Orchids


http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/04/18/orchid-flowers-fool-flat-footed-flies-by-faking-fungus-infected-foliage

So interesting to have science document what I observe every day in the flower shop! As long as I have been designing flowers, it still gives me a sense of wonder!

Lady Slipper orchid faking a virus

Of course I couldn’t resist taking some pictures, while I was in the middle of  a botanical lovers paradise. I had the pleasure of going through a few gardens on Kauai.  I was truly amazed at how big things grow there.  I buy a lot of tropical things from Hawaii, but for me to see them growing wild, and in gardens in their natural form was fantastic!  Thought you might enjoy seeing just a few of the things that I was so delighted by.

Is it my imagination or do things just look better in the sunshine!

The elusive and extremely rare Ghost orchid ( dendrophylax lindenii ) is blooming early this year.  Other common names include Palm Polly and White Frog Orchid.  You can see from the video why it’s called it a frog orchid. The orchid was  formerly classified under Polyrrhiza but has recently been moved to the genus Dendrophylax.

The Ghost orchid usually blooms between June and August with it’s peak blooming time arriving in July, but this year it was found to be blooming three months early.  The bloom was discovered March 26th, this year. It’s interesting to note that just about everything has been three months early this year. Strange!

This orchid is native to SW Florid, Cuba, Haiti, and there are only around 1000 of them in the world.  They are known to exist in Fakahatchee Strand in Florida.  This blog has some great photos and informative information about the preserve http://seejournal.wordpress.com/ The orchids are also found in Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida.

Habitat loss from logging in Fakahatchee Strand, and the digging of canal systems throughout South Florida,  have reduced orchid numbers.  Even though these orchids are endangered in the wild, poachers are still tempted by the idea of theft ( remember the orchid thief movie and book, this orchid was the subject in the book ) which has contributed to further damage of the species. The sad thing is that ghost orchids rarely survive being transplanted.  Since the ghost orchid is not self pollinating, it depends on only one species of insect, the giant sphinx moth for pollination. It is the only insect with a long enough proboscis since the orchid has about a five inch throat.  Go here for some awesome photos and informative info on wild orchids of Florida if you are interested in reading more.  http://www.flnativeorchids.com/natives_gallery/dendrophylax_lindenii.htm

This was an interesting video of an attempt to catch the sphinx moth pollinating the orchid..I thought it was a hummingbird! I’ve watched it twice and I still think it was a bird.  Can you imagine the thrill of infrared photography, and sitting,  waiting just to see what shows up in the dark!  This couple also have an interesting site with lots of information about the ghost orchid.

If I didn’t fear snakes and alligators so much, I would certainly be taking a trip to Florida to check this out!  I spent a few weeks camping in Florida, close to a lake no less and it was one of creepiest things I’ve ever done.  So many gators and snakes, I found myself not able to really relax and enjoy it.  Maybe since a trip to find this orchid would be on a board walk,  I could handle the swamp. Actually the more I think about it, I’m liking the pictures on the web just fine! 🙂

http://www.ghostorchid.info/

So I’m not sure if you can see the orchid, but we had fun playing on a site that creates your own personal avatar, so we took a real picture of one of our dancing lady orchids and turned it into an avatar from Pandora. You can see the orchid across the nose and around his eyes if you look closely.( It’s the yellow/brown shape over the nose and above the eyes) .

For those who have seen the movie, you know where Pandora is, and what an avatar  is.  For those that haven’t seen the movie,  I suggest going and seeing it. The computer photography is beautiful!  I thought this orchid avatar was quite appropriate for the lush ecological paradise that they showed on the planet Pandora.  A pretty fun movie, especially if you love plants like I do. I spent more time enjoying the visual feast of the forest than I did listening to the actual story. I did get a little tired of the war scene, kind of went on a little to long for my taste and I’m not a fan of 3D, but this type of 3D didn’t bother me and it was done quite well.  I actually think it added quite a bit to the movie effect.

I also read about the linguist that created the Nav’i language for the film.  He says he talks to himself in the Pandora language,  & it’s pretty boring talking only to himself and he hopes the language will catch on with people here on earth. Pretty interesting and entertaining to think about and it made me laugh! Then there is the story about the botanist that helped create the plants on Pandora, which would have been a fascinating  and fun job! You can also read the story below:

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jan/02/science/la-sci-avatar-q-and-a2-2010jan02

This is the psychopsis orchid, see how you could mistake it for a spider..it’s quite a large bloom also. This is the potential parent of the one below called dancing lady.

The Dancing Lady

I also have this wonderful looking one too..see why they are addicting, they are such interesting blooms!

I will be doing an exotic flower wrap with orchids tomorrow for a photo shoot for a commercial.  I’ll have to see if I can get a copy of the commercial after it’s finished.

So I guess that being an artistic person and a designer, I like change, so for those of you who are used to seeing pink…it’s okay..it’s still me! :>)  This is my new fall theme, and I am so into collecting orchids right now, I had to use my orchid picture for the header.  ” Joe ”  my orchid guy ( that is his real name ) has been feeding my addiction lately by sharing some incredible new orchid varieties with me. I am struggling to learn the care requirements and names and species of them all.  He came in this week to check out my last weeks purchases, one had dropped all of it’s buds, so I was disappointed.  When I asked Joe to look at it..he calmly said ” it died from drowning! ”  It just served as a reminder to me that even though I know not to overwater, I forgot and left it sit inside another pot, that held the water, which wicked it up through the roots and made it far to wet.  Fortunately for me, he comes by my store weekly, so he saved my baby orchid.  He reminded me once again that the real problem with orchids is too much water.

I have customers call me all the time, asking if I am sure that it can survive on such little water, and it’s true, less water is the key to survival, unless of course you get some new special variety, that needs water twice a week?? I’m not kidding, that’s what makes orchids so interesting, there is so much to learn. 

One of the new plants that I just purchased, has a little history behind it, Joe was telling me that breeders believe that it might be the parent orchid called psychopsis of the dancing lady oncidium ( we call it a yellow popcorn orchid ). It looks a little like a dancing lady, but maybe two to three times the size, and it just gets 1 bloom on the end of the long spike which lasts for a very long time, it will eventually drop the one bloom and then another bloom will pop out at the very end of the spike. He says you never cut the spike back on this particular variety, since its new blooms come from the end of the spike.  It’s flower looks like a giant spider, rather scary looking in a way.  I actually thought it was a spider, when I found a dropped bloom on the carpet. I can’t even remember the name right now, but I’ll post it and a picture when the next bloom comes out.  I also added a new one that has a chocolate fragrance.  I love it!  I’ll try to get some photos and varieties listed soon. In the meantime, check out this fabulous site that has some amazing slideshows of orchids. http://www.orchidworks2.com/default2.asp