Last week, my boyfriend and I took a vacation to the LA area, where he grew up. We went on a day trip up north to Santa Barbara and made a
pit stop glorious visit to Santa Barbara Orchid Estate, which, according to their website, boasts over five acres of land. The estate is hidden at the end of a twisting road that appears mostly residential along the way. And when you find the place, it’s pretty much like heaven. We only spent about an hour there because we had other places to visit, but I could have spent all day wandering the rows of orchids.
SBOE consists of room after room after room stuffed to the gills with orchids of all shapes and sizes. This place should be named Willy Wonka’s Orchid Factory. I was so overwhelmed but tried to take in as much as possible, mostly by snapping photos of approximately one million flowers. First I saw the room of Masdevallias. Then it was on to mini mounted orchids, Vandaceous orchids, Cattleyas, Oncidiums, Epidendrums, Cymbidiums, and so much more. They have orchids that I can identify by sight and orchids that I’ve never seen or heard of. Orchids that are practically microscopic and orchids that are taller than me (…and I’m tall!). All varieties of color and bloom shape. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites, shall we? Warning: one metric ton of orchid porn below!
This next orchid is the smallest I think I’ve ever seen; the blooms were so small that it was hard to get a good photo of them. I believe it is the Platystele misera (if I’m wrong, feel free to correct me in the comments), and the SBOE website says that the blooms are only about 5/16″ across. MINISCULE:
I spoke with one of the staff members (owners?) at the farm, who was very friendly and suggested orchids that would grow well in my NYC apartment. I was able to resist buying orchids, but I kind of regret not bringing home a souvenir of sorts. It was my first ever visit to an orchid farm, after all, so I should have commemorated it with a new plant. But you can order from the SBOE website, so I may do that at some point. Getting to visit this place was one of the highlights of my vacation! If you find yourself in the Santa Barbara area, definitely stop by SBOE. It’s a must for any orchid lover.
You can see the full Flickr photoset from my visit by clicking here.