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!
Two weeks ago I visited Cal Pacific Orchid Farm in Encinitas, CA and I’m finally getting around to posting about it. Better late than never, right? My boyfriend and I were out in San Diego for NERDFEST 2011 Comic-Con and had a couple of free days before and after the con, so we made it a point to go see some orchids. We had breakfast plans in beautiful La Jolla, which is a bit south of Encinitas, so it was a convenient drive on up to the orchid farm afterward.
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!