Friday, September 3, 2010

Ah, Orchids... such pure elegance-of-nature!

The birthday-gift orchid in our island house... a wonderful bloomer...
Orchids galore' in a Parisian restaurant James and I throughly enjoyed...

Orchids in Australia: a plant shop I pass by regularly when down-under...

"Each of us comes to orchids when we are ready, or is it the other way around?" So begins a wonderful book all about orchids published by Smith and Hawken a few years back. 100 Orchids for the American Gardener by Elvin McDonald has become one of my much-referred-to orchid tomes: this one which I picked up for next to nothing at our church's annual holiday bazaar.

I absolutely love orchids. From a very young age of espying them in the botanical gardens and around people's homes, I knew that one day I'd indulge in having a few of my own. After settling into our first cottage post-wedding, I promptly purchased my very first orchid, plunked it down into an oriental porcelain cache pot and placed it by a window which let in dappled sunlight. It thrived despite my neophyte blundering with when to water, how to fertilize and all that.

We took it along with us out to the mountains of Utah when we did our fun couple a' ski-bum years in Park City. It also thrived (along with a couple of other orchids) set to the side of the large picture window off of our tiny old miner's cottage's front porch. When our neighbor's dog ate it, I about got sick. That had been the BEST orchid- such a loss. For two years in a row out there in Utah, it had bloomed three times and never went into dormancy. I had given it to the neighbor to "watch" when I had to run back suddenly to SC to care give for my dying mother and it seemed that she didn't put it up high enough out of her dog's reach. I returned to Utah with losses all-around. James and I began packing up to go live in SC on this island near my father and it was strange to pack up the cachepot without this orchid in it.

Happily however, for my birthday one year a dear friend here gave me an orchid and this has equally thrived. It's the one pictured above... I have a few more now at this point and they are spread out between the island house and our in-town cottage.

Here's another couple of quotes from McDonald's book:

"Orchids began to make their mark on the western world around 1850. Because of the tremendous effort to acquire them, and their need for heated glasshouses in the winter, orchids were initially the sole province of the wealthy."

"What separates orchid culture from that of common houseplants, and even other exotics, is the treatment of their unusual roots and growing mediums."

And here's a fun poetic ditty regarding the sentimentality of orchids:

You never gave the orchids I sent a glance!

No, you prefer cactus plants.

This is a fine romance. - Dorothy Fields

And finally, a fascinating book about the orchid world is The Orchid Thief- A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean.

Orchids are indeed Preppy but they are also so easily enjoyable within every lifestyle out there...


  1. Hey you...just dropping a note to say hello! Hope you are well.

    ♥ V

  2. Hey V! :)

    Thx for the hello and I appreciate it so much...things are going great with work, home and life in general. Autumn always gets so busy schedule-wise and tonight I'm finally staying-in to hunker down in front of the tv and watch season two of "Life" drama show that a buddy of mine gave me. We have the same quirky tastes in tv and movies which is fun. K is doing great as well; such a regular on the island beach and dock now with James- a riot those two!

    Hope you are doing excellent too! I LOVE your blog and need to post more on it now that I finally have my own little laptop computer instead of having to share the one in our office.

    Happy Autumn from here! Love, Lachlan