Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Top 12 Orchids in Bloom at Flamingo Gardens

In honor of the upcoming International Orchid and Bromeliad Show at Flamingo Gardens, we thought we’d highlight 12 of our favorite orchids now in bloom. You can take a self-guided walking tour to see these beauties up-close and in person. Ask for the Orchid Tour map at the ticket counter.

12. Phalaenopsis DeLeon’s White is one of the most popular Phalaenopsis orchids on the market because of their tolerance of low-level light conditions and for the long sleek spikes of large white petals which resemble butterflies and last for weeks, even months. *This orchid can be seen in the large container in the middle island of the Arboretum.

11. Phalaenopsis Timothy Christopher is a miniature Phal that is a hybrid cross of Phalaenopsis Cassandra x Phalaenopsis aphrodite and blooms in abundance. *This orchid can be seen on the white silk floss tree trunk just after the middle island.

10. Oncidium sphacalatum is a species orchid of Mexico and Central America. It is known as the Golden Shower Orchid due to its bright yellow flowers on abundant long spikes that grow up to 3 feet long. The showy blooms last for weeks. *This orchid can be seen to the left looking back at the Toucan cage.

9. Dendrobium Flamingo Garden has large flowers of flashy pink and purple undertones, just as you’d expect of our namesake, with an extended lip and great patterning. *This orchid can be seen straight ahead when you looking back at the Toucan cage.

8. Dendrobium lindleyi is a small species orchid of Thailand and much of southeast Asia notable for its showy sprays of yellow buttercup flowers. *This orchid can be seen on the west side of the Palm tree at the intersection of the Service Road and Tram Trail, just opposite the Wedding Gazebo.

7. Howeara Lava Burst ‘Puanani’ is a miniature variety Oncidinae hybrid that is famous for its small, flaming red flowers that emerge twice a year and last for weeks. It is a cross of Howeara Mini-Primi x Rodriguezia secunda. *This Oncidium orchid can be seen on the palm tree to the right of the ramp as you enter the garden from the gift shop.

6. Oncidium Sweet Sugar ‘Lemon Drop’ is distinguished by its bright pure-yellow flowers of medium size, but beautifully arranged on arching racemes which remain in bloom for weeks. It is a hybrid of Aloha Iwanaga x varicosum. *This Oncidium orchid can be seen on the palm tree to the left of the ramp as you enter the garden from the gift shop.

5. Broughtonia sanguinea is a species orchid native to Jamaica. It is outstanding for the long flower spikes that grow up to 2 feet long above its foliage, tipped with clusters of bright red flowers. *This orchid can be seen on the palms on the right side of the large Cluster Fig tree.

4. Gongora claviodora is a species orchid found in Nicaragua south to Columbia that is notable for its pendulous clusters of dark red flowers that smell of cloves. *This orchid can be seen hanging in the basket from the Live Oak tree near the Bromeliad Garden.

3. Guarianthe skinneri is a species orchid that ranges from southern Mexico to Costa Rica where it is the national flower and plays a role in local folk traditions. It is outstanding for its spectacular display of colorful blossoms covering the plant. *This orchid can be seen on the east side of the Palm tree at the intersection of the Service Road and Tram Trail, opposite the Wedding Gazebo.

2. Dendrobium anosmum superbum is a species orchid native to Southeast Asia. Species Orchids are those species that occur naturally in nature and have not been hybridized. This Dendrobium, while short-lived, is a showstopper when cascades of lavender blooms appear on the bare canes. New leafy canes will grow and lose their leaves the following year just before new blooms appear. *This Orchid can be seen at the end of the ramp to the left.

1. Vanda Pachara Delight ‘Isabella’ is beloved for its stunning deep blue-violet flowers which blooms multiple times throughout the year and last for weeks at a time. This hybrid is a cross of V. Karulea x V. Gordon Dillion. *This Vanda orchid can be seen to the right in the middle of the ramp from the gift shop.

Photos by Lorenzo Cassina. Follow Lorenzo's work at: www.instagram.com/cassinaphotography 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Top 12 Exotic Blooms at Flamingo Gardens

March is an exciting month at Flamingo Gardens as the plants start to emerge from their winter dormancy and some of the most interesting blooms appear on our tropical plants. Flamingo Gardens is known for our giant trees, live oaks, and Everglades' plant species, but here are some unusual exotic blooms from plants around the globe you’ll want to see during your spring visit.

12. Yellow Saraca, Saraca chinensis

Indigenous to India, Burma and Malaya, this tree is known for its profusion of rich yellow clusters of numerous long-tubed flowers which each open out into four oval lobes. According to legend, the founder of Buddhism, Sakyamuni, was born under this tree and as such is worshipped by Buddhists. Hindus revere it as the symbol of love. Both Buddhists and Hindus use the blossoms or religious offerings. The Red Saraca, Saraca declinata, is equally showy. 
*Look for this small flowering tree across from the Bear Exhibit.

11. Weeping Bottlebrush, Callistemon viminalis

This distinctive tropical plant is named for its bright red weeping flower spikes that are reminiscent of a brush used to wash bottles. Native to New South Wales and Western Australia  the bottlebrush is a common plant often sold as a shrub but can grow as a tree up to 25 feet in height. 
*You can find specimens of this small tree along the tram trail next across from the Wray Home.

10. Flowering Pandanus, Freycinetia cumingiana   

This flowering shrub is native to rainforests in the Philippine Islands. It typically grows to 3’ tall as a scrambling shrub when unsupported but may grow to 7’ tall or more as a vine when its woody stems are able to attach to and climb upon adjacent upright structures. Its unusual flowers are used in the cut flower market.  
*Located west of the bridge in the Arboretum near the Reflection Pond. 

9. Narrow-leaved Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia juncea

Similar to the common Bird of Paradise commonly found in gardens and florist shops throughout Florida, this variety does not have a broad leaf, but has rush-like cylindrical leaves instead. Like its more common counterpart, the Narrow-leaved Bird of Paradise is also native to South Africa and is threatened in its native habitat of South Africa due to quarrying and illegal collecting in the horticultural trade. 
*This unusual species of Bird of Paradise can be found in the center of the cycad garden.

8. Flame of the Forest, Butea monosperma

This flowering tree is native to India and Southeastern Asia. The large beak-shaped red-orange flowers appear in spring and give rise to its other common name Parrot Tree
. In Sanskrit, the flower is extensively used as a symbol for the arrival of spring and the color of love. In Theravada Buddhism, it is said to have been used as the tree to achieve enlightenment, or Bodhi, by Buddha. *Located in our Flowering Tree Garden behind the Bear Exhibit and across from the Wedding Gazebo.

7. Mother of Cocoa, Gliricidia sepium

A native of Mexico and Central America, this tropical tree was used to shade plantation crops such as cocoa and thus given its common name Mother of Cocoa. The flowers are located on the end of branches that have no leaves. These flowers have a bright pink to lilac color that is tinged with white. A pale-yellow spot is usually at the flower's base. The tree is used extensively in Africa now to stabilize soils against acidification and as forage for cattle, sheep and goats. 
*Located in our Flowering Tree Garden behind the Bear Exhibit.

6. Ice Blue Calathea,  Calathea burle-marxii

Native to southeastern Brazil
 and named in honor of Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, this calathea has frilly pinecone-shaped flowers below the leaves at the stem tips. The small, white and pale purple tubular flowers are nestled between the pale blue or white floral bracts on the inflorescences. The inflorescences are very long-lasting, but each individual flower only lasts for a day. 
*Look for this gem at the end of the boardwalk from the Gift Shop.  Look low, it hides!

5. Indian Clock Vine, Thunbergia mysorensis

This woody tropical vine is native to India where it is also known as Brick and Butter vine. It is also known as lady slipper vine due to t
he dramatic and very large pendent hanging blossoms which have individual yellow and maroon flowers in a bold curved shape resembling a slipper. Although uncommon in the wild, it is a popular cultivar in gardens due to its showy flowers. 
*You can find this vine growing on the trellis in the Butterfly Garden, in front of the Tram Station.

4. Pink Shaving Brush Tree, Pseudobombax ellipticum

This deciduous tropical flowering tree from Mexico produces large hot pink flowers in the springtime which resemble a shaving brush. It usually has no leaves at the time of bloom which serves to show off the large and striking flowers. Although not threatened nor endangered, it is one of the strangest looking blooms on a flowering tree. 
*Located in our Cycad Garden -you can easily see it from the tram.


3. Panama Flame Tree, Brownea macrophylla

This tropical tree is native to central-south America, particularly to the humid thick forests of Colombia and Venezuela. It produces bright flowers on its branches that are loved by pollinators especially hummingbirds. The species is rare in the wild these days but is a popular ornamental tree due to its showy flowers. 
*Located in our Bromeliad Garden.

2. Jade Vine, Strongylodon macrobotrys

Jade vine is a perennial woody vine native to the Philippines rainforests where it will commonly grow 30-50 feet up tall trees in search of sun. Jade vine is particularly noted for its unique jade colored claw-shaped flowers which bloom in huge, showy, panicles that droop up to 40” long. Almost extinct in the wild due to deforestation, jade vine survives in cultivation in numerous nurseries and gardens across the globe. 
*Located on the trellis in our Fern Garden.

1. Orchids, Orchidaceae

Okay, we’re cheating just a bit.
Orchidaceae are a diverse and one of the largest families of flowering plants. Orchidaceae have about 28,000 currently accepted species, distributed in about 763 generaWe can’t possibly name just one favorite orchid in bloom as there are so many at Flamingo Gardens. You’ll just have to wander around and choose your own favorite from the hundreds in bloom! *Look up!  You will find orchids in a great many places throughout Flamingo Gardens. 

Photos by Lorenzo Cassina.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Floyd L Wray: A Man for Port Everglades

Floyd L. Wray: A Man for Port Everglades
 A Story of the Beginnings of Port Everglades from the
Flamingo Gardens Archives

Floyd Wray is known for growing citrus and founding Flamingo Groves, but few people know that Wray was elected one of the first commissioners of Port Everglades in 1931.  He was an unwavering force in transforming Bay Mabel Harbor into a major international facility at Port Everglades in five short years.  Wray was reelected by a landslide for the following term, but the election results were disputed and political upheaval tied up the port for close to six months until June 1935. Ultimately Wray never served a second term, despite his tremendous contributions to Port Everglades.
Floyd L. Wray 1931

Friday, June 9, 2017

Eye-witness Account of the Great Hurricane of 1926

The Great Hurricane of 1926
with a riveting eye-witness account and photos from the
 Flamingo Gardens Archives

Hurricanes are always in the news this time of year, reminding us of Hurricane Andrew’s anniversary and the need to be prepared.  There is a long history of hurricanes in South Florida, but the Great Hurricane of 1926 stands out from all others.

The disastrous Hurricane of 1926 had a profound effect on South Florida and its residents, including Flamingo Gardens' founders, Floyd L. and Jane Wray.
Hollywood, Florida, September 20, 1926
The Wrays were living in Florida for less than a year.  He was selling real estate in Hollywood.  They weathered the storm with friend D.L. Gregory who wrote the riveting eye-witness account that follows.  It describes what they were doing before, their efforts to fight the storm, and the aftermath. When the storm subsided, there were 30 sleeping in the house including neighbors whose homes were destroyed.  

As bad as it was, up north the destruction was greatly exaggerated.  The New York Times reported a thousand dead and "scores of towns razed or flooded."  A Philadelphia newspaper ran a headline: "Southeastern Florida Wiped Out."  

Wray knew there would be no real estate business for a long time to come. The storm led him to a new career in citrus.  By 1927, he had established Flamingo Groves, which was to become the Flamingo Gardens we cherish today.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

90th Anniversary Celebration

2017 is the 90th Anniversary of Flamingo Groves, the forerunner of Flamingo Gardens. The founders, Floyd L. and Jane Wray, moved to Florida in 1925.  They were thrilled with their new home and the beauty of South Florida.  He had a good job selling property in Hollywood-by-the-Sea.
Wray, Hollywood Florida

Then came 1926.  It was not a good year for South Florida or the Wrays. The real estate boom was ending, and on September 19, a devastating hurricane made landfall.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

From the desk of MC Flamingo… My Aunt Phyllis is a talker.

From the desk of MC Flamingo…
My Aunt Phyllis is a talker.  She’s the talkingest Flamingo in our entire flamboyance , to use the proper jargon.  How talking is she?  
  • They say if you crossed Aunt Phyllis the flamingo with a centipede, you’d get a Walkie-Talkie.  
  • They also say if you crossed Aunt Phyllis with a shark, you’d have a bird that would talk your head off.
  • They say Aunt Phyllis’ favorite game is Hide and Speak.
Needless to say, she loves her cell phone.  I remember once she was at the doctor’s office to talk about 

Friday, August 19, 2016

August Musings of MC Flamingo…

Back when I was still in Flamingo chick school, my 3 favorite months were June, July, and August.  Summer vacation is something everyone loves, right?  When it comes to travel, the birds at Flamingo Gardens spend our summers right here at home, but I hear a lot of birds visit the Canary Islands.  Sharks, of course, enjoy Finland.  And goldfish go ‘round (and ‘round) the globe. ba-dup-bump!
I’ve always thought of August as being like the Sunday of summer, because:

1. You can be lazy if you want… just ask Anne Marie, our newest Florida Panther
photo by Laura Wyatt