The Orchid Review

First Ladies and their Cattleyas: Nancy Reagan

Nancy Davis Reagan was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989. She ushered in an elegance and formality into the White House which had not been seen in years. Her favorite color was red which she wore so often that the fire-engine shade became known as ‘Reagan Red.’ She and her husband, the 40th U.S. President Ronald Reagan, were inseparable and she was one of his closest advisors.

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 schroederae

A lovely Orchid for a lovely Lady

schrodere typicalBaron J. H. W. von Schröder had one of the finest orchid collections in Europe and he loved cattleyas. The largest and grandest greenhouse on his estate near Windsor was built just for cattleyas, and his appetite for fine Cattleya species was insatiable. At The Dell, as he called his estate, he wanted only the best and nothing less would do.

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 bowringiana

The Autumn Pixie

Cattleya tenebrosa (Laelia)

The Rainbow Cattleya

John Rolfe was one of the giants of the orchid world during the late 1800s. He was one of the most knowledgeable and hardworking orchid botanists of his time, and was ultimately recognized for his accomplishments with Britain's highest honors, including the Victoria Medal of Honor and the Veitch Memorial Medal.

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