The descent into orchid obsession continues



Late winter is the perfect time to have an orchid show in a lush tropical setting, so I guess that’s why our botanical gardens always does it then. Once again, I went, admired, and bought—rewarding myself for keeping the dendrobium I purchased last year alive long enough to go out of bloom and produce new buds. I won’t bother you with any more details, but for what can only be called orchid porn, check these images. And there’s a brief interview with a typical orchid collector/grower on my blog.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. It happens so quickly… first just a plain white phalaenopsis, then maybe a catt hybrid, and before you know it you’re researching the exact cultural requirements of masdevallias while your S.O. is trying to rip the credit card out of your hands (which doesn’t work, you’ve memorized the number!)

    Been there 🙂

  2. Been there too! Done that, got the scars! But I am now immune, many laelias, cattleyas, miltonias, and most especially the cymbidium family later. Now there’s one cymbidium and two phales. That’s it. Never again. And besides, the temptation emporium in this area closed and has been replaced by McMansions.

  3. You’ve gotten one of these inert plants to re-bud? I am very impressed.

    Yesterday, I just sailed past the cheap yet beautiful orchids at Lowe’s and bought some purple-flowering calla corms instead. I prefer a guaranteed success.

  4. Actually, the orchid exhibit here in DC is at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum — it is co-hosted by the US Botanical Garden and they switch-off years for the actual exhibit display (even years at USBG, odd years at the Smithsonian).

    Orchids are also big over at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD which just had an orchid club exhibit and will have another orchid fest next week (see and also over at the US National Arboretum is the big annual NCOS orchid auction this Saturday (

    Certainly, no shortage of orchid-freaks in the greater DC region.

    Personally, I’ve tried to get my orchids to rebloom in the various prescribed ways and had no luck — so I just enjoy them when in bloom then pass them on to my orchid-loving, greenhouse-owning friends to see if they can coax any future blooms out of them.

  5. Orchid shows are so amazing- I have to avoid bringing the checkbook or I come home with the latest paph or jewel orchid or yet another variation on a harlequin phalaenopsis. I must have 30 orchids in my house- to say nothing of my office. They are really just the best thing for winter.

  6. The Baltimore Master Gardening Bookclub just finished reading “The Cloud Garden”-the true story of an orchid hunter kidnapped in “el darien” between panama and colombia…it really shows how CRAZY people are for orchids. Definitely worth checking out.

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