Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Bud, Unfurling

My house is pregnant with promise. I brought only a select few of my houseplants with me when we moved, most of them orchids. Several of them have flower spikes now and I couldn't be happier. First, let's get the amaryllis out of the way:

We'll see what happens with it. It was one of those hybrid monsters with four giant blooms on one stem--one bloom for each of the directions. I have no idea if it will ever have the energy to do that again. It is a lovely peach color and I'd be happy with just one bloom in this grey time of year.

As with most of my plants, I got the amaryllis free from the Conservatory. It was one of the perks of working there--free plants to good homes if you were in the right place at the right time. I had some connections within the horticulture department, so I was able to score more than once (wink ; )
I learned about (and fell in love with) orchids while working at FPC. I had to learn about them since I was responsible for writing the signage for the annual orchid exhibition (going on NOW). As with so many things, the more I learned, the more I came to love them. Weird, rooty plants that look pretty much like crap when not in bloom, produce these curious flowers of complex design and hearty constitution. Everyone thinks that orchids are delicate, finicky plants that are hard to grow. But that is not so. If you understand their native growing conditions, even just a little bit, then you can grow them easily in your home. Some are more tricky than others, simply because most people don't have the humidity and light levels of the rainforest canopy in their homes. But others, like the phalaenopsis, oncidiums and paphiopedilums (slipper orchids) are forgiving, steady plants that will reward you with freakishly amazing blooms that last for months.
Thanks to my dear buddy Dave, the orchid specialist at FPC, I have this little phalaenopsis that produces a dark fuchsia bloom. There is the flower spike growing toward the light.
Here is a larger phal that I got after that first orchid exhibition. It is called "Kaleidoscope" and it has red veins on cream petals with a red lip at the center.
Wait until it blooms and I post a picture, you won't believe what those unassuming buds turn into.

And here is my slipper orchid--the only orchid of mine that I purchased outright--in bud.

Here it is unfurling....

And upright in all its bizarre, striped, dotted, hairy glory....

Who needs spring with this show going on?
(well, I do)

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