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Beetle alert!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An orchid-eating beetle. Spring, it appears, has arrived early. And with warm, dry weather come beetles and thrips. Sitting brazenly atop a light lavender cattleya hybrid today was a black beetle with some light spots on its back. Two more beetles were on the adjacent flower. They've been emerging like crazy as the soil warms up, and we're finding them by the bucket load in the pool skimmer. The larvae are grubs that have pupated in the soil, munching away on grass roots. Damaged...

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Colorful characters

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

With all the color, this bromeliadsupplies fragrance to boot. You'd think that the Tillandsia cyanea, now flowering in the Conservatory, would have given its all in creating the bold pink inflorescence that opens lovely purple flowers. It is, after all, relatively small as plants go and those colors are anything but dim. But no, if you happen by it on a warm morning, you will discover its most appealing quality: the fragrance of cloves. Commonly called Pink Quill, this bromeliad from...

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Splendor in the Garden (House)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Orchid growers have outdone themselves at Fairchild's 9th Annual International Orchid Festival that opens Friday and runs through Sunday. There are leagues of glorious flowers on display, which undoubtedly will entice you to join the tribe of orchid lovers here in South Florida. Commercial growers have created table top displays that are works of art, and hobbyists have added a special vitality with multitudes of orchid types and colors. Here are some samples of what you will see. Grand ...

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Orchidology: for serious collectors

Friday, March 11, 2011

Orchid cells have been to the International Space Station. Vandrame. Wagner Vandrame, associate professor of Environmental Horticulture with the University of Florida's Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, sent orchid tissue to the Space Station in 2007, and found that without gravity they do indeed grow faster than in our backyards. The experiment is part of a larger effort aimed at finding the best way to grow and conserve orchids threatened in the wild. Vandrame hosted...

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Celebrating beauty

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Two days of splendid weather have made for such a happy orchid festival that it is tempting to call it a celebration of Nature's most fascinating flowers. One more day to bask in beauty. Lucky us. Linda Curle received an AOS Award of Merit for thisC. Hiromi Nishi 'Que Linda' They're called Doggles. Everywhere you turn, another photo to be taken. Happy shoppers. Slc. Jewel Box 'Ricardo' in theRainforest Orchid Plaza....

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Rainclouds over Jamaica's Cockpit Country

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rain rain go away JAMAICA. Gray clouds met us at our field locale in the mountains this morning. Rain is not typical this time of year, but there are some southerly winds blowing through and bringing some precipitation with them. For the local farmers, the untimely rain may be a blessing for their crops - especially the unique varieties of local yam they're famous for- but for fieldwork in steep mountain terrain the rain is less than desirable. Despite being keen to get out into the ...

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Quiet charm

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Now that orchids have quit hogging the spotlight, begonias can take a bow. A pendant cluster of femalebegonia flowers. They have been blooming for several weeks, showing delicate white or pink flowers with understated charm. You'll find them in the Moos Sunken Garden, along the path near Standing Gorilla, in the rainforest and by the Visitors Center. They have eye-catching asymmetrical leaves and male or female flowers. The female flowers have winged inferior ovaries, just beneath the...

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Honoring the Volunteers

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Every year, the hundreds of volunteers at the garden are honored with a brunch. They receive pins for their years of service, accolades from the administration and an amazing amount of food prepared by the staff. It's a heartwarming party, full of good will and camaraderie. Here's an iPhone appreciation. Ann Schmidt helps setthe buffet table. Mary Neustein in the kitchen. Table decorations compliments of the horticulture staff. And the happy volunteers enjoying the feast!...

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Don't let the jade fade...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Keeled claws of the jade vine. ... before you see it! Hanging in pendant clusters, the claw-like flowers of the jade vine are beautiful almost beyond belief. They are a striking aquamarine, opening with upturned keels. They are the color of shallow tropical seas, of rare tropical birds. And no matter how often you see them, you still gaze with wonder. Strongylodon macrobotrys is the botanical name of the Philippine vine that has three-lobed leaves and a strong woody trunk. This rainforest ...

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March 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Our research with Bahamian cycads and recent field trip to the island of Abaco (Michael Calonje from Montgomery Botanical Center, David Knowles from the Bahamas National Trust, and Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega from FIU and Fairchild) have been highlighted in "The Tribune" (March 21, 2011), one of the two newspapers that is circulated nationally throughout the Bahamas. The article is entitled: "Exploring the Zamia on Tyloo Cay" and was written by Sara Gilmer from Cruise Abaco. Our gratitude ...

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Peachy flowers, fallen flowers

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Delicate flowers of the peach blossom cassia. It first appeared in South Florida in 2005, but has been a rock star ever since. This Cassia bakeriana, which the Garden is calling "peach blossom cassia," originally emigrated from Thailand as dwarf apple blossom cassia. It flowers from March through May, opening pink and fading to white. The Garden's young tree was planted in 2006. The tree, like most flowering trees, is drought tolerant once it has become established in the...

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