I already told you about the orchid I purchased at the OOS show and sale a couple of weeks ago. I promised pictures of the show, so here they are! I wasn’t quite as snap-happy as I can be sometimes, so the number of pictures is not overwhelming. Just 64 decent pictures of some really nice orchids.
I’m getting my photo album posted to the blog just days before attending my first OOS meeting. When I was at the orchid show, I decided to join the OOS. Hopefully I’ll have something to post about the meeting next week.
I was able to attend a meteorology conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia during the first week of June. I had never been to Nova Scotia before and I needed to stay in the city for the week, but I was still able to get in a little sight-seeing. Along with some historical sights, I visited the Public Gardens, which is a Victorian Garden originally established in 1867.
The gardens are well maintained and well used by locals. I was surprised by the number of plants and trees in bloom while I was there. As you can see in the map above, there is a large pond (including ducks) and a couple of smaller water features. There is also a nice bandstand, which is a common music venue during the Summer.
Apparently the gardens were badly damaged in September 2003 by Hurricane Juan. Many large trees were destroyed. When I was there, the signs had all been covered over with new growth.
Some of my favorite plants were the orange Maple trees (pictured above), the rhododendrons (above) and the tulip beds (below). I also saw a planting of neat Euphorbias, which might have been ‘Tiny Tim.’
While on vacation in Hawaii this May, my wife and I visited the Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu. In Oklahoma, a tropical botanical garden would necessarily reside in an enclosed structure. Not so in Hawaii. The only enclosed structure on the grounds of the Foster garden is to keep a group of hybrid orchids in a pristine environment, where they will not spread into the wild or cross with naturally occurring species.
The Foster Botanical Garden has a long history, dating back to 1853. [You can read about the history here.] The garden includes areas dedicated to orchids, hybrid orchids, Cycads, palms, bromeliads, Aroids, gingers, and Heliconias. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see the Hybrid Orchid greenhouse because I took too long in other parts of the garden and the garden closed before I got there.
I would like to just give a run down of the specific sections of the garden and then point you to my photo album, which I’m sure you will enjoy! 🙂
The Foster Botanical Garden has a wonderful collection of 24 “Exceptional Trees.” Exceptional Trees are those that have been designated as trees which are to be protected and cannot be cut down. According to the legend, one of these trees is the offspring of the tree under which Buddha sat when he gained his knowledge. You can see pictures of many of the very large trees in my photo album. A couple of the exceptional trees are palms, of which the Foster BG has more than 100 different species.
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of palm trees in this relatively small botanical garden. Not being a connoisseur of palm trees, many of them look the same to me. However, there were about 10 different species that really stuck out, including the Double Coconut Palm and the Grugru Palm. The palm trees ranged in size from about 8 feet tall to well over 80 feet tall. Their trunks varied from smooth to covered in spines (the Grugru palm).
On first glance, many cycads look like members of the palm family. But they are a very different family of plants, and can grown into the subtropical and temperate zones, including Oklahoma. These plants are displayed in the “Prehistoric Glen” of the Foster Botanical Garden. Cycads are among the oldest trees in the world. The individual trees themselves are not the oldest plants, but the species have been found in the fossil records dating back to the age of the dinosaurs!
Heliconias, Gingers and Marantas
The botanical order Zingiberales contains the families Heliconiaceae, Zingiberaceae and Marantaceae – which were all featured in the center terraces of the Foster BG. Of course, I am a huge fan of plants from the Marantaceae family. I was surprised to find many plants from this family were labeled with incomplete signs, such as “Calathea plant, Calathea sp.” It was as if they had tried to determine the species and had been unable. I have had this problem quite often with this family of plants. It is surprising to me that for such a beautiful group of plants, the names are not more widely known.
There was a beautiful flowering specimen of Calathea picturata and many flowering Heliconias. Unfortunately, many of the Gingers were not in bloom while I was there. I did see them blooming in other parts of Hawaii though – and I brought back 5 different varieties to grow at home.
There is a great collection of orchids, mounted on stumps and tree trunks and planted in the ground. One of them is appropriately named “The Giant Orchid” (Grammatophyllum speciosum). It has long, wandering stems that arch towards the ground and was probably a good 8-10 feet in diameter!
It’s simply amazing to see these plants growing outdoors. I would never think of putting one of mine outdoors.
Odds and Ends
There are certainly some oddball plants at the Foster BG. One of these was the Cannonball Tree (Couroupita guianensis), which has tendrils growing down it’s trunk that are covered in blooms that look like orchids. Later, very large nuts form on these tendrils that look like a large, round coconut (or a cannonball). As they mature, they begin falling from the tree. Weighing somewhere around 20 pounds, these large nuts can be dangerous to someone not paying attention!
Another odd specimen at the garden was the Buddha’s hand citrus tree (Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus). I had seen pictures of these truly odd fruits before, but not seen one in person until I was here.
All of my pictures from the garden (289 of them) are available in this photo album. Enjoy!
Last week my wife and I went on vacation to Hawaii. I wrote two posts before leaving and scheduled them to update while we were gone, so you never even knew I was out.
On our vacation, we were on the “Big” Island (Hawaii Island) for one day, in order to enjoy the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Being the plant-obsessed person that I am, I did quite a bit of research before we left to find some plant landmarks to see along the way. Hawaii is beautiful without having to stop by a botanical garden, but I wanted to make sure we visited a greenhouse or two while we there, as well as the natural roadside beauty I knew we would see.
Along the road from Hilo, Hawaii to the national park is a commercial orchid grower, Akatsuka Orchid Gardens. I was really excited about stopping by this grower on our drive, because the website said that they have a showroom open during the day where you can view many of their orchids, and that they also allow you to wander around their greenhouses on a self-guided tour. Frankly, I couldn’t wait to do this!
And I was not disappointed. Christie was pretty tired the morning that we flew into Hilo, so she leaned back the seat in the rental car and took a little nap while I wandered around snapping pictures of orchids for about 30 minutes or so. Then she came in and walked around with me for another 30 minutes and helped me pick out the coolest and most affordable two plants to take home with me!
The color of this Zygo really caught Christie and me both. We picked out a very healthy looking plant that had about 15 buds on it – none of them open. By the time we got home (6 days later) there were 5 or 6 buds open. It is a gorgeous orchid. Like nearly all orchids in captivity, it is a hybrid. This particular orchid is an intergeneric hybrid, which means it is a cross between two different genera – Zygopetalum and Aganisia.
The other plant I purchased is hard to pick out in this image. It is one of the smaller plants, with darker leaves in the left half of the image, but near the center. The blooms are born on shorter stalks than most of the blooms in the image, but they look much the same. It is an interspecific hybrid, which means that it was created by crossing two species within the same genus – Masdevallia velifera and Masdevallia deformis.
The rest of my pictures can be found in this album. Enjoy!