Sunday, October 18, 2009

USBG Visit

Platycerium willinckiiLast week my plant cruising buddy, The Larry, and I went downtown to the US Botanical Gardens. A lovely place to visit if you are ever in the area. I go there at least once per year with Larry, and we ogle all our favorites and whatever is new, and engage in nerdy plant discussions.

Every time I'm there I lust after their staghorn ferns. I do the same thing at Longwood Gardens. The fine, imposing specimen here is Platycerium willinckii. I absolutely love staghorn ferns, but though I can keep them alive they have never flourished for me. In all likelihood I don't water enough.

Zelenkoa onustumWe also admired their nicely grown specimen of Zelenkoa onustum, a.k.a. Oncidium onustum. Yes, that's right, its mounted on a live cactus. This is a species I like to mention to people who are convinced all orchids live in the tropical rain forests. The fact is, there are orchid species from all kinds of environments - warm to cold, wet to dry, temperate to tropical. As you might guess, this one comes from the deserts of Ecuador and Peru, where it grows in full, blazing sun. If you ever get one, make sure you respect that or it will rot clean away!

Sinningia eumorphaSinningia lineataThey always have a little corner with Gesneriads, as well. These are Sinningia eumorpha (top) and lineata (bottom). You may be more familiar with the family through the 'florist' gloxinia and African Violets, but the more obscure species are also quite rewarding to grow. For more information on Sinningias and other Gesneriads, you can get started with this site.


Tangerine Kitty said...

Wow...those plants are stunning! What a nice place to visit.

Leslie said...

I wish I had a plant buddy to ge places and get all nerdy with. I am about to pitch my staghorn. It has been out hanging from a tree this summer and has been plenty moist, but just doesn't look all that happy. Thanks for the ant imput. I did a major "scrubbing" of the greenhouse shortly after we spoke and much soapage was used. Then I started spraying heavily with peppermint oil. They are all but gone!