We have a magnificent new orchid in the garden, right in front of the house. This is a gigantic specimen of Grammatophyllum speciosum, a native of Southeast Asia.

Grammatophyllum speciosum

Grammatophyllum speciosum

The plant is absolutely huge, as you can see in the image. This species is sometimes referred to as “the largest orchid plant in the world” – this is arguable, but it is, without question, the heaviest orchid plant in the world. It’s a semi-terrestrial or even lithophytic (growing on rocks) plant. Sometimes it can be found growing epiphytically in a low, large tree crotch, but the plants can grow to such gigantic proportions, some weighing more than a ton, that it’s difficult for a tree to support the massive weight of it. Like most Grammatophyllums, it blooms in the summer so we are unlikely to see any flowers on it until next year. The stem-like pseudobulbs can be as much as nine feet long, and the inflorescence can add another six feet to the size of each growth.

It turns out that there are a few orchids with larger stems, including one species of Sobralia (S. altissima) in Peru whose upright, cane-like, woody stems can grow to more than 40 feet in length, but the plants don’t even come close to producing the massive clumps of this Grammatophyllum. And besides, that particular Sobralia won’t grow here whereas we expect our Gramm. speciosum to be a highlight of the garden for years to come. And of course, weather permitting, you can see it on one of our free weekend garden tours.

On weekends, we escort free walking tours of Bob’s and Mike’s private garden at 11am and 3pm, weather permitting. No reservation is necessary, but we do ask that you be here on time (a few minutes before start time is fine). Meet your guide at the bridge. We can also arrange garden tours for groups at other times, please contact us for details on these arrangements. Note that we do charge a nominal fee for private group tours; they affect our staffing for the day.

Fall Orchid Camp Announced

We’re pleased to announce a Fall series of orchid care classes, our popular “Orchid Camp”, beginning in October. Download the schedule brochure here and sign up!

AOS Fall Members Meeting

Mark your calendar for Oct. 16 – 19, that’s when the East Everglades Orchid Society will be hosting the AOS’s Fall Members Meeting here in Homestead, in conjunction with their annual show in the gardens at R.F. Orchids. Registration and hotel deals are open, check it all out! You can register and book your hotel on the EEOS website. They’ve negotiated special rates for attendees and there are plenty of activities planned.

Important Garden Tour Update

Our weekend garden tours have always been “weather permitting”, which generally means we don’t do them if it’s raining. Well, we’ve decided that the heat index is a “weather” issue, too, and in excessive heat conditions, it simply isn’t wise or safe to be walking around outdoors for an hour. Not safe for visitors, not safe for staff (recently we’ve had some folks nearly overcome with heat-related issues, including staff). So, during the warmer months here, we reserve the right to cancel a garden tour if we think the heat index is too high for everyone’s safety. We have had days with temperatures in the mid- to upper-90s, and heat indices well over 100F. On those days, we won’t imperil anyone’s health.

On The Road

Bob and Mike will be traveling to Guatemala with some other AOS judges later this month, for the Asociación Guatemalteca de Orquideología’s fall show in Guatemala City. This is a smaller show than the winter event (in February), but they have an incredible selection of orchids that flower at this time of year. A very different collection of orchids, but just as gorgeous.