Orchids forum: Our Orchid Tour with Ecuagenera, Ecuador July 2. to July 15. 2013

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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 19, 2013 6:33 PM CST

Moderator

Day 8 Archidona to Puyo and sleeping at "Donde Ivan" in Banos
This day held a really nice surprise for us. We knew we might see Phragmipedium pearcei today! We rented a boat and drove to the other side of the river. We figured we take a walk at the other side, explore the vegetation there and hopefully this Phrag would be amongst the Orchids/plants there. No, we simply drove to the other side and were greeted by a WHOLE EMBANKMENT full of Phrag pearcei, wow!! Lovey dubby Thumbs up
Then we drove the boat back. This embankment floods every so often and the Orchids are totally submerged. Amazing that they thrive like that.
I took a lot of pictures here, unfortunately the rain and a very wiggly boat with a running motor were not helping to get a sharp focus on things. Hopefully you get the idea.
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This closeup of Phrag pearcei was taken at a later time
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[Last edited by Ursula - Jul 19, 2013 7:43 PM (+)]
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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 19, 2013 7:19 PM CST

Moderator

Day 8 continued
We saw lots more Orchids, the pictures were mostly taken under an umbrella, but slowly the rain subsided to a mild drizzle.
Maxillaria encyclioides
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Stelis embrei
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Pleurothallis lanceana
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Ornithocephalum
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Maxillaria camaridii
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Delicious grilled lunch while it poured buckets outside
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Prostechea vespa
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Pleurothallis omoglossa
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Maxillaria brunnea
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It IS a RAINforest after all.... Smiling
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Maxillaria ecuadorensis yellow
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Maxillaria guadulupensis, I was astonished at the sheer numbers of Maxillaria species. We were joking that if you don't know what is it, it is probably a Maxillaria. Rolling on the floor laughing
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Pleurothallis sphaerantha
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Pleurothallis sp
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Stelis maxima
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Stelis
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Oncidium trichostatum
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Myoxanthus affinis
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And again the most interesting Phrag lindenii, the Phrag without pouch
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Standing in Stelis maxima, just about. Look at the density of Orchids at this location
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Xylobium leontoglossum, a huge plant
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View from the hotel room at Donde Ivan
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Ecuagenera also grows the most beautiful Cymbidium hybrids ( and Phals) for sale at their stores in Ecuador. The climate is perfect for these Cymbidiums ( temp range between 45 and 85 degr F) and they do display just beautifully. At the Donde Ivan's roof garden we saw a few beautiful plants which were totally exposed to the elements, including LOTS of RAIN! They certainly did not object. ( Kathy, are you reading this?)
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Oh btw we dried our sneakers at the back of the refrigerator, as suggested by Ivan. Smiling I could have used a small hair dryer here. But this worked too.
[Last edited by Ursula - Jul 20, 2013 6:35 AM (+)]
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Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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boojum
Jul 19, 2013 8:02 PM CST
Yes I am!
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 20, 2013 6:29 AM CST

Moderator

Kathy,
we were amazed to see Cymbidiums kept here without any protection under the direct sun of the equator and in addition to that exposed to the daily downpours of a ( cool) rainforest climate. I asked about the medium they are kept in, and it is freely draining with pumice and large chunks of coconut fiber and some other stuff.
I was immediately reminded of you and your love for these plants! Smiling Thought that might be of interest to you.
[Last edited by Ursula - Jul 22, 2013 11:20 AM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 20, 2013 9:05 AM CST
This sure shows how adaptable these plants are, given a little help.

Really enjoying the tour, Ursula. I tip my hat to you.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 20, 2013 9:38 AM CST

Moderator

Day 9 exploring the area around Banos - this was another wonderful highlight of the tour.
We had never encountered any place anywhere which held such a density and variety of Orchids. There were whole slopes and embankments filled with Stelis and Pleurothallis and Epidendrums and Sobralias at every turn of the road. Mind blowing!! One might call these the wildflowers of that region! Orchids might have been the dominant plants here.
And then there is of course the ever knowledgeable Gilberto Merino, who just smells the location of a special Orchid. Many times we just happily drove along and enjoyed the breathtaking vistas, saw him scanning the side of the roads, stopping the car, looking at a special growth, moving some leaves aside and there was the big fat Orchid bloom right underneath for us to marvel over. Amazing is an understatement.
I switched a few times to a telephoto-lens and tried my best to capture the many blooms and habitats higher up on steep slopes, but there are simply limits to my ability. You must see it for yourself in person!! Smiling Smiling
Ok off to a busy day!
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Sobralias and Elleanthus
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Epidendrum agoyanense
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Pleurothallis carduela
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Stelis embrei
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Pretty Maxillaria sp
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Stelis sp
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Beautiful Prosthechea crassilabia, so high up on the mountain that I chickened out climbing up there. I would have had to slide down on my backside....Gilberto took my camera up and handed me a fallen off bloom to see.
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Lycaste fimbriata also really way up there, but the camera was able to catch a glimpse
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Sobralia virginalis
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Looking down at the city
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Pleurothallis taurus
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Epidendrum sp
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Epidendrum compressum
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Sarcoglottis sp
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Maxillaria ponerantha
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Lycaste fragrans
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Elleanthus oliganthus
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Ponthieva sp
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Bulbophyllum steyermarkii
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Epidendrum sp
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Pleurothallis lindenii
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Epidendrum sp
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Maxillaria calantha
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Visiting a weather station and trying to see a volcano amidst the dense fog, The fellow manning the station was kind enough to brew us a nice cup of tea of a local herb.
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Cranichis sp
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Epidendrum bractiacrumenatum black
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Altesteinia fimbriata
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Pleurothallis sp
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Stelis superbiens
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Epidendrum lehmannii
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more Phrag lindenii
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Epidendrum agoyanense again
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Maxillaria ponerantha
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Cryptocentrum sp
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No, we were not going Bungee jumping off this high bridge.... Rolling my eyes. Smiling
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[Last edited by Ursula - Jul 20, 2013 9:41 AM (+)]
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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 20, 2013 9:46 AM CST

Moderator

Thanks so much Elaine!
And yes, Cymbidiums are adoptable creatures, aren't they?

The next installment will be another busy day around Banos and Puyo, then we start to approach Ecuagenera, the nursery. And seeing Phragmipedium besseae in its habitat....
Stay tuned.
Name: Linda Wald
Emmett Idaho (near Boise) (Zone 7a)
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LindaW
Jul 20, 2013 10:37 AM CST
Wow, I just looked at all your amazing pictures.

Thank you so much for sharing. I see orchids growing in the wild that I struggle to grow. I pamper, mist, fertilize and baby. lol
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 20, 2013 11:46 AM CST

Moderator

I thank you, Linda! Smiling Glad you are enjoying the tour with us.
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 20, 2013 1:21 PM CST

Moderator

Day 10
We drove from Banos to Puyo and then stayed overnight at the Manzana Real in Macas.
On the way we stopped at Omar Tello and his Botanical Garden. Ca 30 years ago Omar "re-started" the forest by taking a piece of pasture, keeping the Cows out of it and planting trees ( lots of beautiful Palms too), Orchids, Bromeliads, lots of terrestrials . His pictorial documentation of the gradual return of the ( almost) original vegetation and wildlife was most interesting.
We took a nice and easy walk through his garden. Jim, take a look at these palms, you would have totally loved it, we are sure.
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Pleurothallis mathildae
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fascinating root growth to stabilize this Palm (Socratea exorrhiza)
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Xylobium sp
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Sievekingia suavis
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Lycomormium fiskei
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Arundina
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Platystele johnstonii
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Rudolfiella saxicola
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Lepanthes sp
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Odontoglossum harryanum
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Prosthechea fragrans
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Maxillaria rufescens
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Scaphosepalum rapax
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Brassia arcuigera
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Oncidium macasense
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And Omar also grows some beautiful Anthuriums to sell.
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Warrea warreana
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[Last edited by Ursula - Jul 20, 2013 1:24 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 20, 2013 3:17 PM CST
Astonishing! I love the 'chorus line' of Brassias, they look like the Orchid Rockettes. Are those Arundina plants really like 8ft tall?

I guess being on the Equator, the climate is very steady and they never stop growing. Here most orchids sure do slow down in winter.

Do you think, maybe it's actually warmer in spring and fall when the sun is right overhead?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 20, 2013 5:02 PM CST

Moderator

Yes, this Arundina was indeed that huge, I needed Klaus as size comparison here. Smiling A beautiful healthy bush!

Looking at the climate in Ecuador, after spending only 13 days there, I am certainly no expert on their local climate! Having said that, this is what I learned:
they have 4 climate zones -
Andean Highlands, average temp ca 64 degr F, supposedly the heaviest rainfall is in April
Amazon region average temp from 72 - 80 degr F, rainy
the coastal climate is a bit warmer averaging 76 to 90 degr F, rainy season December to May
(in addition to the climate of the Galapagos islands),
We could start out with a Polartec, then being comfortable in a short sleeve shirt, only to look for a warm sweater when the clouds rolled in and it started to rain.
When we had booked the trip somewhere in May, I started to track the daily temperature of Quito and Guayaquil. Quito seemed always in the 48 - 70ish range, Guayaquil running 65ish to low 80 F, just a bit warmer.
But, the rain varies and many times the weather seemed to change 5 times during the course of the day.

I don't think it is actually warmer there in Spring and Fall, since it is right on the Equator. The vegetation seemed more influenced by the amount of rain and the altitude.
[Last edited by Ursula - Jul 21, 2013 7:38 AM (+)]
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Name: Janice
Cape Cod, MA, USA (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums Tip Photographer
Daylilies Roses Orchids Miniature Gardening Lilies Irises
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sandnsea2
Jul 20, 2013 5:15 PM CST
Ursula, what a fantastic adventure!! Hurray!

Stunning photos and I am totally enchanted by the place! Lovey dubby
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 20, 2013 5:40 PM CST

Moderator

And more on the drive towards Macas -
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Lunch - I loved the different ways of preparing Trout, this one was again delicious
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Sobralia rosea
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Cranichis fertilis
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Stelis
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Pleurothallis ruscifolia
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Sobralia fimbriata
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Sobralia virginalis
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Dryadella crassicaudata
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Sobralia rosea
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Stelis argentata
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Pleurothallis cordata
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Stelis argentata white
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Vanilla
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Maxillaria
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Teuscheria dodsonii
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Pleurothallis lindenii
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Notylia aromatica
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another Stelis argentata
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Elleanthus myrosmatis
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another Elleanthus in bud
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Pleurothallis niveaglobula
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Lepanthes hirtzii
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don't disturb!! I ducked carefully under it.
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Trichosalpix sp
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Dinner in town at a Chinese restaurant, very good and nicely spiced.
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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 20, 2013 5:41 PM CST

Moderator

Thanks Janice!! You need to put one of the Ecuagenera tours on your bucket list! Smiling
[Last edited by Ursula - Jul 20, 2013 5:45 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #452644 (15)
Name: Janice
Cape Cod, MA, USA (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums Tip Photographer
Daylilies Roses Orchids Miniature Gardening Lilies Irises
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sandnsea2
Jul 20, 2013 5:47 PM CST
Thumbs up definitely, Ursula! nodding
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jul 20, 2013 6:31 PM CST

Moderator

Day 11 and we had a long ride to Gualaceo (Ecuagenera), filled with gorgeous scenery and interesting people and here we saw Phragmipedium reticulatum and the very showy red Phragmipedium besseae.
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Phragmipedium reticulatum growing on this large slope right on the highway. The hill was full of healthy and strong plants and the Phrag bloom were gorgeous and showy.
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And here is the Phragmipedium besseae hill! These slopes are just dripping with water and small waterfalls. Bessea plants were actually continually bathed in water. It was so wet we saw a crab walking on the bottom of the slope.
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another Phrag reticulatum next to the besseae plants
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road constructions
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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
Image
Ursula
Jul 20, 2013 7:10 PM CST

Moderator

Day 12 Ecuagenera with its ca 30 greenhouses in gorgeous surroundings! We slept at the very comfortable guesthouse and were invited to take our meals with Jose/Pepe and wife Ingrid Portilla and their family in their beautiful home.
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Here is a glimpse of the well managed greenhouses, we saw just a few, to tour all would take a long time.
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What a wonderful place and we will have to say good bye on day 13.



Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
Image
Ursula
Jul 20, 2013 7:48 PM CST

Moderator

Day 13- we took a parting look at the beautiful city of nearby Cuenca and then we drove to Guayaquil. The next morning we took the 6 am flight home.
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and it is always nice to look at a few more Orchids! Smiling and other fun stuff along the way.
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We encountered a lot of fog along the way at high altitude and these girls played a game of Soccer right in it. Lunch? Klaus was ready to stay a while and watch the game.
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The End!

I hope you enjoyed my report, we certainly loved our trip and perhaps you might like to visit Ecuador yourself one of these days. It is indeed an Orchid lover's paradise aside from being a beautiful, very clean country with interesting people and without abject poverty. We had no problem eating and drinking local food and water.
A big thanks to Gilberto Merino and the gracious Portillo family.
[Last edited by Ursula - Jul 21, 2013 6:15 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #452699 (19)
Name: Janice
Cape Cod, MA, USA (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums Tip Photographer
Daylilies Roses Orchids Miniature Gardening Lilies Irises
Image
sandnsea2
Jul 21, 2013 12:50 PM CST
Ursula, what a trip!

And thanks so much for sharing all these magnificent photos.

Everytime I open up one of them, I notice something new and more fascinating!!

And to see the natural habitat of our beloved orchids is beyond the beyond!!! Lovey dubby

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