Happy Early Holidays to Me: Venezuelan Orchids Illustrated

Venezuelan Orchids Illustrated, Vol. 1-6
Venezuelan Orchids Illustrated, Vol. 1-6

I’ve mentioned before how wonderful my husband is, and I have yet another example of his awesomeness to share with you. As an early holiday gift, he got me the complete, out-of-print six-volume set of Venezuelan Orchids Illustrated by G.C.K. Dunsterville and Leslie A. Garay!

A little back story on how my husband heard about these books: he recently read my copy of Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy by Eric Hansen, which is a GREAT book that I simply cannot recommend enough for any orchid nerd (and it’s on my To Re-Read List, because I first read it years ago). Chapter four talks about Galfrid Clement Keyworth Dunsterville (what a name!), a British engineer and his wife Nora, who traveled throughout Venezuela from the 1950s to the 1970s on what sounds like an epic orchid collecting adventure. Their expeditions prompted the husband-and-wife team to write literally thousands of pages describing the orchids they encountered along the way, complete with detailed illustrations of each. These six volumes, which include introductions in both English and Spanish, cover 1,000 Venezuelan orchid species, and they are beautiful—so of course I took photos:

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Happy New Year!

Happy 2014, orchid lovers! I hope you had a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve. My husband and I and some of our friends went to the New Year’s Eve bash at Brooklyn Winery and had a real blast!

Here’s some fun news: for 2014, Pantone has chosen Radiant Orchid as Color of the Year. The official press release says, “An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

I have to be honest: I don’t love this color. I do love purple, but I prefer it in a darker shade with more blue in it; Radiant Orchid is a bit too pink for my taste. The simple fact that it’s named after my favorite flower may encourage me to try a couple Radiant Orchid-colored accessories, though. I know the whole “Color of the Year” thing is a marketing scheme, but hey, these Radiant Orchid-colored Phals have been all over the fashion and beauty blogs lately and seeing orchids in the news always makes me happy.

Completely coincidentally, the Vanda that I chose for the cover of my 2014 calendar has a bit of a Radiant Orchid tone. How’s that for a segue into saying that it’s not too late to get a Brooklyn Orchids calendar for yourself or a fellow orchid lover?

On a side note, two of my Phals in spike are now developing buds and a couple other Phal spikes are coming along nicely, so I should have some flowers to show off early this year!

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014 for all. Cheers!

BBG’s Blooming Tiger Orchid Makes it to the Press

Tiger Orchid at BBG

Today I noticed an article on Gothamist about the Tiger Orchid in bloom at the BBG. And then I went over to the BBG’s Garden News Blog and saw their post about it, along with some really nice photos of this monster orchid’s blooms. Their photographer snapped closeups of these giant flowers, which I failed to get during my visit last week.

According to the Gothamist article, the Grammatophyllum Speciosum gains 100 pounds when it is in bloom! Impressive. Now that was a bit of information that I didn’t know.

I think I’ve earned to the right to be smug and say that I was the first to blog about the BBG’s Tiger Orchid blooming. Just saying.  🙂

But seriously, go see the orchid. I know I’ve said this before. It’s really quite a sight to behold, and there are some other really beautiful orchids to be seen in the Aquatic House while you’re there visiting the Tiger. As I mentioned, winter weekday admission is free, and the Aquatic House (and the entire Conservatory in general) is a wonderful respite from grossy, chilly winter weather.

Edited to add: Commenter Stefano pointed out a gratuitous article about the orchid from today’s online Brooklyn Paper, too. Orchid growing isn’t like baseball or cycling, folks.

Grammatophyllum Speciosum Blooming at Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Other Wonderful Things

I had forgotten about Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s free winter weekday admission until I saw Brokelyn’s post about it earlier this week. So I made plans to go with my also-marginally-employed friend on Friday morning (random aside: we planned to meet at 11am on 11.11.11!). I’ve been in the mood to go see some orchids, and I was also thinking about how the Grammatophyllum speciosum (AKA the Tiger Orchid) was probably due to bloom soonish. You may remember that I featured this plant as an Orchid of the Week quite awhile back; it’s believed to be the largest type of orchid in the world!

When we got to the Aquatic House at the BBG, we marveled at some lovely Vandas for awhile before I realized that the Tiger Orchid was already in bloom!! This plant is a truly stunning monster:

The amazing Grammatophyllum speciosum in bloom
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Happy One Year Blogaversary to Me!

Photo credit: wpgarage.com

One year ago today, I started Brooklyn Orchids! In that year, I’ve published 107 posts (including this one) and received close to 14,000 views! I’m very proud of what I’ve done with this blog so far, and I plan to keep it up. It’s nice having a hobby that I can share in this format with friends, family, and People of the Internet in general.

Since that first post a year ago, my orchid collection has grown from 9 to 31. My kill count has—unfortunately—increased from 2 to 7, but when your hobby involves growing living things, this is inevitable. Also in the past year, my orchids survived a move from Sunset Park to Park Slope and are now (for the most part) growing happily in my very own Orchid Room.

Over the last 365 days, I’ve written 28 Orchid of the Week posts, a couple posts on unfortunate orchid names, and a whole bunch of informational posts about growing orchids. I must admit that I’ve been slacking on those informational posts lately, and my goal is to get back in to the swing of writing them.

I hope you’ve been enjoying reading my blog as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it! Here’s to many more years of orchid obsession and blogging.  Ta-ta for now. 🙂

Orchids on The X Files

Now that The X Files is on Netflix Streaming, I’ve finally immersed myself in this show that I’d heard so much about but never watched. Last night I started the third season and came to the second episode, titled “Paper Clip.” And I was so excited when a scene opened in an orchid greenhouse that I had to pause and take pics so that I could post them here! Click each photo to see a larger version.

Orchids on The X Files
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