Monday, 2 June 2008

Orchid Paradise

My kitchen windowsill- for those of you who haven't seen it- has become populated by Orchids over the last year or so through what has been a growing passion for me (excuse the pun). I started off with a couple of Moth Orchids (Phalaenopsis) which are the ones that you can now get in almost every supermarket and petrol station from here until Timbuktu and they did really well. I had so much pleasure from looking at the flowers that I decided I might get one or two more, especially as how I had had to nurse one of my plants back to health and had seen it go from almost dead to being in full bloom over the course of a few months which was immensely satisfying. My parents have tons of Orchids so I asked them where I might get some more from seeing as how I didn't think the ones from Tescos where going to be of the best stock.
It turns out that my fears where unfounded and that these are perfectly legitimate sources of Orchids if you are happy with the limited selection on offer. I was given the very good advice of only buying the ones that where reduced as 99% of the time the only reason that they have been reduced is that the flowers have gone over. I very quickly discovered this to be true and have manged to get three more Orchids over the last year at stupidly discounted prices. I now have four Moth Orchids and one Jewel Orchid (a quick Google search has just reveled that these are primarily grown for their foliage rather than their flower- mine has velvety dark green leaves that are shot through with red veins and a spike of small white and yellow flowers so I obv. managed to get one of the good ones without realising).
I have now officially run out of windowsill! however I may have come up with a cunning plan to help alleviate the situation which is desperately needed seeing as how I might have accidentally visited Orchid Paradise in Devon at the weekend and purchased another plant.
I realised last night that keeping my Orchids has become more than a interesting hobby for me and that I would like to find out a bit more about the technical side of looking after and classifying them. I am not going to get carried away and get any that might be hard to look after as I just don't have the resources for it but it would be nice to have a little knowledge and go to a few of the Orchid shows. Some of the plants they have at Orchid Paradise are simply stunning and completely take your breath away. I hadn't seen such variety well, ever and had no idea that Orchids could be so diverse. There where two that we really wanted (and yes, I managed to get the husband to take an interest!) and I let the husband pick as I figured that which ever one we didn't get we could pick up in the future. The one I liked was the Spider Orchid which has long thin petals around the outer edge- hence the name (see picture). The other was a Dendrobium or cane Orchid which is a massive family of Orchids and as such finding a picture for y'all has proven to be too much for me. I shall have to take a happy snap of my one at home which isn't flowering at the moment but it will show you the odd fat stems that it has which is what sold it to us.
So yes, run out of space on the windowsill I have. But it turns out that Jewel Orchids prefer low light and high humidity and so do well in bathrooms which is where mine will be heading as soon as I get into the house this evening. I also have a massive double stemmed Moth Orchid that the husband bought me for my birthday which is too big for the windowsill. I think this one would look best in my lounge though I will have to keep an eye on it to see whether it is getting enough light. This should free up more than enough space for the new one though apparently you can keep these ones outside during the summer months if it is warm enough so it might make it out of doors if the weather stays nice. I think that we will only get one more Orchid (the Spider one above) after this- at least until we get a bigger house!

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