By Nancy Chuda founder and Editor-in-Chief of LuxEcoLiving and co-founder of Healthy Child Healthy World


I’ve been fascinated by the long lasting power of orchids. I’ve had some (first blooms) last for nearly six months. They don’t require much care. Light, water, orchid food, and music. Beethoven’s 6th the Pastoral Symphony to be exact.

Recently, I had a chance to jump on the California Orchid Trail which I highly recommend visiting for any occasion. Orchids, especially the Phalaenopsis, or Moth Orchid is literally America’s favorite. Totally indispensable in terms of beauty, ease of care, and sustainability.

My first stop was Westerlay Orchids. I met the Joop Overgaag one of the biggest producers of orchids in the United States. He took us on a tour and introduced us to one of the largest, sustainably built greenhouses in the business.

Toine Overgaag and his father Joop founder of Westerlay Orchids

Westerlay-Intro ShotTo build the greenhouses, Joop Overgaag used piping from disassembled oil pipes, giving the structures a sturdy frame that has easily lasted 25 years “and will last another 25,” his son said, noting that other greenhouses built at the same time have worn out and been torn down.

It all starts from seed and is cultivated in a small container in the greenhouse on a conveyor system that automatically rotates the plants to the proper light and irrigation to maximize its growth and full potential.

Mr. Westerlay seed shot

Westerlay orchids are some of the finest in the world. Their blooms are guaranteed to  last.

Westerlay Orchids

Orchid Trail Westerlay
Courtesy of Westerlay Orchids Carpenteria California








If you love unique colors, this deep purple orchid is just gorgeous. In the light, it picks up hues of red and violet.

Westerlay-Bedroom Purple
A trip to India inspired me to compliment my bedroom interior with this splendid specimen from Westerlay Orchids.

Next on the Orchid Trail is Cal-Orchid. Located in Santa Barbara, you will see some very rare and unique specimens. Lauris Rose and her husband James got the bug in the early 1970’s. They began their careers in the commercial realm and purchased their own nursery in 1987, which I might add is a peaceful refuge filled with glorious light and color… the true colors of orchids grown and sought after by collectors throughout the world. An opportunity to meet Lauris Rose is life changing. She is one of the most educated people in her field. The Roses have always been active in the orchid world, traveling for shows, sales, or lecturing.

Lauris Rose explained that the Lycaste Nagai is derived from Japan and is a very sought after specimen


Lauris and James Rose are two of the most knowledgeable orchid collectors in their field. Between them, they have 80 years of experience

Cal-Orchid is not to be missed!

Blue is the new Green


You might have noticed a few new colors on the market. Especially if you shop at Trader Joes. Their is a new product line for phalaneopsis orchids that have been injected with dye. The plant blooms in rich, intense color for the first blooming cycle, then turns back to its native white over the next cycles. Originally introduced only in electric blue, the orchids now come in blue, lilac and Green. I asked Mr. Overgaag what makes these not so naturally induced colors desirable. He said, “The blue orchids introduce a ‘cool factor and open the market to new customers.” The green orchids could be huge favorites also.” It’s part of the Gemstone Collection which stems from a patented technology that belongs to a firm in the Netherlands, which Westerlay Orchids represented in Western states.

But the real green message is not in the color but the fact that orchids have thick leaves and few natural enemies.

Editor’s Notes:

Roses have always been favored especially for Valentine’s Day. Consider sharing a longer lasting gift, one that you can truly treasure for months at a time.

No more stinky rose water







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