White, red and fuzzy

“Venus” dogwood (Cornus kousa x nuttallii)

The weatherman predicts thunderstorms every day for the next ten days, so I made time today to visit to the botanical garden while the weather was still mild.

Acer palmatum “Wolff”

There are more pictures here.


White in April

Yoshino cherry

While the crypto-British Okame cherry at the botanical garden was badly damaged by the freeze in February, the Yoshino cherry did fine. The deciduous magnolias were also untouched by the cold.

Magnolia stellata “Royal Star”

There are more pictures here

March blues

I got out to the botanical garden yesterday for the first time since November. There wasn’t much in bloom — no surprise, considering that it was -16°F just over three weeks ago. Most of the plants there seemed to have weathered the freakish freeze okay, though the winter jasmine, which would ordinarily be a mass of yellow at this time, was just a bunch of twigs. I was able to find a little bit of color here and there.

I was irritated to discover that the garden had installed numerous inspirational/motivational signs throughout a couple of sections. They’re unattractive and distracting, and they will obstruct the view as the gardens return to life. I also intensely resent being preached at. They had better be gone next time I visit.

There are more pictures here.

Update: I made another trip out there, and this time I did find a bit of yellow jasmine.

But only a few blossoms, not the usual hundreds and hundreds.

Dracula and friends

Update: Never mind. The show has been cancelled.


The local orchid organization is holding its annual show and sale this Saturday at Botanica in Wichita. There may well be some Dracula orchids for sale and possibly in bloom for the holiday. Here’s the flyer. (The orchid pictured is a Paphiopedilum.)

Here’s Don Ross with “Dracula and Friends, Part One.”

Ross, unfortunately, will not be at Botanica, though he turns up occasionally at Winfield.

Flower of a thousand names

The botanical garden requires masks only when you are inside the buildings, not when you are in the gardens themselves, so I was able to grab a few pictures there without suffocating this week. While the naked ladies (Lycoris squamigera) are past their prime, the closely-related Lycoris radiata is just getting started. L. radiata has all kinds of significance in Japanese culture (if you see it in an anime, you’re probably in a graveyard), which I’m too lazy to summarize.

There are more pictures from the expedition here.

Hold your horses

Back in ancient times there was an amusement park in the south end of Wichita called “Joyland,” with the usual roller-coaster and rides, cotton candy, snow-cones and noise. I recall it being moderately fun when I was an eighth-grader, but over the years it deteriorated and became a place where you didn’t want to be during the day, let alone the evening. Eventually Joyland was closed, and vandalized, and dismantled.

Several years ago, the botanical garden received the remains of the carousel. Restoring the carousel to working order was the excuse for a long-term fund-raiser at the garden. It’s supposed to be open to riders very soon, but there’s a hitch:

Half of the horses will be taken out.
There will be markings on the floor – 6 feet1 apart.
There will be longer times between rides
(an operator will be wiping down each horse).

I took a few pictures during a visit to the garden earlier this week.

Like virtually every other institution in Wichita, it is partly funded by the Kochtopus.

In the pink

The botanical garden finally (partly) reopened today after a two-month hiatus. I spent the afternoon there taking hundreds of pictures. It’s going to take me a while to process them all. Here’s Oenothera speciosa for now. There will be more soon.


The close-ups I’ve posted of Gilia tricolor don’t really show what the plant looks like. This should give you a better idea of how it grows in cultivation. It’s roughly a foot tall.

Looking for Dracula?

You might be able to find a Dracula orchid plant for sale at the Kansas Orchid Society’s annual show and sale, held this weekend at Botanica here in Wichita.

Maxthompsonara Bryon Rinke

You might also see Maxthompsonara Bryon Rinke, a multi-generic Zygopetalinae hybrid bred at Sunset Valley Orchids, first flowered by Bryon Rinke of the KOS and named for Max Thompson at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. You might even see Max and Bryon.

There definitely will be several tables full of blooming orchids, plus plants for sale. I’ll be there taking too many pictures, as usual.

Let’s get small

Although there were some mid-size to large blooms at this month’s orchid society show-and-tell, the stand-out for me was the smallest, Platystele umbellata, above. The entire cluster of burgundy flowers was roughly a quarter-inch in diameter. It was difficult to photograph — I really needed a macro lens (ideally with another lens stacked in front, and with the camera connected to the computer for focus stacking) and a tripod — but after several tries I managed to get a passable picture.

The Platystele was dwarfed by Stelis viridipurpurata, which was nevertheless quite small itself. Each flower was about a quarter-inch across.

There are more pictures here, including Habenarias.

In addition to the usual close-up photos, I also made some panoramas of the botanical garden this past weekend, such as this view of the lily pond. (Panoramas look best in the full-screen mode.)

There are more views of Botanica at my panorama page. (Click the “recent” tab.)

Continue reading “Let’s get small”

Back again to the garden


I spent yesterday afternoon at the botanical garden, this time with an ordinary zoom lens. There was relatively little color outside, but I found some. There was more at the orchid society meeting inside, where the room was refrigerated air-conditioned. There are more pictures here.

Trichocentrum jonesianum

Continue reading “Back again to the garden”

The sky below

When I last visited the botanical garden, I took the fisheye lens instead of the macro. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the panorama tripod head with me, so all the garden panoramas came out too glitchy to post. The above was salvaged from one of the waterlily pond.


A few odds and ends:

Zappa fans might find this old advertisement oddly familiar:

See also Ronstadt, Zappa and the Remington Electric Razor.

(Via .clue and Dustbury.)

In memory of

I returned to the botanical garden for the first time since I hurt my leg. While there, I spotted the bricks above in the butterfly garden1 walkway.

All the lego sculptures have been emplaced. To me, they just look dumb and waste space better devoted to interesting plants.2 The phony Victoria, above, takes as much room as a dozen real water lilies and looks ridiculous. It’s pointless, too, since the garden usually has the real thing in a different part of the pond later in the summer. Perhaps the silly things are attracting more visitors, but even so I look forward to their removal in the fall.

Although I missed the peak of spring, there were still plenty of real plants to see.

There are more pictures at my Flickr site.

Plastic and rust, and Japanese vanilla

Botanica, the botanical garden in Wichita, has installed a number of sculptures in the gardens. Most range from “meh” to kitschy. I rarely bother to include them in my photographs. Currently the people who run the institution are installing a bunch of figures made of Legos in awkward spots through the grounds, such as the pansy above. I hope they’re temporary. They have novelty value and might attract a few additional visitors to the gardens, but there are much more interesting things you can do with Legos.

Unfortunately not temporary are the panels at the south entrance of the not-particularly-Shakespearean garden. They’ve been there as long as I’ve visited Botanica, and they look a little worse every year. (Right-click and open in a new window to see at maximum ugliness.)

Continue reading “Plastic and rust, and Japanese vanilla”