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Growing orchids outdoors in California's fog belt.

Growing orchids outdoors in California's fog belt

Orchids out of doors? If you live in a frost-freearea near the ocean, you can grow hundreds of kinds in addition to the well-known cymbidiums. One San Francisco fancier grew 2,000 plants, representing 500 species--with no protection except lath or rigid plastic overhead. These safeguard the plant against strong sun or beating rain; no artificial heat is used.

The owner found that he did not need agreenhouse for the orchids he liked best: the botanical or species orchids collected in the wild or propagated from such plants, as opposed to highly bred florists' orchids. Many come from high elevations in tropical America, Asia, or Indonesia, where the climate is cool, moist, and freqnently chilly--very like that of the northern California fog belt.

Among the most successful orchids in thecollection are the masdevallias. Their flowers range from boldly beautiful to decidedly weird; the former come in many colors, including orange and scarlet; the latter are oddly furred and tailed, resembling stalked animals.

Zygopetalums grow nearly as easily ascymbidiums in the fog belt and need the same treatment. In addition to being showy, they are deliciously fragrant.

Getting into the act. Neighborhood nurseriesin coastal California may sell cymbidiums but rarely offer any other orchids. Even orchid specialists tend to concentrate on large-flowered greenhouse hybrids. To find the botanicals, get to know the people who attend orchid society meetings and shows.

Here are some northern California addresses:Carmel Orchid Society, Box 222788, Carmel 93922; Mendocino Coast Orchid Society, 32531 Rhoda Lane, Fort Bragg 95437; Peninsula Orchid Society, San Mateo Garden Center, 605 Parkside Way, San Mateo 94403; San Francisco Orchid Society, San Francisco County Fair Building, Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way, San Francisco 94118.

Photo: Zygopetalum intermedium bears showy flowers with afantastic array of colors--green, brown, bluish white, and violet. Flowers also have powerful fragrance

Photo: Overhead lathshelters orchids from sun in San Francisco garden. Foreground plant is Masdevallia militaris "Margaret'

Photo: Oncidium loxense hasorange-yellow lip, brown and yellow petals. Owner collected plant in Ecuador

Photo: Attending shows like this one can show youplant choices, let you meet orchid fanciers
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Jun 1, 1987
Words:355
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