Thursday, November 29, 2012

Black Catasetums?

Catasetum Frilly Doris x Catasetum Vodoo Dragon is a dark brownish black in natural sunlight; deep red under a flash. The Vodoo Dragon parent was very dominant in his hybrid, pushing the color heavily towards dark, glossy reds. Catasetum Frilly Doris improved the shape somewhat but otherwise was generally overpowered by the Vodoo Dragon influence.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Laelia anceps variety alba

Laelia anceps variety alba, in bloom at Sunset Valley Orchids. Actually, there was a whole greenhouse full of anceps in bloom and it was quite a sight!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

No Doubt About Orchids!

Fredclarkeara No Doubt, Mormodes Painted Desert x Catasetum Susan Fuchs. Another wonderful Fred Clarke hybrid blooming now!

A Black Orchid! Fredclarkeara After Dark 'SVO Black Pearl' FCC/AOS

Fredclarkeara After Dark 'SVO Black Pearl' FCC/AOS. If you are hunting for a black orchid, these are an incredibly deep wine red which, under a flash, shows red tones but under normal sunlight are black as night. The Fredclarkaras are also easier to grow than the species parents and make a huge display of flowers that last for weeks. If one is calling to you, they are available at Sunset Valley Orchids.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Glimpsing the Divine

Taquitz Rock, Idyllwild, California. There are those moments, when you glimpse the world as if anew, and the worries and cares of modern life seem a world apart, even if just for a while. This was shot from the deep, tranquil shade of the mossy woods as the morning sun pierced the darkness with brilliance from afar, as a song might pierce the silence. For you camera buffs, is that a lens flare I see or is it the dove of peace and light? Happy Holidays friends. May this post find you well and near the ones you hold dearest.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Flower Hat Jelly, Olindias formosa

Flower Hat Jelly, Olindias formosa, at the Osaka Aquarium. These little jewels are native to Southern Japan where they live mainly on fish. They pack a nice little sting, as you would imagine.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Phragmipedium Grande

Phragmipedium Grande, (Phragmipedium longifolium x caudatum), Southland Orchid Show.

Tis the Season for Western Bluebirds and Boughs of Holly

Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana, hopping off of a bunch of holly after a brief meal of holly berries. Western bluebirds are quite fond of berries, thus helping to spread the sticky holly berry seeds from tree to tree.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Magnolia 'Little Gem'

Magnolia hybrid, likely Magnolia 'Little Gem,' in bloom at the Huntington Botanical Gardens. I have loved Magnolias since I first saw the double rows of them in bloom along University Avenue in Palo Alto, California. Their flowers are positively huge with a stiff leathery texture contrasted by their pristine white color and plastic-like stamens. These are particularly striking with their hot pink centers.

Apparently, ancient Magnolias evolved more than 20 million years ago, before bees became a major pollinator. Thus, the Magnolia evolved to be pollinated by beetles, including the heavy, leathery segments (tepals) that prevented significant beetle damage. You may see similarly tough flower segments among water lilies which are also pollinated by beetles.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mormodes Exotic Treat 'SVO' AM/AOS

Mormodes Exotic Treat 'SVO' AM/AOS, 85 pts, was just awarded in October at the Southland Orchid Show. Mormodes are native to South America and are known for their gracefully twisting segments and exotic coloration.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Just a Little Squirrely

Western Grey Squirrel or California Grey Squirrel, Sciurus griseus, hunting around for scraps and stray acorns. As opposed to the familiar California ground squirrel found in burrows along the coastal scrub, these squirrels live in trees (arboreal) up in the coastal mountain ranges (from Washington through California). Some get quite large and are quite inquisitive, chittering at you from the trees. This one came down from the tree to get a closer look at me.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Acorn Woodpecker in the Act

Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus, stashing and guarding acorns on an old oak "grainerie" (acorn tree). The woodpeckers drill holes in the bark of the tree and insert acorns into the holes in storage for the Winter. They will guard the granerie from would-be thieves such as jays. These little birds nest in hollowed out cavities in dead trees although they have been known to use telephone poles, houses and other sources of dead wood.

Monday, November 05, 2012

A Favorite with the (Painted) Ladies

Painted Lady Butterfy, Vanessa cardui, on unknown blooming tree. I kid you not, this tree was covered with Painted Lady Butterflies. I have never, ever seen so many Painted Ladies as covered this huge, fragrant, blooming tree. I chatted with the owner but completely forgot to ask what kind of tree it was. I, of course, was very much enjoying shooting pictures of all the butterflies.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Reddest of the Encyclias: Encyclia atrorubens

Encyclia atrorubens. These like to grow dry and warm. The color comes through in hybrids as, unfortunately, does the pinched lip.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Huntleya burtii

Huntleya burtii; this glossy, spectacular flower is native to the cloud forests of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Peru where it grows epiphytically on the trunks of trees.