Orchids at the Botanical Gardens

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) – A couple events taking place at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.

“Lumagination” is going on now and get ready for Orchids, a fantastic collection of cymbidiums. The display showcases beautiful and colorful orchids in bloom throughout the Gardens.

Informal Q&A’s with the Niagara Frontier Orchid Society and an additional Award Winning Orchid Show on the final weekend, February 27-28.

*Source: WKBW Buffalo

Agricultural Society solar project delayed by rare orchid

The plans of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society to break ground before spring on a 249-kilowatt ground-mounted solar array project, covering close to two acres of Ag Society land adjacent to the Polly Hill Arboretum off State Road in West Tisbury, have hit an environmental snag.

Tree clearing went beyond the boundaries approved by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) to protect the cranefly orchid, a protected species listed as endangered by the state. The cranefly is classified a member of Orchidaceae family. Lady’s slipper, another Island orchid, is classified as a member of the same family by some but not all botanists.

NHESP reviewed the project in May and conditioned its approval on a 150-foot setback from an area identified as a cranefly orchid habitat.

The West Tisbury zoning board of appeals approved the solar panel project in November.

Although the setback was a part of the plan, the clearing work went beyond the allowable distance.

The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program exists within the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. It is a small agency with a powerful regulatory reach. Natural Heritage is responsible for the regulatory protection of rare species and their habitats, and derives its authority from the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act.

Natural Heritage has review authority for any work that would be done on the properties that fall within the category of state-designated “priority habitat.” It is a designation based on the known geographical extent of habitat for all state-listed rare species, both plants and animals.

On Martha’s Vineyard, the state has designated about two-thirds of the entire Island as priority habitat for protected animal or plant species.

Survey required

An email dated Jan. 14, 2016, from Brent Powers, NHESP biologist, sent to project surveyor Chris Alley of Schofield, Barbini and Hoehn of Vineyard Haven, with copies to West Tisbury building inspector Joe Tierney said, “Through the course of the past project review the Division asked to have a botanical survey completed. At the completion of two rounds of botanical survey the selected botanist observed several small patches of Cranefly Orchid on the property and within the original limit of work. It is important to note that at the time the botanical survey only occurred within the proposed limit of work and did not cover the entire property.

“Based on the past survey work and information in the file it appears areas of the property were not surveyed for Cranefly Orchid survey. Therefore, should the applicant desire to expand the limit of work (i.e. clearing for shade mitigation) the Division will likely require a botanical survey for Cranefly Orchid (Tipularia discolor) be conducted and the results of the botanical survey be sent to the Division for review.”

Green money

Ag Society president Dale McClure said the solar project is a joint effort with Bennett Electric, an Island-based solar power developer owned by Bill Bennett of Chilmark, to generate income to help pay for the debt load created when the Ag Society borrowed $800,000 to add eight acres of land to its holdings.

Mr. McClure said the project will cost the society between $500,000 and $600,000, and will be financed jointly by Bennett Electric and the Ag Society. Mr. Bennett will benefit from federal and state tax-credit incentives, but the Ag Society will not because it is a nonprofit. But both entities will benefit from the sale of Massachusetts Solar Renewable Energy Certifications (SRECs), a state program that issues one negotiable SREC for each thousand kilowatt-hours produced, and from the sale of electricity credits from the production of energy beyond what is used by the Ag Society.

Mr. McClure said that in keeping with the Ag Society’s mission to support local agriculture, they will offer discounted energy credits first to local farmers to help lower their electrical bills. Mr. McClure deferred to Mr. Bennett on the specifics of the joint venture.

Mr. Bennett said that he is really happy to be helping the Ag Society get out of debt and to be building another solar project to help reduce the Island’s dependence on fossil fuels, but he declined to describe the specifics of the financial arrangement. “I am in business,” he said.

Mr. Bennett said the project will utilize steel posts driven into the ground, with no concrete to disturb the land. “The entire array could be removed in a day if need be,” he said.

Mr. Bennett pointed to his experience building similar-size arrays. He said he is also working on an off-Island solar array project.

In 2012, Mr. Bennett erected a solar array in fields off Watcha Road in Edgartown, a site he once envisioned as a neighborhood of 11 affordable homes called Cozy Hearth.


Clearing concerns

The Ag Society bought the land, in a three-way deal in 2012, from the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, which once envisioned a new museum on the 10-acre site and later decided to buy and develop the old Marine Hospital in Vineyard Haven. The Ag Society purchased eight acres, and Polly Hill purchased two acres. The land is sandwiched between the two nonprofits.

Tim Boland, director of the Polly Hill Arboretum, expressed some concern over the number of trees cut down for the project and the proximity of the solar array to the arboretum.

“We certainly support efforts to produce renewable power, but we are also tree people,” he said in a phone call. In a follow-up by email, he said, “As far as the placement of the solar array on the Ag Society property, we would have liked to have been part of the preplanning dialogue, as its placement directly on our border impacts our visitors who go to our most popular site, Polly’s Playpen, and it also is visible from our future one-acre woodland garden. Looking at their remaining six acres, it could have been more thoughtfully placed closer to their current developed area. “Development should be clustered with past development. We now have to develop extension screening, which could have been avoided if a larger (native woodland) buffer had been left in place. A 80-year-old natural woodland is hard to replicate.”

Mr. Boland said that he will be working with the Ag Society on plantings for a buffer zone.

Mr. McClure said that many of the trees that were taken down were either diseased, or dead from caterpillar and wasp infestations.

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society was founded in 1859 with a mission to promote the pursuit of agriculture and improve the quality and quantity of livestock and produce on the Vineyard. The annual fair is their largest and best-known event, but the society promotes agriculture through their own activities, scholarships, grants, cooperation with other Island groups, and by providing a space for a variety of community and agriculture-related events.

*Source: MV Times

5 things to know about 2016 Orchid Mania at Cleveland Botanical Garden

EVELAND, Ohio — Orchid Mania, the annual blast of color and aromas celebrating the elegant orchid, is headed to the tropics.

This year’s theme at Orchid Mania at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, from Saturday, Jan. 30 to Sunday, March 6, is Cuba, “because it’s suddenly open to the U.S.,” said Cynthia Druckenbrod, vice president of horticulture.

The botanical garden’s Eppig Gallery wall will be transformed into colorful Cuban apartments with orchids spilling out of window boxes, and Clark Hall will feature a tropical beach scene. Cultural elements that make Cuba iconic, such as dominoes and salsa music, will be a part of Orchid Mania.

“Come down and warm up in the glasshouse and be surrounded by color and Cuba,” Druckenbrod said.

The photo gallery with this story shows images from the 2015 show.

Here are five things you need to know about Orchid Mania:

1. More than 1,000 orchid plants in 200 varieties will be on display. “It’s different every year because we never know what’s in bloom,” Druckenbrod said. Weather is a factor in places where orchids are grown outdoors, such as California and Hawaii.

2. Many orchids also come from local nurseries, such as Windswept in Time in Broadview Heights, and Green Circle Growers in Oberlin. Green Circle Growers is one of the largest orchid suppliers the United States, Druckenbrod said.

3. The Greater Cleveland Orchid Society Show and Vendor Sale, sponsored by the Greater Cleveland Orchid Society, is from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 13-14. The show and sale includes a judged orchid show and vendors selling orchid plants. Free with botanical garden admission. On Saturday, orchid vendors will open for orchid sales beginning at 10 a.m., and the public can see the juried show starting at noon. Go to the botanical garden website for details.

4. Dresses inspired by orchids and created by students from the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University will be on display during Orchid Mania.

5. The Garden of Good and Evil: A Night in Havana, a fundraising benefit for the botanical garden, is from 7 p.m. to midnight Friday, Feb. 19. Tickets are $100 for botanical garden or Holden Arboretum members, $125 for non-members.

If You Go

Orchid Mania

Saturday, Jan. 30-Sunday, March 6

Cleveland Botanical Garden, 11030 East Blvd., Cleveland

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday

Orchid Mania is free with botanical garden admission, which is no charge for botanical garden and Holden Arboretum members; non-member adults $11; non-member children 3-12 is $6; and children under 3 admitted free.

*Source: Cleveland.com

Thirteenth annual Tamiami International Orchid Festival to be held this weekend

In 2009, Karina Motes went to the Tamiami Orchid Festival with her mother, a longtime orchid hobbyist. Motes came across the Motes Orchid table and asked Bartholomew Motes about one of the orchids.

“There was this one really beautiful orchid, so I approached the Motes Orchid table and asked the gentleman behind the counter what the name of the orchid was. It turned out that the orchid was named Bartholomew Motes, and the person who I was asking was also Bartholomew Motes,” Karina Motes said.

Bartholomew and Karina Motes ended up exchanging vows — and orchids — at their wedding. Their story is similar to that of many “orchid couples” and “orchid friends” who bond over their dedication to the orchid world and their passion for the intricacies of the flowers and the care it takes to keep them alive.

The annual Tamiami Orchid Festival is a place for orchid lovers, like the Motes family, to unite to see displays, sit in on lectures and buy and trade orchids from around the world. About 6,000 guests are expected at this year’s event, which will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 23 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds Expo Center, 10900 Coral Way.

Justin Lowe, who has attended multiple orchid events, said that he enjoys the Tamiami festival because it’s about more than just the flowers — it’s also a social event. Lowe and his partner, Jamie McCarter, spend time gardening together and look forward to the orchid festival every year.

“The first big thing we really went to was the Tamiami orchid show and we tailgated before the show,” Lowe said. “[Growing orchids] is something that’s best when you can get together with large groups of people.”

But guests don’t have to be orchid experts to enjoy the festival. During the event, there will be growing classes for both amateurs and advanced orchid owners presented in English and Spanish.

“It’s intended for the general public, and also intended for sophisticated orchid people. It really is wide-ranging. There will be something there for everyone,” said Martin Motes, president of Motes Orchids and member of the Miami-Dade County Agricultural Advisory Board.

Orchid growers are invited to bring their plants for exhibit and judging between noon and 5 p.m. Jan. 22. Multiple cash prizes for experienced and amateur growers will be available.

The 13th annual Tamiami International Orchid Festival will feature orchids from multiple countries, including China, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, Venezuela and the Philippines.

Unique hybrids that have never been exhibited in South Florida will be available for purchase. Local orchid societies will be on hand to recruit members and answer questions, and will prepare orchid exhibits.

“This is such a great opportunity for someone in South Florida who likes orchids, but doesn’t have the means to travel, to find all these different types of orchids under one roof,” Karina Motes said.


What: 13th annual Tamiami International Orchid Festival.

Where: Miami-Dade County Fairgrounds Expo Center, 10900 Coral Way.

When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 23 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 24.

Cost: $10; children 12 and under free.


*Source: Miami Herald

LN Landscape: Where the Wild Things Grow

Winter was slow to get started this year, but now that the cold has settled in, it’s pleasant to dream of the tropics and the wonderful, diverse orchids that fill the rainforests. I have countered the January “blahs” this year by bringing home a great big lime-green and butter-yellow Cymbidium. This monster plant is nearly 3 feet tall with a pair of full, elegant bloom spikes rising above the sword-like leaves. It was in early bloom when it followed me home in December, with promising big buds still covering the top two-thirds of each arching stem. Now, six weeks later, the flowers are nearly all open. Very satisfying for a housebound gardener to have such a delight to contemplate as the snow flies outside. With such long-lasting blooms, this one plant should keep me in flowers until the hellebores awake from their leaf-covered beds in late February.

This one stunning orchid makes me drool with anticipation for the 2016 Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show. The theme this year springs from the work of Garden botanists in Central Africa, Madagascar, Latin America and South America. Garden researchers are deeply involved in cooperative projects to save, classify and restore these wild things to their natural environments. Having visited some of the remote research sites personally, I know how rough the fieldwork is (and how dangerous) and have a deep and abiding respect for those members of the Garden team who have dedicated their lives to understanding and protecting the rarest plants of the world. In light of climate change and continuing deforestation, orchid species in nature are being lost faster than they can be identified. The important role the Garden plays in international plant taxonomy, conservation and restoration of orchids makes a compelling storyline interpreted now in a floral fantasy display. Come see thousands of rare, exotic and beautiful orchids from the Garden’s permanent collection, and learn more about the significance of our own St. Louis scientists in the global race to save our precious biodiversity.

After you enjoy the show, be sure to stop by the Garden’s Gate Shop across the hall. The shelves will be filled with a wide selection of live orchids for sale and other orchid-themed items to brighten a winter day. All plants for sale at the Garden have been propagated by modern methods of tissue culture and are never wild-collected specimens. Most orchids bloom once a year, with flowers lasting for a very long time, so select a plant with many buds for the longest display. Because of their unique and delicate flowers, many people assume orchids must be difficult to grow, but most of my orchids rebloom regularly with only minimal attention. As easy houseplants, all they need is a bright window, weekly watering and an occasional bit of plant food. The biggest risk is overwatering, which will cause leaves to yellow and drop off. To learn more about growing orchids, meet members of the Orchid Society of Greater St. Louis at their annual show on Feb. 6 and 7 in the Beaumont Room at the Garden. Admission to that show is free with admission to the Garden.

Where the Wild Things Grow

2016 Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Show

Feb. 6 through March 27

Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

$5 plus Garden admission

Free for Missouri Botanical Garden members

Sandra Mason: Elegant orchids

Besides a Mother’s Day corsage or Tarzan’s jungle gift to Jane, most of us have limited experience with orchids. Orchids are an amazingly diverse plant family growing in deserts, mountains, marshes, northern woods, Illinois forests and even your home as exotic, elegant houseplants.

Many orchids don’t require special indoor equipment. Mine grow just fine in the east window of my office. Now if you killed off the last five houseplants, your best bet is the easy-growing (more forgiving) moth orchid.

The Phalaenopsis or moth orchids have dark shiny green leaves adorned with showy flowers of pink, white or yellow. Imagine a flock of fluttering moths dancing on an arching high wire.

Moth orchids are native to Asian jungles, but in the U.S., we find them in stores fluttering next to the apples and lettuce or lumber and nails. Intensely blue-colored moth orchids also greet us as we enter many stores, but sorry, these flowers have been dyed and will flower white in future years.

No other orchid is easier to maintain and to rebloom. Sussex Pearl, Femme Fatale or Southern Ruby are just some of the 12,000 hybrid phals available. The flowers will last an amazing two to five months. I had one flowering in my office for so long, visitors thought it was made of wax.

Moth orchids don’t live in soil but are epiphytes, so-called air plants. As Asian jungle natives, they cling with long thick roots to rocks and trees. Their moisture is gathered from rain, dew and humidity and their nutrients from decaying leaves and other debris that accumulates among their roots.

Hopefully, this does not describe your living room, but the conditions are fairly easy to reproduce.

Here are a few simple criteria for growing orchids as houseplants.

1. Orchids require bright light (but no direct sun) to bloom such as an east or shaded west or south window. Too much light will burn the foliage, and too little light will result in little growth or no blooms. Orchids taken outdoors in the summer should be placed in the shade of a tree or patio and should be moved indoors before the temperature drops below 50F. Lady slipper orchids and moth orchids can also be grown under fluorescent lights.

2. Generally, orchids bloom when the night temperatures are 10 to 20 degrees colder than the day temperatures, usually temperatures between 55 and 90 during the day and between 50 and 70 at night. Moth orchids prefer 70 to 80 during the day and 65 to 70 at night and happily rebloom in my office.

3. Orchids appreciate high humidity between 40 to 85 percent. Use humidifiers or fill a tray with pebbles, saturate the pebbles with water and place the pot on the pebbles.

4. Orchids appreciate good air circulation from small portable fans or ceiling fans.

5. They need thorough watering and regular fertilizer during their growing season. Think “weekly weakly.” In other words, fertilize in water every week with a weak (low) rate of orchid fertilizer.

6. Don’t overwater. Some orchid labels recommend watering with ice cubes. This works if you repetitively overwater plants; however, does ice cold water sound like something a jungle plant would want on its roots?

7. The potting mix should provide good air penetration and fast water drainage. Commercially prepared orchid mixes are available with a combination of shredded fir bark, peat moss, perlite or sand.

Discover more about orchids with The Central Illinois Orchid Society. Meetings are typically held on the second Monday of the month at Hessel Park Christian Reformed Church, 700 W. Kirby Ave., C.

Their next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Monday. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 5, the group will hold its annual Orchid Show and Sale. Check out their website, ciorchidsociety.org/.

*Source: The News Gazette

Haven: Thriving with their orchids

Taylor and Frank Slaughter moved to Philadelphia when he retired from a faculty position in mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh.

One of their goals in a new city was to find a home for their orchids.

Growing orchids is no idle hobby for the couple, who became enamored with them during a trip to South Florida about 30 years ago.

They can tell you the difference between warm-weather orchids and those that can thrive in the North, always at temperatures no lower than 75 degrees. In fact, Taylor works for the American Orchid Society’s National Capital Judging Center, serving as chair.

The move after Frank’s retirement was motivated by the couple’s desire to be near their daughter and grandchildren – and, of course, a community of orchid lovers.

“Philadelphia has a wonderful community of orchid collectors, and Longwood Gardens has one of the best orchid gardens in the country,” Frank says.

The house they ultimately settled on was a Realtor’s suggestion: a dilapidated 3,400-square-foot 1960s rancher in Chestnut Hill that had been divided into a series of awkward, tiny rooms.

Both Frank and Taylor acknowledge they were initially skeptical about the house. For one thing, it was dark. Also the five bedrooms were small, and the place lacked warmth.

“We turned it down several times, but finally agreed to buy it,” Taylor says.

The impetus for that decision? The property had room for a greenhouse and a garden. The Slaughters’ limited budget had to accommodate constructing the greenhouse and making sure it was equipped to be warmed or cooled to the right temperature.

“We were told the house actually had good bones, and we proceeded to hire an architect that my daughter knew and hoped for the best,” Taylor says.

Architect Elie-Antoine Atallah, of Studio of Metropolitan Design, took the assignment, using the rancher as the basis for his design.

“It made me feel it was a creative challenge, to have to work within the frame of the existing house,” Atallah says. “It is a different challenge than starting from scratch with a site and no existing building.

“The first thing we did,” he says, “was gut the inside of the house.”

New heating and air conditioning had to be installed, along with gas lines to the building. To improve insulation, Atallah designed additional padding on the outside of the house and covered the frame with stucco.

“We had the exterior painted light gray so it would be similar to the color of the Wissahickon schist buildings in the neighborhood,” he says.

Inside, he designed a great room from what had been the living and dining rooms. An 8-foot ceiling in the living room was removed, and a 12-foot vaulted ceiling created by “popping” up the space with support.

A fireplace anchors one end of the room, offering a modern slant – literally – to a space adorned with traditional furnishings.

A more contemporary dining set perches on an oriental rug, one of several the Slaughters own.

In the kitchen, warm wood embraces the refrigerator and the island as well as the cabinetry. Polished metal accents on the counter stools and lighting offer cooling balance.

Sustainable features were installed, such as bamboo flooring and double- and triple-glass windows.

The bedrooms were reorganized into a master suite, a guest suite, and an office each for Taylor and Frank.

The new heat and water connections helped assure that the greenhouse Atallah designed for the space outside the kitchen would function at the right temperature for the orchids.

He also designed a 9-foot-high black wooden box that functions as a closet. Now, when you enter the house, your eyes meet a colorful oriental tapestry suspended on the closet wall, which also serves to block a view of the great room from anyone outside the front door,

Looking on at the changes – approvingly, it appears – from the foyer wall is Eliza Rebecca Northrop, Taylor’s great-great-great-grandmother, whose portrait was painted in the 1860s.

Are the Slaughters happy, too?

“Yes,” Taylor says. “We have gained sunlight . . . and our house is suddenly full of color.”

*Source: Philly.com


Tip of Texas Orchid Society meets today at Valley Nature Center

Tip of Texas Orchid Society announces the agenda for the January meeting. Anyone interested in learning more about orchids and how to grow them in the RGV is invited to join us. The meeting is held at 2 p.m. today, Jan. 3, at the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco.

Our speakers will be Terri Singh and Joyce Erikson, TOTOS members. They will discuss Encyclia orchids and how to grow them successfully in our RGV climate. Encyclia orchids are rarely available in local nurseries and retail stores but they can be grown very successfully in our climate. The society will have a shipment of Encyclia orchids for sale at the meeting along with potting mix and other orchid growing supplies.

We will also be viewing an American Orchid Society podcast entitled “Orchids: Pests and Their Management” by Ron McHatton, followed by a comment and discussion session. Please join us.

*Source: The Monitor