Another orchid opened its first blooms this weekend. This one is Cattleya Aloha Apricot. It is more frequently listed as a Sophrolaeliocattleya [SLC], but Sophronitis and most of Laelia recently have been lumped into the Cattleya genus, so it’s just a Cattleya now. It’s a compact plant, eight inches high including the pot, and the flowers are two-and-a-half inches in diameter.
Oncidium Tsiku Marguerite arrived back in May in spike. June came, it got hot, and the plant went into shock. It just sat there, the spikes not developing, until October, when the weather finally cooled a little. This week it finally bloomed. The flowers are not quite an inch long, and have a light sweetish fragrance. They’re a a bit pinker than I expected, but I’m not complaining. There are a few more pictures here.
The first batch of pictures from the orchid show are up. Although I spotted two Dracula plants, neither was in bloom. However, there was a Habenaria medusa in flower, which will probably be in the next batch. You can see the pictures here.
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.)
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.
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.)
I get tired of lugging the tripod along on photo expeditions, so I’ve been looking for alternative methods of taking close-ups. All but the last picture here were taken with an inexpensive but quite nice 18-55mm zoom lens, with a diffuser on the hotshoe flash. The real test of the system will come at the orchid show in two weeks.
As always, click to enlarge and see in better color. To see at full size, right-click and open in a new window.