semi alba

First Ladies and their Cattleyas: Barbara Bush

Barbara Pierce Bush’s signature white hair and friendly persona endeared her to the American public for decades as her husband embarked on his numerous positions within the federal government. Prior to becoming the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush was Vice President, Director of the CIA, Ambassador to the United Nations, and Liaison to the People’s Republic of China.

Cattleya warscewiczii

The king of the mountain heralds the arrival of summer


C. warscewiczii typical

One of my favorite times of year is early summer, not because the sun is at its brightest then, or because the days stretch lazily into long warm summer evenings, but because this is when my favorite Cattleya species, Cattleya warscewiczii, blooms.

Cattleya trianaei

This Lovely Lady Unfolds During the Winter


C. trianaei

Winter may be a dreary time of the year with its overcast days and long somber nights, but for those who grow Cattleya trianaei, it is a time to enjoy one of nature’s most colorful and captivating flowers.

Cattleya rex

Treasure of the Incas

James O’Brien, one of the most famous horticulturists of the late 1800s, was an expert on orchids, particularly the large-flowered Cattleya species. He was secretary to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Orchid Committee, advisor to the editors of The Gardeners’ Chronicle, and frequently assisted the botanist H.G. Reichenbach in his botanical deliberations. When Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, awarded the first Victoria Medal of Honor in Horticulture (VMH), she presented it to James O’Brien.

Cattleya quadricolor

Cattleya quadricolorfirst appeared in Europe in 1848 when an English orchid grower named Rucker received a single plant from a friend traveling in Colombia. When the plant flowered in 1849, Rucker sent the flowers to the botanist John Lindley, asking him what it was. The only large-flowered Cattleyaspecies known at the time were Cattleya. labiata and Cattleya mossiae, and Lindley thought the flowers Rucker sent were different enough from these two species to mention the plant in an article he wrote for Paxton’s Flower Garden.

Cattleya mendelii

The Vanished Monarch

A visit to the gardens at Manley Hall was a wonderful experience. Forty-four greenhouses traveled the spectrum of the whole plant kingdom — with winding walks and waterfalls as in a rich tropical valley of ferns, or stepping stones for walkways that connected a wonderland of artificial lakes filled with aquatic plants. Everything luxuriated in palms, cycads, and beautiful-leaved plants, but there was also a greenhouse full of flowering azaleas surrounded by beds of pansies.


Cattleya lueddemanniana

Spring is the season when this Venezuelan species bursts into flower!



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