Garden Photo of the Day

Orchids Highlights from Longwood Gardens

By Kim Charles

Kevin Kelly hits the Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens in PA to help beat the winter blues.

"Hello, fellow GPODers. I was getting stir crazy with the cloudy, cold weather here. I decided to take a trip to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA to attend the annual Orchid Extravaganza. Here are a few of the beauties. It was a breath of fresh air and helped me get over the “absence of gardening” blues. Enjoy. Kevin Kelly."

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  1. frankgreenhalgh 02/07/2017

    Greetings Kev. - That feature photo with the arch of flowers in the glasshouse is an absolute cracker jack. Glad you enjoyed your visit to Longwood Gardens because we don't want you being 'stir crazy' from the lack of gardening. Hope your withdrawal symptoms have been adequately treated for the time being. Perhaps you now just need to talk to yourself until spring (see below)!

    Seriously, thanks for sharing the great pics. Cheers mate

      1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

        Love the picture, Frank. I often talk to myself in the garden, but only when the plants aren't talking back?

      2. User avater
        meander_michaele 02/07/2017

        This is a fun one, Frank, and we're all nodding "Yep, guilty as charged!"

      3. user-4691082 02/07/2017

        Thanks for the chuckle, Frank. How are you holding up under the heat? We can't wait for it, and the. I'll be whining about it!

        1. frankgreenhalgh 02/07/2017

          Rhonda, I nearly removed the cartoon because I wasn't quite sure how it would go down - but since it helped put a smile back on your face I'm glad I didn't. I was actually very moved by your post yesterday, as were a lot of fellow GPODers.

          It is going to be extremely hot across our country in the next few days (some places over 113F). You tend to get used to the heat. The main problem is when we also have strong northerly winds - this is when there is a real danger of bush/wild fires. It is very true Rhonda, that we all have short memories in terms of the weather we seek. Look after yourself Rhonda. Cheers, Frank

      4. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/07/2017

        Today is full of laughs. Frank, this is truer than you know! :)

      5. User avater
        LindaonWhidbey 02/07/2017

        The best part about talking to one's self these days is that you can disguise it by wearing headphones:)

    1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      The Trip to Longwood, and the appearance of 2017 garden catalogs, will get thru until the Philadelphia Flower Show in mid-March, when I need another jolt of garden energy.

  2. Jay_Sifford 02/07/2017

    Kevin, thanks for posting. I always enjoy seeing orchids!

  3. deeinde 02/07/2017

    We went to see the display a few weeks ago. It was lovely. We took the short tour of the greenhouses as well! Fun! I understand there are other 'behind the scene' tours during the year and I am looking forward to joining them. I am lucky to be near to Longwood.

    1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      I am about 95 minutes from Longwood, and try to go about 4-5 times per year. If you haven't been to Chanticleer ( Wayne, PA), it is well worth the slightly extra distance.

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 02/07/2017

        I can't agree with you strongly enough about how worth it a visit to Chantcleer is...whew, that was an awkwardly phrased sentence. Anyway, to me, it's more intimate than Longwood is and has so many wonderful elements of hardscaping as well as wondrous plantings.

  4. meta_chalker 02/07/2017

    The purple Orchid Spay seems to be having little men in the heart of the flowers. How cool is that.
    The yellow orchid above that also has a some sort of "form" in the heart. Can't quite make it out. A little lady with a hat on her purple head, maybe. Yellow skirt and white legs.
    Orchids are wonderful and fun plants.

    1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      Meta, I meant to get back to you earlier. It is so funny what you started by "looking deep into the orchids". I think everyone had a great time today. I hope you got back on the site to read the comments that followed. Thanks.

      1. meta_chalker 02/08/2017

        Thanks Kevin for alerting me to get back to the comments. They were indeed hilarious and much appreciated by everyone as we all needed a good laugh. It was a fun post.

  5. user-7007498 02/07/2017


    1. Sunshine111 02/07/2017


    2. frankgreenhalgh 02/07/2017

      Nice work Kev!

      1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

        Thanks, Frank. I loved having fun with the camera last week. Getting stir crazy. Already ordered 50+ perennials from my favorite websites (but they won't arrive until the 1st week of May). :(

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/07/2017

    Orchid flowers are fascinating and, ha, could serve as an informal Rorschach test...what does one see that looks like something else within the flower face. I agree with Meta on the little men in the center of the purple faces. And then, to prove that I am crazy, MC Hammer and his unique baggy pants came to mind when I looked at the 5th picture down. I enjoyed sharing some of your Longwood visit, Kevin and envy that you're only about an hour and a half away.

    1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      Michaele, you caught on to the secret. Kim and I conspired to perform a psychological analysis of all the GPODers today.

      MC Hammer. Hmmm.

      Can't wait until we see what Tim posts?

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/07/2017

        As I scrolled down through the photos, I was prepared to comment on how much I love Mandevilla orchids, but they usually pretty expensive. Then to see it turned into MC Hammer's pants made my day. I'll share a favorite orchid: the very real Naked Man Orchid, Orchis Italica. Check it out. I hope I don't get censored......

        1. frankgreenhalgh 02/07/2017

          Good one Tim!

        2. user-7007498 02/07/2017

          Tim, that is one cool orchid. I have never seen that one. Are you growing it, or was that from another collection?

          1. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/07/2017

            Oh, I should have commented that this is a photo taken in the wild by source who I have since forgotten. My apologies to the person who may hold the copyright to this photo.
            Orchid variability is so cool. I love the ones that mimic bees, and if you aren't familiar, the flying duck orchid is worth looking up!

          2. User avater
            LindaonWhidbey 02/07/2017

            Naked men parachuting. Funny and beautiful.

        3. annek 02/07/2017

          Ha! Just could grow naked men for a living!

          1. User avater
            Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/07/2017

            That would be quite a business!

        4. User avater
          meander_michaele 02/07/2017

          This is hysterical...I guess it's what inspired the song Flyin' Purple People Eater. What a fascinating looking orchid.

    2. NCYarden 02/07/2017

      I totally see it! Love it, Michaele. Go ahead and love on this... ORCHID TIME!

      1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

        David, totally laughing with your photo. Made my day.

      2. User avater
        LindaonWhidbey 02/07/2017

        As I've said before, David, you are funny:)

      3. User avater
        meander_michaele 02/07/2017

        Oh, Wow, sheer brilliance, David...that is exactly what I had in mind! And, you escaped being charged for a new keyboard by a hair of a second. I had just swallowed my sip of coffee before I hit the picture. Trust me, it elicited a guffaw.

        1. NCYarden 02/07/2017

          Glad I could bring a good laugh and a smile. But you planted this seed. I was completely thrilled with your comment...took me back. If I didn't have real work to do today, I would love to have animated it.
          Oh well. Can't touch this.

  7. NCYarden 02/07/2017

    Absolutely spectacular. Thanks for sharing, Kevin

  8. Chris_N 02/07/2017

    Great photos, Kevin. Thanks for the bonus ones as well. We often go to the conservatory at Olbrich Botanic Gardens in the winter to escape the drearyness. This last weekend they hosted the Madison Orchid Growers Guild's Orchid Quest with regional orchid societies (and Olbrich itself) displaying amazing plants. Not on the scale of Longwood's show but still fun to see all the unique forms.

    1. User avater
      LindaonWhidbey 02/07/2017

      Chris, we would go to that every year when we lived in Madison. It was always a treat.

  9. user-4691082 02/07/2017

    I am only 12 minutes from Longwood Gardens, so I am really spoiled. The orchid show is fun and it just amazes me there are so many different kinds! My cousin used to work in their orchid department and he told us that when they are propagating, they use a sterile razor blade and then throw it away after one use! Kevin, I love the photo of the clivia! I'm looking forward to the flower show!

    1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      I had so much fun at Longwood. I went with a friend of mine I hadn't seen for almost 2 years.

      5 weeks from today to the Flower Show!!!

  10. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/07/2017

    Thanks for sharing this great trip to the orchidascious wonderland! I could look at (and often inhale the fragrance) or orchids all day long. Beautiful.

  11. hontell 02/07/2017

    Awesome photos Kevin, Love orchids and i love Longwood. Nice change for our rainy day in NJ. Should be in the 60's tomorrow. Howard

    1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      I am glad the orchids brightened everyones day. I want to get out in the garden so bad.

      If you haven't been to Chanticleer (Wayne, PA), you must go. It is another bucket list garden.

  12. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 02/07/2017

    Great post this morning, Kevin. It's obvious that we're all getting stir crazy from the comments below. That clivia photo reminded me that ours must be getting ready to bloom. We keep it in a solarium attached to our house so it gets just enough cold to encourage great blooms. It's been in our family since 1974 but it took us several years to figure out what triggered blooms. Thanks fir giving us this great tour.

    1. Maggieat11 02/07/2017

      Wow! That is fabulous!

    2. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/07/2017

      Amazing color!

    3. frankgreenhalgh 02/07/2017

      Lovely, Linda

    4. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      Gorgeous flowers. Thanks for sharing the great photo.

    5. tennisluv 02/07/2017

      OK, so now I have not only to totally redo an exterior landscape but I have to go find a clivia for inside my house. Aren't orchids enough? Yeah, I am in pursuit.

      1. user-6787596 02/08/2017

        You can find them at Roberta's Gardens. might have them right now as they are doing a shows today. I bought my yellow ones from them. Found my orange one at a local shop here in Middle GA. Good Luck! They are really beautiful flowers

  13. tennisluv 02/07/2017

    Kevin, orchids are my favorite go to house plant, so I enjoyed your photos. However thanks to our fellow bloggers, I will never look at them the same again. Naked men, 'Minecraft' man; spider in the green ladies slipper, alien moth creature in the yellow one, et al. Wow, and we only thought they were pretty flowers! Have put the Atlanta Botanical Gardens Orchid Extravaganza on my must do list for this spring - Feb. 11th thru April. The gardens are worth a visit for anyone coming thru.

    1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      Sonya, it is clear after today, that all of us need to get out in our gardens again-SOON.

      1. tennisluv 02/07/2017

        Kevin, I absolutely agree. Obviously we are all going 'stir crazy' cooped up inside awaiting spring. CRAZY is the key word here. But I must admit, I loved watching all of us let our ' gardening hair ' down. Too funny! FYI follow bloggers, I have just signed a contract to begin reconstructing my landscape (hard-scapes & large plants). Watch for some VERY ugly pictures of my front yard, followed by beginning pictures (hopefully Kim will allow me to post really ugly landscape pictures) followed by improvements, followed by .... Please cross your fingers and send up garden prayers for me as I begin to try to reclaim a hard clay North Georgia hillside AKA Peel's Lakemont.

        1. frankgreenhalgh 02/07/2017

          Looking forward to seeing photos before and after the upgrade, Sonya. Good luck with that!

          1. tennisluv 02/07/2017

            Frank, really pleased to have your support of my coming upheaval. Having come from fairly rich, albeit it clay, dry shade, my new sun filled, HARD (think clay/concrete pots), north Georgia soil is going to be a challenge and an opportunity to test my limited landscaping skills. Really excited about working with my landscape design firm (Shady Grove Landscaping- PLUG, PLUG) for the hardscapes/large plants and afterwards, figuring out what plants can and cannot survive in my extreme environment. FYI, sorry to say that I love plants and playing in the dirt, but fishing has never one of my favs although I know it is yours. That said, you seem to be as awesome a fisher as you are a gardener! A toast to Aussie, aka Ozzie, land

          2. frankgreenhalgh 02/08/2017

            Sonya - I reckon Shady Grove Landscaping should give you a massive discount for the free international commercial! I see you have also done some homework - impressive! Thanks for the nice toast.

          3. tennisluv 02/08/2017

            Frank, the products that I plan to use contains endomycorrhiza, ectomycorrhiza and bacteria; both include Trichoderma koningii & Trichoderma harzianum in the ingredient list. One is called 'Great White', which seems to be higher rated & more costly, and the other is 'Plant Success'. Right now I am going to use granular mixed in the planting holes, but may change to powder that I can mix with water and soak the root balls prior to planting. I am fortunate that I have found a supplier @ 30 miles away that will also mail to me via US postal service, if I don't want to bother with the drive. Shady Grove inoculates all plantings, but I don't know what product Fern uses. I'll check out gymsup and clay combination. Thanks for the tip.

          4. frankgreenhalgh 02/08/2017

            Thanks Sonya.

        2. user-7007498 02/07/2017

          Best wishes, Sonya. Show us those pictures. And remember, COMPOST, COMPOST, COMPOST.

          1. tennisluv 02/08/2017

            Thanks for the advice. I am also going to try inoculating the soil at every planting with mycrorrhizal fungi.

          2. frankgreenhalgh 02/08/2017

            Very interesting Sonya. You can obviously purchase mycrorrhizal fungi in your neck of the woods. I would be interested to know which species. I'm also wondering why you plan to inoculate the soil rather than the roots of the new plants. Are Trichoderma spp. also available commercially? OK here is my two cents worth - best to incorporate gypsum (calcium sulphate dihydrate) into the clay to improve the drainage (as well as the organic matter Kev. mentioned) - works wonders in our clays in Aust. Here endeth the lesson! Cheers, Frank

          3. user-7007498 02/08/2017

            Let me know how that works for you. Three years ago, I created 2 new beds. One I used leaf compost and mycorrhizae fungi and the other compost only. At this point, I still cannot tell the difference. I think the fungi self-inoculates when there is plenty of organic material and minimal soil disturbance.

          4. tennisluv 02/08/2017

            Given there is going to be major soil upheaval, I am willing to try anything to get the plantings off to as good a start as I can. With a mostly sunny landscape, I have access to limited leaf mulch but do have a site where I can purchase screened, blackened topsoil compost by the truck load. I may also try mulching as many of the plants that will be taken out as possible rather than letting them go to a recycling center or landfill. Thanks for your tips; they are really helpful.

  14. Kim_Charles 02/07/2017

    Good morning everyone--with an ice delay her in CT, I am a bit slower to the table, this morning.

    What the heck is going on with today's post/comments!? NC Yarden/Michaele and have been VERY creative with the artistic aspects of these orchid varieties....I must say! I am hysterically laughing here at my desk! Definitely helps to beat the winter blues! lol

    Ahhhh....for the love of orchids!

    1. User avater
      Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 02/07/2017

      I am definitely needing a good laugh these days, and starting the day with a chuckle helps the work to go more quickly!
      Thanks for chiming in!

      1. Kim_Charles 02/07/2017

        Absolutely Tim...still laughing here!

  15. Sunshine111 02/07/2017

    Gorgeous Kevin! I've only been to Longwood Gardens once, though I need to go again… I have become an orchid fanatics since then and have 30 or so different ones in my house. Fortunately they are starting to bloom now and it is so exciting! Thanks for sharing

    1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      Thanks, Lily. If you make it down to Longwood again from New Hampshire, make sure you include a visit to Chanticleer in Wayne, PA. It is another bucket list garden.

    2. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      Lily, I just re-read your post. 30 orchids! Wow. I have never been good about maintaining plants indoors that require any care beyond neglect. I am so impressed. Good for you.

      1. Sunshine111 02/08/2017

        Thank you Kevin

        1. user-7007498 02/08/2017

          Nice photos and very healthy plants. One of these days I will have to give this a try.

  16. schatzi 02/07/2017

    Hello Everyone. You are in rare form today, with your comments on the orchids' unique structures. Gorgeous display - thank you Kevin. The PNW flower and garden show is in 2 weeks - yay! Frank, that is my all-time favorite Daffy Duck cartoon!

    1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      My pleasure to share the orchid photos. And yes, GPODers are clearly over winter and ready to get outside in the dirt.

  17. annek 02/07/2017

    Kevin And gpod-ers, thanks for the raucous view of m.c. Hammer, spiders, moths and, of course, naked men! Ahhh, those orchids liberate us from the cold fingers of winter. Quite beautiful and uplifting!

    1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      It was quite clear, Keilian, that everyone is a bit stir crazy right now. I will never see orchids the same way again. What a fun day.

      1. frankgreenhalgh 02/08/2017

        Kev. - Yes it has been a great, fun post with fantastic interaction/conversation. Congrats. on the post and the stimulation. Honestly though, I just don't know how you guys put up with your gardening down time. I would be committed to a loony bin if I couldn't be outside all year round. Cheers, Frank

        1. user-7007498 02/08/2017

          It is hard, especially from Jan to March. You have to do a lot of dreaming. I am also big college basketball fan, so that helps.

      2. annek 02/08/2017

        Me either! Not only did I enjoy the beauty of your orchid photos, i enjoyed the humor of the posts. Way to shake it up! (You and the winter doldrums, that is)

  18. Maggieat11 02/07/2017

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Kevin! Orchids are so fascinating... and even more so after reading the comments below! ;-) Your are fortunate to have so many gardening events/gardens within a reasonable driving distance. I too, am so very anxious for the PA Flower Show. Spring for a day! So uplifting, exciting and inspiring!

    1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      Hi, Margaret. The comments were funny today, and everyone is a bit stir crazy.
      It sounds like you are going to the Phila Flower Show this year. Do you live far away? What day are you going? I look forward to it every year. I need a boost to get me through the last month before I can get out in the garden.

      1. Maggieat11 02/08/2017

        I am going on the first Saturday- on a bus trip with a family friend. We go every year. Absolutely a favorite event of the year. I especially enjoy the landscaping competitions. Next year, I hope to make a 2 day trip of it. What day(s) are you going?

        1. user-7007498 02/08/2017

          I take the train in from Harrisburg, as it gives me plenty of options to maximize my time. I am actually meeting Rhonda, another GPODer. We are going on Tuesday.

          I also have gone every year for the past 20 years. Definitely the 1st day of spring for me as well.

  19. GrannyCC 02/07/2017

    Wow what a chuckle today. You can tell we are all going a bit stir crazy!! Beautiful photos Kevin thanks for sharing and uplifting our spirits. I am on Vancouver Island and this is what my Witch Hazel looks like. We have had record snowfall.

    1. Kim_Charles 02/07/2017

      Beautiful photo Catherine!

      1. GrannyCC 02/08/2017

        Thanks Kim.

    2. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      Thanks, Catherine. Weird to hear about all the snow out there. Nothing yet in Harrisburg, PA.

      1. GrannyCC 02/08/2017

        I guess we have to think about global warming.Our weather patterns are changing.

    3. tennisluv 02/07/2017

      You are getting snow and we are experiencing a record warm winter in the lower Southeast. Mother Nature can be extremely capricious. Daffodils, red maples, Japanese magnolias, and other early spring bloomers are already blooming out here. Holding my breath that we don't have a late winter/early spring killing frost and extremely cold March/April. BUT, am also worried that we will have another really hot, dry summer.

      1. GrannyCC 02/08/2017

        Hi Sonya
        It is always a toss up with the weather. We are usually out in the garden at this time of year which happened in 2016. Then we had a drought in the summer.

        1. tennisluv 02/08/2017

          I agree, but this past summer and winter have been a bit too squirrelly
          (nasty little furry tailed rats) for me. I would love to see a 'normal'
          year, if there is any such thing. Just the pipe dream of all us
          gardeners who wish for equal amounts of rain and sun, heat and cold, a
          wee bit of sweet loam and flowers abloom.

          1. frankgreenhalgh 02/08/2017

            Sonya, yes us gardeners are pretty good dreamers. The reality is that we will increasingly experience more extreme weather events due to climate change. Cheers, Frank

    4. schatzi 02/08/2017

      You got that storm too, Catherine. We got 12" of snow Sunday night and still have most of it. 35 miles south of Seattle.

      1. GrannyCC 02/08/2017

        yes we did and I here there is more tomorrow. I want Spring to come!!

        1. schatzi 02/08/2017

          I think we all do. It was snowing lightly this morning but changed to rain with temps rising. Hang in there!

  20. Meelianthus 02/07/2017

    Thank you Kevin for sharing these exotic beauties with us. Such a treat for all as I think everyone is having cold, wet, snowy, windy weather right now! What a fun excursion for you this time of the year
    and definitely a bright spot on this dreary day.

    1. user-7007498 02/07/2017

      My pleasure, Linda. We have had the weirdest winter in central PA. No real snow yet (just a couple of 1/2 inch dustings. Very cloudy, rainy and mild. Today it rained and it was 45 degrees.

  21. User avater
    gringopeligroso 02/08/2017

    Thanx for the Orchid Show!! One of my FAVE families!! And SO appreciated here in the drab months...altho there was a post last week which showed it doesn't have to be! (Inspiration and motivation!) Mine are spiking like there's no tomorrow so...keeping fingers and eyes crossed! Got to visit Longwood several years ago and unfortunately, before I got into digital photography. So, really appreciate you visiting for the rest of us!!
    And, that first Phal you posted in the comments is one of my faves!! Phalaenopsis amabilis!! Several years ago, it was SO pricey, if'n you could even find one. Just this past weekend, was in the local box building store and scored one in the clearance bloom and a whole $3.00!! Jesse

    1. user-7007498 02/08/2017

      Thanks, Jesse. I was glad I could brighten up the winter doldrums for everyone. Orchids are just so cool, and they photograph so well. I had a great time.

      $3 for P. amabilis in bloom. Awesome find.

  22. user-6787596 02/08/2017

    Hello! The orchids are so beautiful. I have an Orange Clivia blooming now that
    is absolutely gorgeous. It actually has two sets of blooms. I would love to see a show like this someday. I have seen one at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens many years ago.

    1. user-7007498 02/08/2017

      Longwood has a permanent orchid collection, and grows many other specifically for the orchid festival. There are no vendors, only their own material. It is stunning.

      1. user-6787596 02/08/2017

        When I can I go to the Carter and Holmes Orchid Nursery in Newberry, SC. They grow all types of orchids. Last time I went they had 12 greenhouses and I was in heaven. They also have a website where you can buy them online. I too grow orchids at my home and I have around 20 right now.

        1. user-7007498 02/08/2017

          Rosemary, I am so impressed with those who grow orchids. As much time as I devote to my garden, I struggle with putting the effort indoors. Great job.

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