My husband and I recently returned from a much-needed vacation in Southern California. He’s from Glendale (a Los Angeles suburb) so we started off there, then spent a few nights in Hermosa Beach. From HB we drove to Palm Desert and stayed a few nights, then returned to Glendale for a night before flying back home.
For some reason it didn’t occur to me to research local orchid growers prior to our trip, but a couple minutes into our drive to Palm Desert I thought, “hey, we should see if there are any orchid nurseries along the way!” So I searched “orchid nursery” on Google Maps’ new pit stop feature…and lo and behold, a whole bunch of places popped up. The first one I saw was Norman’s Orchids—whose website I’ve browsed many times before—and it was only located about 10 minutes out of the way on our drive. The decision was a no-brainer: we had to stop by on our mini road trip!
Located in Montclair, California (just north of Chino and east of Pomona), Norman’s Orchids is open to the public from 9am to 5pm PST Monday through Saturday. They’ve been around since 1986, so this year is their 30th anniversary! Somehow the business managed to snag the orchids.com domain, so if you’ve ever typed that URL into your browser you’ve stumbled upon their website.
My husband and I were the only visitors at the time, and we spent awhile strolling through the rooms and being wowed by orchid after orchid. I photographed some of my favorites and (duh) would like to share them here with you! I’ve tried my best to identify the orchids based on Norman’s website listings and have linked to the pages on their website where you can buy them. Apologies if I’ve identified any of them incorrectly—please feel free to point out errors in the comments!
One of the first orchids I saw upon entering was this beautiful rosy Angulocaste Red Jewel ‘Jumbo’ (Lyc.Geyser Gold x Angcst. Red Jade):
The mini striped blooms of this Mormolyca ringens caught my eye:
I was impressed by an Angraecum Crestwood ‘Dragon King’ (Veitchii x sesquipedale)…aka Darwin’s Orchid):
These gorgeous blooms were nearly the size of my hand! From browsing the seller’s website, I believe this is a Brassolaeliocattleya Pamela Finney ‘Victory’, (Lc. Irene Finney ‘York’ AM/AOS x Blc.Pamela Hetherington ‘Cornation’ FCC/AOS)…but they carry several other similar orchids so I could be wrong.
This stunning Paphiopedilum American Beauty (Black Rook ‘Grace’ B/CSA x Black Buddha ‘Ontario’ HCC/AOS) took my breath away. The photo simply does not do it justice:
This white orchid with a bright, velvety orange lip is a Dendrobium Hsinying Frostymaree ‘Firebird’ (Frosty Dawn x Dawn Mary):
I love the unique shape and intricate lip veins of the Epidendrum atropurpureum syn. cordigera blooms:
Rows upon rows of Phals in bloom:
I’m having trouble identifying this one, but it could be a peloric Doritaenopsis Tying Shin Phoenix ‘Sweetheart’ (Dtps. Tzu Chiang Orange x Phal. Sogo Lawrence):
I’ve never seen a pink Phal with a yellow lip before! I believe this is the Phal. OX Yellow Lip ‘OX1648, AM/AOS (K S Culiacar x OX Firebird):
This crazy-looking peloric clone is a Phal. Lioulin Halo ‘Equilateral’ (Sogo Twinkle x Lioulin Goldfinch):
Me in my happy place, surrounded by orchids:
If you’re interested in seeing all of my photos from this visit, you can check out my album on Flickr.
I would have loved to have bought an orchid or two for myself, but I didn’t want to put any plants through traveling via car and then cross country on a 5+ hour flight. I’ve flown with orchids before with mixed results, so I decided not to do it this time around. But we didn’t leave empty-handed; we did buy a gift for my mother-in-law: this lovely Phal and white ceramic pot, seen here relaxing on our hotel patio in Palm Desert:
As far as I recall the Phal we bought didn’t have a tag, but it might be a Phal. Heartbeat ‘Sweetheart’ AM/AOS’ (Phal.Queen Emma x Phal. Minourche).
I’d definitely consider ordering from Norman’s Orchids’ website. The staff was very friendly and left us to browse, with the occasional check-in to see if we needed any help. The facility was clean, and the prices are reasonable, too. I’m so happy we made a minor detour on our drive to visit the place! Have you visited Norman’s Orchids before and if so, did you purchase anything?