Orchids - A Brief History, Photos and Information
Brief History of Orchids
Orchids are such amazing flowers. They are like little works of art, contained in a single flower. The more I see and learn, the more I love orchids.
It surprised me to find out that orchids are actually very adaptable plants on the planet! I always thought they were incredibly hard to grow, that it was a struggle to get them to survive even for the people with the "greenest of thumbs." Well, I am not sure where I picked up that idea, but its not necessarily true at all.
Did you know that orchids are one of the most dispersed plants on our planet? You can literally find them at the North Pole and the South Pole, and many places in between. Again, I had no idea about this amazing fact.
I have been told that depending on who is doing the counting, that there are 800 to 1,400 different genera of orchids. If you think that is impressive, then you will really be impressed with the fact that there are between 17,500 to 35,000 species of orchids, not to mention hybrids! So for people that come love and grow orchids, there is so much to continue to learn and find out about them.
While orchids have been around for a very long time, it wasn't until the 1850's or so, that they began to really make a mark in the western world. Some may have heard of the Wardian Case, which is a wood and glass enclosure, kind of like a mini greenhouse. It is portable, and it just so happens that orchids and the Wardian greenhouse made their appearance around the same time. One thing these Wardian greenhouses helped with is transportation. These orchids had to travel from far away lands. Some were tropical, some were subtropical, and depending on the orchids destination and the traveling conditions and changes along the way, the Wardian Greenhouse made a huge impact.
To obtain such exotic flowers long ago, and knowing all they had to go through, one can see why they were so expensive. This made them accessible mostly by the wealthy. The average citizen didn't have as much possibility of owning such a plant. Luckily, time have changed in this regard and are still changing.
There was an American Orchid Society that formed on April 7, 1921 in Massachusetts. It was formed in the treasurer's room of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Boston. Two world wars later, orchids began to be acquired by more and more people. It makes sense that during times of war, orchids aren't going to be at the top of the list for people to be interested in or purchasing. It was at this time, that the class distinctions started to fall away. More than ever, more gardeners began to grow their own orchids. While they are still more expensive than many other flowers their size, they are much more affordable now, for all.
Orchids in my family
As of now, only two people have owned orchids in my family that I know of for sure. That is my Dad, who passed away this last year, and my Step Dad who had a beautiful one for a long time before he had to move. I purchased the one for my dad as a gift. I wanted to give him some flowers, and I saw orchids for sale at Trader Joe's in California. What shocked me was the price! Totally affordable! It was simply beautiful, and made me as happy as it made him I think!
My Step Dad had one also, but I am not sure how he acquired it. The thing is, he learned a lot about the orchid, and grew it "just so" to make sure it survived and thrived This was where I learned the most about growing orchids. It was through that little experience that I wanted to get one of my own.
Before long, I will take the plunge and get an orchid. I almost have a couple of times, but I wanted to learn more about growing them first.