Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Marine Blue Butterfly

Marine Blue Butterfly, Leptotes marina, at Big Bear Lake, California.  The caterpillars typically live off of legumes including the many native species of Lupine and, in the city, sometimes you will find them on Plumbago.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hanging out at the Big Bear Zoo

The group of us hanging out at the Big Bear Rescue Zoo.  They had a broad assortment of rescued animals including wolves, golden eagles, mountain lions, lynxes, bald eagles,black bears and grizzly bears!

Brandy, one of the zoo keepers brought out the cutest hedgehog for the crowd.

Western Blue Flag, Iris missouriensis

Western Blue Flag, Iris missouriensis, is found is moist, open, montane meadows in Southern California.  This one was in a meadow adjacent to the Timberline lodge in Big Bear, California. I wandered over to the meadow to investigate the flowers while checking into the lodge and just caught the tail end of what was probably a glorious blooming of a field full of Iris.  I could still see the seed pods the dried flowers on most of the plants and the last few still had flowers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Epidendrum prismatocarpum

Epidendrum prismatocarpum (now Encyclia prismatocarpa), a native of Mexico and Central America, with tall, dramatic spikes.

Paphiopedilum barbatum

Paphiopedilum barbatum, a native of Thailand and Malaysia at around 2,000-4,000 ft.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Paphiopedilum concolor variety chlorphyllum

Paphiopedilum concolor variety chlorophyllum.  This lovely little yellow lady's slipper orchid hails from Southeast Asia where it grows near water, on limestone rocks and in mixed leaf litter.  This one is blooming in the greenhouse where it is growing in a loose bark and perlite mix.

Boulder Bay, Bear Lake, California

Panorama of Boulder Bay, Bear Lake, California.  There's a wonderful little park with a fishing dock that I shot the picture from.  On either side, there are beautiful, large, multi-million dollar houses with boat docks and/or little private beaches.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Orchids Blooming in the Yard...

 Myrmecophila grandiflora, blooming on 3 foot tall spikes with these beautiful flowers way up in the air.  These are native to the sand dunes along the coast of Mexico.

Sobralia La Folie, a hybrid of Sobralia xantholeuca and Sobralia leucoxantha, a wonderful hybrid from our friends at Cal Orchid. It kept the color from leucoxantha and received improved form from xantholeuca.

Both of these grow fine outside here in San Diego (as long as you're not too far inland anyhow).

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Crown flower, Calotropis gigantea

Crown flower, Calotropis gigantea, is native to Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and China, and is used for flower leis in Hawaii.  It is also a favorite food for Monarch butterfly larvae!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Haleiwa Bridge, the "Rainbow Bridge"

Haleiwa Bridge, Oahu, Hawaii.  Also know as the Rainbow Bridge.  Canoes and paddle boards routinely glide underneath as they head up the Anahulu river.  Sometimes turtles come to the surface to bask in the sun.  Other days, there are fisherman patiently waiting for mullet along the banks of the Anahulu and kids frenetically jumping off of the bridge into the river below.

The Stately Banyan, Ficus benghalensis

A huge, stately old Banyan tree, Ficus benghalensis, growing in front of the Honolulu Zoo.  Most of these Banyans were planted in the early to mid-1900s.  Ficus benghalensis is  considered sacred in India where massive trees sometimes shelter temples.  Buddha is said to have reached Nirvana under the shade of a related tree, the sacred fig, Ficus religiosa.  

A Giant Among Orchids: Grammatophyllum speciosum

Grammatophyllum speciosum blooming outdoors at the Kawamoto Orchid Nursery on Oahu, Hawaii.  This species can grow up to ten feet tall and grows quite bushy if grown warm.  The species is found in a variety of tropical countries including Myanamar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Borneo, Java, Moluccas, Philippines, Sulawesi, Sumatra, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands!

Monday, June 09, 2014

Least Sandpipers

Least Sandpipers, Calidris minutilla, skimming over the waves, at The Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Hang Glider over Black's Beach

Hang Glider high up above the cliffs of Black's Beach, La Jolla, California.  I really enjoyed the perspective on this one!

Paphiopedilum bellatulum

Paphiopedilum bellatulum, a lovely orchid  native to Assam, India, Myanamar, Thailand, and theYunnan Province of China where it is typically found in dense shade growing on limestone crevices in leaf litter and moss.   The weight of the typically single, heavy, waxy flower causes the stem to droop down towards the ground, ostensibly allowing ants to pollinate the flower.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Phal bellina variety alba

Phal bellina variety alba.  The albino forms of orchids are typically a bit smaller flowered and a little more difficult to grow.  However, with a little line breeding and/or out-crossing, some really nice forms eventually crop up.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Phalaenopsis bellina var. coerulea

A beautifully round, fragrant Phalaenopsis bellina var. coerulea from Norman's Orchids.   This Phalaenopsis species likes to grow hot and humid and is somewhat susceptible to damping off in cooler conditions.  The original species comes from Borneo where it grows in in shady, humid, swampy forests near sea level.  They have a light fragrance of fruit loops (or perhaps it's the other way around and fruit loops smell like Phal. bellina!).

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Bifrenaria harrisoniae var alba

Bifrenaria harrisoniae var alba.  This is an albino form of this normally white flower with hot pink lip.  This species hails from coastal Brazil where it grows at around 500 to 2000 ft.  It is a delightful sturdy and robust grower, easily forming specimen plants, even outdoors here in Southern California.  The alba clone tends to be slightly less robust in size and growing habit but is still a good grower.

Echinocereus rigidissimus var rubrispinus in Bloom

Echinocereus rigidissimus var. rubrispinus.  This is one of those cacti that is attractive year round due to its beautiful ruby-colored spines.  Still, the bloom is huge compared to this little cactus and well worth the wait.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Juvenile Seagull

Juvenile seagull begging for food.  Note the submissive stance.  They make a pitiful meowing sound when begging for food.  Not sure where his Mom is...

Black Orchids

Fred Clarke, of Sunset Valley Orchids, has had wonderful success in "black" orchids in the Catasetinae.  Shown here is one of his crosses, Fredclarkeara After Dark X Catasetum Mark Dimmett, a second generation of black orchids with wider, flatter, Catasetum lips!