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Archive for August, 2012

Rescuing Wild Orchids

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The rescue happened in 2006, in a remote area of Southwestern China in and near the Yachang National Orchid Nature Reserve in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Regions, in the foothills of the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau.  This remote, 220-square-kilometer nature preserve holds more than 150 species of orchids, some of them in extremely large, relatively undisturbed populations.  It exemplifies the world orchid hotspot that is Southwestern China, consisting of Yunnan, Guangxi and Guizhou Provinces.

Nearly 1000 delicate, reproductive-size orchid plants were carefully translocated from places slated for flooding.  Altogether, the plants represented 29 species  and 16 genera.  In addition, a landscape company was hired to relocate nearly 1500 trees on the Chinese endangered plants list.  The whole rescue action took nearly seven months to complete.

Above left-Cymbidium tracyanum, a rescued species.  Above right- Kingidium braceanum, an epiphytic orchid which can  be found growing naturally in the Reserve.

At right, the Yachang National Orchid Reserve.

Photography by Dr Hong Lui.

As seen in Tropical Garden, Spring 2012 issue.

Flowers of the Renaissance

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Paintings by Botticelli, Durer, Raphael and da Vinci are featured in Celia Fisher’s coffee table book, Flowers of the Renaissance.

Taking a closer look at the Renaissance garden as a whole, author Fisher examines roses, lilies, daffodils, daisies and tulips in order to observe varieties common in the Renaissance and their symbolism in paintings of the period.

As seen in Flower Magazine, Spring Issue.

Locally Grown

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Long-time bbrooks member, Walnut Creek florist Susan Donley, who co-owns the shop Florali with her son, Darwin Harrison, opened up a box of roses that had been shipped from South America, as so many roses sold in the United States are. Inside were beautiful blooms, but she smelled nothing but the abundant aroma of chemical pesticide.




That was the beginning of her commitment to using flowers that are grown locally — and “local” for her usually means California-wide. State regulations restrict the pesticides, and the flowers she gets from local growers are just plain “fresher and prettier,” she says.

As featured in Contra Costa Times online, Darwin Harrison is shown at right creating a lovely Summer design.

The Glorious Moth Orchid

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Orchid expert Kate Santos offers her best tips for keeping moth orchids (Phalaenopsis sp. and its hybrids) happy and blooming.

Orchids are often planted in bark or sphagnum moss. When the bark or moss is dry to the touch, water your orchid until water comes through the drainage hole in the bottom of your pot.  Never leave orchid roots in standing water.

Orchids like bright, indirect light.  North-facing windows generally won’t provide enough light.  An east-facing window is best; western or southern light is fine as long as it’s indirect.  Normal home temperatures are good – about 70 to 80 degrees in the daytime and above 60 degrees at night.


Ask your local  nursery for an orchid fertilizer, and apply it according to package instructions.

Once the orchid has stopped flowering, you can cut off the bloom spike at the base of the plant.  Keep fertilizing.  Leave the pot in bright, indirect light.  Your orchid should rebloom within a year.

You may want to repot your orchid every few years.  Do this when it’s not blooming, because repotting can stress an orchid and cause it to drop its blooms

Featured above is Montclair King “Splash”.  At right, Tying Shin Cupid “Montclair”.  As seen in January 2012 issue of Southern Living.

Bringing Nature Home

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

From the well-known lifestyle photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo and Nicolette Owen of Brooklyn’s Little Flower School, Bringing Nature Home presents a portfolio of unique and original floral arrangements directly inspired by the seasons and the local environment.

Unlike most flower-arrangement books,  this book presents an alternative that is in line with the “back to nature” movement.

A how-to section offers advice on the selection, trimming, and care of the arrangements, making this book practical as well as inspiring.

All Bundled Up

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Designer Tom Simmons, of bbrooks member Three Bunch Palms in Palm Springs, displays 22 pages of gorgeous floral design in Flowers & magazine - May 2012 issue.

Featured here  are a variety of Roses – light pink Majolika, lavender Blue Moon,  red-flecked pink Minou, creamy coral pink Chablis and darker Pink Sensation – bundle wrapped with dracaena leaves and nested amongst river  stones in a clear glass square.  Simple & quite tasteful!