Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Orchid Fever


I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Fancy Pants. His official name is “Psy. Mariposa Oncidium ‘Green Valley,’” but Mr. Fancy Pants rolls off the tongue a bit better. I wish I could take credit for his nickname, but my friend Barb, who is responsible for my obsession hobby of orchid-keeping, came up with this moniker. We think he looks like a flamenco dancer—can you see his little head, ruffled shirt and fancy pants?

Barb helped me choose my first two orchids. I purchased several more on my own, and each time after they finished blooming, for at least two years I waited in vain for another blossom. During that time, a couple of the new purchases went to the big greenhouse in the sky (and imagine what that looks like!). I swore to myself until one of my purchases bloomed for a second time, I wasn’t going to buy any more. In the meantime, I did a little research on orchids, and decided mine might do better on our lanai—perhaps our house was too dry/cool/had the wrong type of sunlight. Barb’s orchids, which she keeps inside, bloom their hearts out constantly. Indoors, mine were sad little ghosts of themselves, even when I put them near the window in our steamy bathroom.

So I dutifully moved them outside. And lo and behold, in the fullness of time, a flower stem appeared, first on one and then another! Well. That was it. I began looking for orchids that were “different”—I bought a scented orchid (Oncidium Sherry Baby) and one that lives attached to a piece of wood—“Epi Timezepe Belle x Epi Tampensis x Epi Memorale” says the tag. Whatever that means. I infected my husband with orchid fever, and now he wants us to have enough plants so that we always have one blooming.


We now have 12 orchids. Four including Fancy Pants are blooming right now, and three more have buds that haven’t yet opened. I am no orchid expert—in fact mine seem to thrive on benign neglect. I’ve had a couple more casualties since that first rebloom, but overall our little orchid colony is thriving.


So far I have a mild case of orchid fever. I haven’t traipsed through a swamp in search of a rare variety or illegally picked any in the wild. I don’t have a greenhouse filled with thousands of plants—and I don’t want one. I don’t want to become an expert or spend untold hours and money to amass a huge collection. My orchids are a simple pleasure and a way to add beauty to our surroundings. And that's enough.


For more information on orchids, visit the American Orchid Society at http://www.aos.org/.

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12 comments:

Laure Ferlita said...

I learned something new about you today, my friend! My mother is an orchid "collector" as well. You have some gorgeous blooms.

She goes to a really neat orchid house somewhere over in Plant City. Let me know if you would like the info!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Thanks, Laure. I'm not sure I want more orchids (I'm not sure I want to be any more obsessed), but I know my friend would be interested in the info.

Meredith said...

Oh, I'm impressed, Kathy! I am terrible with indoor plants, and orchids are no exception. An ex of mine used to water his orchids with the watered-down dregs in his coffee pot, and they bloomed like crazy all over his house -- but when I tried that, my one poor little orchid just shriveled up and died. ;)

Congratulations on recognizing and adjusting to your plants' needs, even if they thrive on benign neglect!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

They'd probably be dead if they didn't! I still have the tendency to overwater, but I'm getting better. They don't like their little feet wet, I guess. Also, I kill things indoors, too. We have had several plants inside that have looked terrible until I moved them outside, where they suddently thrive.

Scrappy Cat said...

My goodness your orchids are beautiful Kathy. The only plants I can keep alive are my african violets, and they haven't bloomed in quite some time. DH is the plant person in my household.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Thanks, Cheryl. I can only really take credit for the pink one--I've had it several years. The others are fairly new and I purchased them in bloom.

Krista said...

I so admire people who garden and are botanically minded. I have a black thumb - please don't ask me to take care of your plants or garden while you are on vacation - no matter how diligent I am, it will be dead when you return. This is from the girl who plants silk flowers in the flower pots on the front porch.

This was a great post, Kathy. I loved learning about orchids. Not knowing anything about flowers, I had no idea there was so much to know about orchids.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Silk flowers are lovely, and never need watering!

Elizabeth Patch said...

your orchids are so gorgeous! I am a gardener myself, and appreciate the skill it takes to grow such amazing plants. Truly a way to "catch happiness"!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Thank you, Elizabeth! Plants and flowers do add so much happiness to my life.

silk orchids said...

Your orchids look adorable! they are really beautiful!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Thanks! I really enjoy tending them and watching for new blooms.