Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Aerangis fastuosa

Aerangis fastuosa, a native of Madagascar, where it grows at around 3000-5000 ft.

Monday, March 24, 2014

San Diego County Orchid Society AOS Awards

 Brassia Rex 'Chorus Line' AM/AOS

 (C. Peckhaviensis X C Chocolate Drop) HCC/AOS

 Dendrobium gregulus 'George's Honeycomb' CCM/AOS

 Masdevallia Golden Monarch 'Lemon Yellow' HCC/AOS

 Phal Huar Jih Fancy 'Red Bird' HCC/AOS

Rth Maxima's Effect 'Melinda' AM/AOS

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Oberonia setigera

Oberonia setigera, a miniature orchid with flowers a few millimeters across, putting on a heck of a display at the San Diego County Orchid Show this weekend.  These are native to the Philippines.

Cymbidum (Zippadedoda x Avranches) 'Lemon Meringue'

Cymbidum (Zippadedoda x Avranches) 'Lemon Meringue' Silver Medal, Cymbidium Society of America.  One of the many fine orchids on display at the San Diego Orchid Society Show this weekend.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Cymbidium lowianum variety concolor

Cymbidium lowianum variety concolor is a native of the hills of Burma, Thailand, China and Vietnam from around 3500 ft. to 7500 ft.  The regular colored form typically has red veining and a red blotch on the distal part of the lip.

Bifrenaria harrisoniae 'Ruth' AM/AOS

Bifrenaria harrisoniae 'Ruth' AM/AOS blooming in the back yard.  This plant has gotten pretty huge (50 growths maybe?) and just keeps getting bigger.  I am not looking forward to trying to divide it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The reflecting pond outside the Queena Plaza Hotel

The reflecting pond outside the Queena. They had a large, formal but playful garden, complete with waterfall outside of the restaurant (behind the darkened glass).  It was quiet and peaceful strolling through the garden, with a gentle breeze caressing my hair and the rush of the water coursing down the two story waterfall, aptly drowning out the sounds of the city .  They had all sorts of fanciful cement animals tactfully scattered around the lawn (monkeys, elephants, frogs, etc.).  Most were pond-ready, each having a little spout in its mouth to hook up to a pump.  There was only one other person in the garden, a well dressed elderly lady in a white polka-dot blouse, neat purple vest, pressed black pants, with the prerequisite jade bangle and silver watch and conservative grey socks.   She had carefully placed her creased leather shoes, side by side, in front of her as if they were old friends.  She seemed to be doing some sort of calisthenics or perhaps a version of tai chi.  She was ever so gently bent over at the hip, bouncing slightly to stretch her aging back muscles, hands facing palm downward, as if caressing the earth.  It looked a bit uncomfortable to my Western sensibilities but, as I grow older, I am all too aware of the copious benefits of regular stretching (and the nagging aches associated with not doing so) so I could relate.  That's all for tonight, gentle readers.  Go in peace.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Taiwanese vase with Butterflies and gold trim

Taiwanese vase with Butterflies and gold trim.  I saw this beautiful vase on display at the Airport Star Alliance Lounge in Taiwan.  I couldn't resist taking a picture.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

American Kestrel on a Sign Post

American Kestrel, Falco sparverius, resting on a wildlife sign post.  These are also known as Sparrow Hawks and may be seen hovering for prey over grassy and shrubby areas.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center

The plaza overlooked by a huge statue of Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama Buddha or Shakyamuni Buddha) at the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center.  The Center was erected to memorialize a bone fragment from Buddha.  Within the center is a complex containing educational areas, religious worship areas, shopping and eating areas as well as a large auditorium and much more.

Gazillions of Orchids at the Taiwan International Orchid Show

The main exhibit hall had these floating islands of Phalaenopsis and Oncidium orchids that was just spectacular.  The sheer mass of all of those blooming orchids hanging from above was breathtaking!

Friday, March 07, 2014

Taiwan International Orchid Show Opening Ceremonies

Dancers at the Taiwan International Orchid Show Opening Ceremony started off the festivities before a series of speeches from a variety of orchid society and government officials.  Unfortunately for many of the out of country visitors, most of the speeches were in Mandarin, provided without translation.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Chinese Dragons

Chinese dragons are a symbol of power, strength and good fortune and are often considered yang; the phoenix, often seen with the dragon, is considered yin.  Dragons were long seen as the symbol of the emperors of China, with royal palaces, pottery, clothing, etc. often bearing dragon symbols.  In Tainan, some of the temple rooftops have particularly elaborate dragons that are quite amazing to see.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Pet Birds in Taiwan

People in Hong Kong are known for showing their pet birds.  However, it turns out a lot of shops in Tainan have pet birds as well.  This one was particularly beautiful.  However, after Googling longer than I care to admit, I came up empty on an ID.  I would probably do better if I simply walked into one of the local pet shops (although my Chinese language skills are sorely lacking).

Taxi Dashboard Lucky Figurines

The taxi had these cartoon-like lucky figurines on his dashboard.  Lest you think the driver was a Nazi, note that the 'swastika' symbol predates its Nazi usage and is actually a quite ancient symbol dating back to the Indus Valley Civilizations and Paleolithic Europe.  In Asia, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, still use the symbol to represent wealth, prosperity and auspiciousness.

Tainan, Taiwan

View of Tainan, Taiwan, from the 31st floor.  You can see that the city is quite large, as it stretches off into the horizon.  The day started off cold and foggy in Taipei but, as we reached Tainan, the weather became warm, humid, and sunny.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Anguloa dubia

Anguloa dubia, taken from the front of the flower.  Anguloa dubia produces a profusion of five or six, yellow, scented blooms (per bulb!) that are a bit smaller than other Anguloa species but make up for it in numbers.  The frangrance has been described as alternately like Wintergreen oil or perhaps lemon oil, in either case, fairly pleasant.  In San Diego it blooms in the February/March timeframe, similar to the season in its native Columbia.  They seem to grow outside in San Diego without issue although a bit of protection from the cold Winter rains is probably a good idea.

Anguloa dubia, showing that famous Anguloa tulip-like shape, the photo being shot from the side.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Amazing Pincushion Protea

Pincushion Protea, Leucospermum, blooming in the back yard for the first time!  I've been waiting for this little beauty to bloom for several years now.  It's finally big enough to bloom...and, better yet, it survived the drought and the sprinkler system outage.  What more can you ask for?

Ida fragrans

Ida fragrans, a native of Ecuador and Columbia where it grows at around 5000 ft., blooming in the greenhouse.  True to Oakeley's description, it has the fragrance of hyacinths at night (yes, I had to go out into the greenhouse at night to smell it to see if it was really true!).  Much thanks to Dr. Henry Oakeley for the very helpful description (and the autograph on my copy of Lycaste, Ida and Anguloa).  Notably, the picture of Ida fragrans in appears to be of something else (which ultimately forced me to look things up in Oakely, which I should have done in the first place).

A close-up of the lip detail here, showing the 5 keeled callus (which is mainly visible if you view it from above).

Paphiopedilum lowii

Paphiopedilum lowii, a native of Malaya, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi and Borneo, blooming in the greenhouse.