I passed by some amazing flowering plants - most which I have never seen and could not identify to save my life:
Thanks to my brother-in-law Karl for remotely identifying this for me
|shaving brush tree flower (Pseudobombax ellipticum
|starfish flower (stapelia gigantea)
Note the flies in the center,a hint to the smell potential
Finally, I came by this promising sign.
Apparently, each year during the cool season (yes, it gets too hot for orchids outside here), the garden staff plant and display orchids in their two acre tropical rainforest. You can get a feeling for the forest below. When orchids were first introduced to Europe and England, people had the misconception that these plants need hot, humid conditions to grow. Hot houses and steam houses were constructed that killed most imported orchids within a few months.The difficulty to keep and flower orchids under little understood cultural requirements, and the demand for more and more exotic orchids, let to over collecting in the wild. This is a problem in the US today as well. Many native orchids, such as the ladyslipper family, do not transplant well. Still, their nursery price tag of $35 to $100+ tempts people to try it anyway.
To help restore South Florida's native orchids, Fairchild Gardens have launched the million orchid project. Information and some interesting historical background can be found here: the-million-orchid-project.
Most orchids are epiphytes, that is they grow on trees, often in the canopies. Many need (relatively) cool and breezy conditions to thrive. Their sun requirements are just as varied,ranging from dappled shade to almost full sun. In the relative cool of March (temperatures in the high 60's and low 70's), by a stream providing humidity, and, to be honest, a team of gardeners providing supports,these plants looked very happy. enjoy the pictures.
Before I got too ready to move, however, I almost stepped on a reminder of what we don't have to contend with in Massachusetts. I have no idea if this snake was venomous or not, but it hissed and I did not stop to argue.