send officials
to the show to serve as judges, broke a record for the number of orchid
plants awarded the highest honors...

six orchid plants received first class certificates from the US society,
breaking the society's record.
The US group usually awards about a dozen such certificates a year.

This year was also the first in which US judges awarded more than four of
the top certificates at a single show since its establishment in the 1920s.

Taiwan exported NT$1.84 billion worth of orchids in 2006, a year-on-year
increase of 24.1 percent, with... phalaenopsis, accounting for NT$1.15
billion of the total...

Total orchid export orders secured at the orchid show totaled NT$800
million in 2005, NT$1 billion in 2006 and NT$1.5 billion this year [2007 ?]"


Fragrant Orchids

fragrance plays an essential role in their survival strategy... orchids spice up their lives in order to attract pollinators.

Flowers... are advertising the fact that they offer nectar or other substances...

Some have wonderful fragrances yet produce no nectar and trick insects into thinking there is a free meal. Other orchids produce odors that mimic the
pheromones of bees and wasps (some even look like female insects) so that males try to mate with the orchids. Some bees even collect the orchid's
fragrance and store it on their hind legs to use, perhaps, to attract their own mates.

Orchids are pollinated by bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, gnats, and beetles.
Flies, gnats, and beetles are attracted to dull-green and reddish-brown orchids with foul odors.
Bulbophyllum beccarii attracts flies by smelling like decaying animals. Butterflies and hummingbirds tend to gravitate to bright yellow and red flowers that are full of sweet nectar. Bees love nectar and cheerful flowers that range from purples and blues to bright yellows.

Most orchids smell best in the morning hours when the light is bright. The fragrance fades in the afternoon when the temperature increases.
This corresponds with the pollination practices of insects that are more active in early hours.

Other orchids are fragrant in the evening...
Brassavola nodosa... starts exuding its heavenly fragrance at dusk when its pollinators, nocturnal moths, come out.

Fragrances are volatile. They often develop and become more complex the longer you smell them.
A fragrance may catch your attention with a strong citrus smell that sweetens and becomes floral after a few minutes. At first Dendrobium anosmum smells like raspberry, shifts to strawberry,
then rhubarb, and finally hyacinth.

Some fragrances are mild, while others are intoxicating. There are many factors that affect fragrance. Ochids tend to be more fragrant on sunny rather than shady days, when the volatile oils warm up and diffuse. Fragrances tend to linger longer in
areas of high humidity. Locations where the air is still tend to trap fragrances, while smells will
dissipate in breezy sites.

Over the past several decades, a greater emphasis has been placed on hybridizing fragrant orchids.
... Phalaenopsis... is now being bred for fragrance (although it tends to be delicate).
Cymbidiums... are now being bred in miniature, easier-to-grow forms that have fragrance.
Cymbidium Golden Elf 'Stardust' is one example with a subtle rose perfume.

If you prefer strong fragrances, Rhynchostylis or Zygopetalum are two good options...
not all orchids are fragrant...
Cattleyas have fragrances that either revive you or make you swoon... they are [have] complex fragrances (many layers) that range from citrus to
beautiful, rose-like floral. Oncidiums have fragrances that make you hungry [well ! ...] they range from chocolate and vanilla to tropical punch.

When orchids are judged for fragrances, experts... evaluate the orchid based on the intensity (strength) of the fragrance, the distance the smell
travels, its general appeal (pleasant smell), and the complexity (well-roundedness) of the fragrance.
Popular Fragrant Orchids
Brassavola nodosa (lily-of-the-valley)
Brassavola 'Little Stars' (sweet)
Orchids from the Cattleya alliance tend to have floral, sweet, citrus
Cochleanthes amazonica (spicy, candy)
Dendrobuim anosmum (raspberry, strawberry or rhubarb)
Dendrobuim parishii (berries)
Dendrobium nobile (floral)
Encyclia fragrans (vanilla, honey)
Encyclia radiata (coconut)
Lycaste aromatica (cinnamon)
Maxillaria tenuifolia (coconut)
Miltoniopsis (rose)
Neofinetia falcata (coconut and jasmine)
Oncidium Sharry Baby (chocolate and vanilla)
Oncidium Twinkle (vanilla)
Oncidium Hawaiian Sunset (floral)
Oncidium cheirophorum (sweet, citrus)
Oncidium ornithorhynchum (vanilla)
Phalaenopsis Caribbean Sunset (rose)
Phalaenopsis Coral Isles (citrus)
Phalaenopsis Orchid World 'Roman Holiday' (spicy)
Phalaenopsis schilleriana (rose)
Phalaenopsis violacea (floral)
Rhynchostylis (floral)
Vanda coerulescens (grape bubble gum)
Zygopetalum (hyacinth)"


The American Orchid recognize its founders and celebrate its 87th anniversary...

"The American Orchid Society...
to recognize its founders and celebrate its 87th anniversary...

a book signing by orchid grower Robert Fuchs of R.F. Orchids, who will
speak about the book, "Robert's Road, Chronicle of an Orchid Tradition,"
written by Flora Murphy.

The celebration comes during April, which is National Orchid Month,
designated as such by the AOS on its 80th birthday in 2001. The naming of
the month is designed to raise awareness nationally of orchids...

nearly 18,000 members around the world, the AOS is recognized as a
proponent of orchid education, research, and conservation. It is the
largest special-interest horticultural organization in the world."



Jewel Orchid - Ludisia discolor

"Ludisia discolor

Growth habit: An upright to sprawling evergreen orchid growing to 12 inches
tall and twice as wide. The leaves are oval in shape with a velvety look;
they are red on the underside and deep green on the surface with pink
longitudinal stripes, and they grow to 6 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Light: Grow in filtered sun.

Water needs: Prefers moist soil; water when the surface begins to dry.

Feedings: Apply an orchid fertilizer monthly March through November or add
a slow-release product to the surface of the soil following label instructions.

Propagation: Start plants from cuttings inserted into containers of potting
soil or by dividing older plants.

Ease of culture: Easy.

Hardiness: Tender; protect from frosts and freezes.

Major problems: Avoid overwatering and dense potting soils to prevent root
rot. Leaf-chewing and scale insects are occasional pests. Control as needed
with natural sprays.

Pruning: Grooming is needed throughout the year to remove declining leaves
and shoots that grow out of bounds. Also, remove stems of faded flowers to
keep the plants attractive.

Uses: Gardeners like the colorful foliage of jewel orchids, but they also
get a yearly bonus of attractive winter flowers. The white and yellow
blooms form along long stems held well above the foliage February through
March. These are terrestrial orchids that need a loose soil mix added to
containers having good drainage. The plants can be hung under trees or
displayed on shady patios and balconies, but avoid areas with excessive and
drying winds. They also can be grown in the home.

... native to Southeast Asia and Indonesia."

URL :,0,2264161.story?track=rss


Barbara Pierrou's orchid greenhouse...

"Barbara Pierrou...
greenhouses.. both built from kits.

One greenhouse is primarily used to house the majority of Barbara's orchid collection... about 250 plants. 8-by-12-foot free-standing structure...

a number of home greenhouse kits come with detailed instructions so buyers can put them together themselves.
The couple and their adult daughter assembled the second greenhouse themselves.

Barbara Pierrou's orchid greenhouse...
free-standing, straight-eave model with a green metal frame and polycarbonate walls. It's outfitted with a fogger, exhaust fan, regular fans, a swamp cooler that cools it during the summer and heater for winter months.

The fogger, heating and cooling systems are on automatic systems to keep the greenhouse conditions stable. Each is connected to sensors. For
example, when humidity drops below a certain level, the fogger comes on automatically.

Several small fans are situated throughout the greenhouse... You need air movement because without it, you'll get mold on the plants...

The structure did not come with shelves...

The second greenhouse is similar in size but cost less because of its wood frame...
includes a portable sink, as well as shelves...

if you're in the market for a greenhouse. The American Orchid Society... a list of tips:

Determine your needs and space requirements.
Greenhouses range from large, elegant conservatories to compact window greenhouses that fit snugly into a kitchen window frame. If your plant collection will expand, get one large enough to accommodate the additional
plants. It's easier to buy something slightly larger than to expand the greenhouse...

There are three major types to consider: lean-to, attached and free-standing greenhouses.
A lean-to is typically small, about 6 to 10 feet long, with one of its long sides formed by the side of the house to which it is attached.

An attached greenhouse is an extension of one's home that is connected at the narrow end instead of the long side. It's larger than a lean-to, so
it's better equipped to provide more control of humidity, ventilation and expansion problems.

Free-standing greenhouses... are unattached on all four sides. While they are more expensive than the first two options, they offer maximum light to
plants and better humidity control. Price can range from $50 [!!!] to several thousand dollars.

Pick a location in the yard that will capture maximum light. Avoid a spot near shade trees or other structures that can block light. While certain
plants, especially orchids, thrive in well-lighted conditions, they should not be exposed to direct sun. That can be easily fixed by putting a tarp
over the top.

Shelves should be built with convenience in mind. A good size is 30 inches tall and 33 inches wide. Aluminum mesh or steel mesh benches allows air to
better circulate. If you choose wood, select treated lumber that is moisture-resistant.

Consider heating and cooling needs.
A heating system is necessary in areas where temperatures dip below 45 degrees. Orchids do best in 60 to 80 degrees.
A cooling system is likely needed for a greenhouse in this region because of the hot summer months.
Automatic humidifiers should be paired with an adequate ventilation mechanism. Many greenhouses are equipped with side and roof vents that operate
automatically or manually. Add a few fans to keep air moving.

For more information about... buying and/or building a greenhouse check out...

"How to Build Your Own Greenhouse," by Roger Marshall (Storey Publishing...)"


photo : [caption : "Barbara Pierrou... her home greenhouse"


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The American Orchid Society Has a New Look and a New Logo

The American Orchid Society has a new look including a new logo and a re-design of their popular website. The new website uses more white and is more airy than the old website... Not all the features from the old site (ie., Vendor Listings) are visible on new site but from the looks of things, it's going to be a great look!
Post a comment below and tell us what you think of the new web design and the AOS's new logo.

The old American Orchid Society website used black very effectively which gave the site a lot of class. Black blended very well with the white text on top of the beautiful orchid images. Many of us got used to using the old site so the new site will take some time getting used to navigating. Tell us what you think of the new AOS designs by posting a comment below.