Saturday, March 28, 2015

Plant Geek Day

I had a fabulous day today. My gardening friend from Ohio, Brenda Haas, came up and we visited some independent garden centers, the Michigan Orchid Show, and ended up at the Novi Home and Garden show, where I spoke at the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association garden stage. What a fabulous plant geek day! Since I am all about the houseplants, I'll show you some of the orchids from the show and  houseplants I saw at the IGC.

Ivy topiary surrounded with golden baby's tears and a Tillandsia xerographica in the glass ball

I loved the topiary above and check out these framed wall planters, left,  filled with a fern and a trailing philodendron.

Gorgeous succulent

On to the Michigan Orchid Society show......(To find out about the Michigan Orchid Society, see their website here.)

This sign greeted us as we walked in from a COLD Michigan day. And we proceeded on to the show....

There were so many orchids, we couldn't take it all in! And some of the displays smelled heavenly. I'm going to show you some of my favorites and you can see the rest on my Pinterest page.

Paphiopedilum malipoense

Epidendrum 'Princess Valley' x 'Nathan Kwan'

Oda. Harry Baldwin 'Orange King'
If you follow my Instagram or Facebook page, you know that orange flowers are my favorite. Well, this orchid was so gorgeous! The best thing about going to the judged show first, is that you then can see what you want to buy in the sale room. Unfortunately, the owner of this orchid told me that if he had one to sell, which he didn't, it would be $100 or more. Well, this picture is lovely and the only way I'm going to remember this orchid! Yikes!

Oda. (George McMahon x Shelley) x Golden Frost
His yellow one above,  in the same display wasn't too shabby, either.....

Oda. Drummer Joe 'Elana'

Ascocentrum miniatum

Aerangis lueteoalba

Ons. catatante 'Pacific Sunspots'

I was taking pictures of the orchid to the right, and was admiring it for its unique color and beauty. The owner walked up and had brought along her family to enjoy the show. Her granddaughter was so proud of her and she was so nonchalant about the fact that she was growing spectacular orchids.

Orchid in a shell arrangement

The orchid show includes a flower arrangement section. I couldn't cut my orchids to use them in an arrangement, but they are beautiful.

Another orchid arrangement

Phrag. Suzanne Decker

Slc. Crystelle Smith (Sc. Beaufort x C. loddigesii)

Lc. Granier's Blue Dream 'Gran Susan'

I hope you enjoyed this quick tour through the orchid show and garden center. It was a wonderful day, enjoyed with someone who loves plants, too. Find a gardening friend, (or two or three),  and take a garden road trip. It was a great way to spend a cold, spring day in Michigan! 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Visiting Costa Rica (by way of the Cleveland Botanical Garden)

As I moved out of the Spiny Desert room, I entered into a humid, cloud rain forest. The birds were chirping, the butterflies fluttering, and the waterfall splashing. It was magical!

I love the added movement of the butterflies in a conservatory. They flutter by as if they haven't a care in the world. It is hard to get them to sit still for a picture...

The orchids were beautiful!

Encyclia cordigera
Tillandsia usneoides or Spanish moss

The bromeliads and other epiphytes were literally dripping off the trees.

Tillandsia usneoides up close

Bromeliad flower

Small bromeliads attached to hanging vines

A Tillandsia clump growing on a tree branch

Colorful bromeliads attached to a tree branch in the canopy

My favorite Bromeliad attached to a tree trunk - love the color!
Looking up at the tree the catwalk surrounded

So what is a cloud forest exactly? I've discovered that it is cool in the highlands of Costa Rica. (This room really wasn't sweltering hot.) Clouds from the Caribbean sweep up over the mountains and cover them in mist and rain. Many times while I was in this forest, mist (which were actually pretty big drops) would come out of the ceiling and rain down on all the plants and me. At least they use purified water. Thus, by the time I left I had fuzzy, frizzy hair. Who really cares, anyway, when surrounded by such amazing beauty?

The best part of this room is being able to climb up (there were stairs-I did not climb this tree) into the canopy 25 feet above on a catwalk. Looking down on top of the plants is such a different view of the forest.

Mist machines

Looking down on the bromeliad covered tree branch. The picture below is looking up at the same branch from the floor.

Bromeliad tree from below

Looking down on the waterfall below

The were beautiful vines blooming, but you wouldn't know it unless you climbed up to the canopy catwalk. They were growing up the poles of the catwalk and then along the railings.Almost  everything in the rainforest that was flowering was there for the butterflies and birds.

 Blooming vine
Loved this curly tendril on one of the vines

Blooming vine
Petrea volubilis - Queen's Wreath or Bluebird Vine

Enormouse Papaya tree
Jatropha integerrima or spicy jatropha

Rondeletia leucophylla or Panama Rose

The Panama rose on the right, is sweetly fragrant and the butterflies love it!

Asplenium nidus or bird's nest fern
I'll leave you with my favorite picture. This spore covered bird's nest fern with the sun shining through it is so gorgeous. It is growing in a bed of footed ferns. I have posted more pictures of the Cleveland Botanical Garden on my Pinterest board here.

Remember, visit your local conservatory often. You never know what new things will be blooming and changing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Madagascar Visited (At the Cleveland Botanical Garden)

Last Saturday, I headed to the Cleveland Botanical Garden to attend the Midwest Cactus and Succulent Society show and sale. I had never been to the conservatory there and so was doubly excited. I wasn't disappointed. They were having their Big Spring extravaganza, as well, so there was a lot going on. 

Green Euphorbia flowers
 I went to the cactus and succulent show first which I wrote about here, and then headed for the Eleanor Armstrong Smith glasshouse.
This conservatory was built in 2003 and has two distinct environments, the spiny Madagascar desert and the Costa Rican rain forest. 
The first room you come to, is the Madagascar desert room. 

Dracaena marginata

 As I started into the room I was met by an assortment of gorgeous plants.... and then as I looked to the left what should I see but these ENORMOUS cockroaches!!!!! Yikes!!!! Thank goodness they were behind glass!

Pandanus or screw pine

Euphorbia platycada

There were two "dead stick" plants hanging from the rocky walls. Euphorbia platycada and Cynanchum marnierianum.  Their way of not being eaten by hungry animals is to resemble something that is already dead. I have both of these plants in my collection at home. Love them!

Cynanchum marnierianum blooms

Euphorbia flowers

Also, in this room, are many different Euphorbias. Many of the plants in this room have a dormancy period. Most have no leaves at this time but as the Spring progresses they will wake up and grow leaves.
The picture below is the plant that the flowers on the left are from. I can't believe I even saw them. I was bending down taking a picture of another plant and saw these tiny flowers.

Pachypodium horombense
Caudex forming Pachypodiums are some of the many plants that can survive this harsh environment. The caudex holds large quantities of water for the plant to use during the dry season.

Cliffs holding many diverse plants
The area of Madagascar that is represented in this room, is the Isalo Massifs which is a mountainous region in Madagascar, an island off the coast of Africa. Enormous cliffs tower over the desert. In crevices in these sandstone cliffs an amazing array of plants are found that can endure the harsh winds and lack of water. These include many Euphorbias, Madagascar palms or Pachypodium lamerei and other unusual plants.

Pachypodium lamerei -right Euphorbia millii-top


Euphorbia millii spilling down the cliff

Euphorbia decaryi

Faux Baobab tree
 The centerpiece of this room is the faux Baobab tree in the center. it supports many climbing plants and is a good rendition of a true Baobab. There are small real Baobab trees in the room. Sometimes they are called upside down trees because when the branches are bare, they resemble roots sticking out of the top of the tree.

A panoramic view of one side of the room.
Baobab tree Andansonia digitata

The young Baobab trees do not resemble their mature counterparts.

Dioscorea elephantipes
The large plant above is also called an elephant's foot plant. I think the whole caudex looks like an elephant's face. It is such an interesting plant. This caudex sticks out of the ground and a vine grows out of the top of it. When it is the dry season, it drops all its leaves and then grows them back when it rains.

Another caudex forming plant is the Adenia firingalavensis.
Below are the flowers of the Adenia.

Euphorbia flowers

Euphorbia flowers

Kalanchoe beharensis
Radiated tortoise

They even have animals in this conservatory. This is a radiated tortoise. They also have a hedgehog and a chameleon that is roaming free, but I never saw it.

Euphorbia didierioides

This Euphorbia didierioides looks like it must be dead, but it isn't. It will wake up soon and grow all new leaves.

Close up of the Alluaudia

  The last plant I want to share is the Alluaudia. It is a very thorny plant with little leaves completely covering it. When it is dormant all the leaves fall off, but also grow back in the Spring.

I may never get to Madagascar, (and if those hissing cockroaches are roaming free, I'm not sure I want to) but I felt I got a little closer by visiting this conservatory. It was beautiful and the plants amazing.