Let There Be Orchids!
We Love Orchids!
If you just love orchids, and can't get enough of them, why not grow some yourself? My husband does. He just loves them - and so do I!
Our kitchen counters are often loaded with about 20 of them in bloom, and the pungent, but delicate, exotic aroma of the orchids perfumes the entire house. Forget hiring an interior decorator; grow some orchids! You will have the best "interior decorations" - beauty by the hand of God.
You may not know it, but orchids are one of the most incredible flowers, and they don't all look like "corsage orchids", either! He grows orchids that look like little men, and orchids that look like butterflies, and orchids that have "beards", and orchids with spots, and orchids with faces, and orchids that look like little angels, and orchids that look like fairies, and orchids that look like Darth Vader, and orchids that have frills, and orchids with skirts, and orchids that are so small - you could fit ten of the flowers on a US quarter, and orchids so large that one could cover most of a dinner plate, and orchids that move, and orchids that spit - yes, they do!
Sorry - I am really sorry, but you cannot get the "Orchid Tour"!
The Spitting Orchid
This orchid really spits!
These lovely yellow blooms are from a Catesetum orchid. It is designed to "spit" its seeds or spores, or whatever the correct name is, to insure that lots of baby Catesetums will be "born". This one spit on our hands, the kitchen counters, and on our clothing. The "glue" that the orchid uses is better than epoxy, or at least it seems like it to us, because it is extremely hard to remove from any surface where it happens to land.
The first time I saw the Catesetum "spit", I thought I was seeing things. Little critters just LOVE to hide in the orchid mix; used to secure the orchid in its pot. So...I am always looking for what I saw out of the corner of my eye. I looked and looked, but didn't see any insects. All I could find was a tiny, odd-looking object on the counter, several inches from the orchid. Well, after a bit of investigation, and asking my husband, I found out, that this is how they propagate themselves.
It is REALLY interesting to see it in action; if you are in the vicinity, you can actually hear the "spitting". A moment of searching usually finds what was "spit", securely "glued" to a nearby surface. Occasionally, it was glued on...us!
Coming Unhinged Orchid
I almost jumped out of my skin!
The Bulbophyllums are just some of the most unusual, and scary orchids, ever. I will never forget the day I was photographing one for the first time. I had the orchid held up in the air, so I could get the proper lighting on it, and had my camera set on Micro, so I could get the details, and...the "tongue" flipped down - fast!
I just about "jumped out of my skin"! Hollering for my husband, I said "This thing just MOVED!". He had no idea what I was referring to, so I took the orchid over to him, and showed him. He just started laughing, and told me that they're SUPPOSED to...the tongue is on a "hinge", just like a hinge on a box, or the figure eight safety on a bracelet, or the hinge on a door. I was AMAZED! I still AM amazed...that is just incredible!
To add to the interesting properties of the Bulbopyllum, some of them look like little "aliens", so when that tongue flipped down, the psychological effect it had on me, was just ridiculous. This one, in particular, looks like it has legs and arms, and a head. Really, it does! Take a good look at that tongue, and how large it is, in proportion to the entire flower. The "flipping tongue" scared me, but it is just perfect. I just wish I had been warned, so I knew it was coming, but - no such luck!
Now, I am prepared for the Bulbophyllum's antics, and I must say, they have "grown on me", and now - they are my favorites!
He Thinks He's An Aristocrat!
What an attitude!
This handsome orchid really believes he is royalty; a genuine blue-blood. Just look at that long orchid nose! It comes in handy, for looking down on other people. We have tried to tell him that is not acceptable behavior, but he turns us a deaf petal!
When he blooms, we have to put him off by himself, so some of the baby orchids who are very sweet and shy, do not get their feelings hurt. We also don't want some of the timid ones to be afraid to open their tiny orchid lips and speak.
Occasionally, we have to call on the angel orchids, to explain the facts of orchid life to him. They tell him that every orchid starts out the same way, and there is no such thing as "orchid rank" or "orchid titles", but he swears he was born to the throne.
At least, he is not an active troublemaker, but he needs to adjust his attitude. Thankfully, he only blooms once in a while!
Be a Clown, be a Clown
Definitely NOT the tears of a clown...he's happy!
Now, really - don't the vibrant splashes of color remind you of a circus clown? That always what I think of, when this spectacular array of colors unfolds in this rather nondescript-looking orchid.
Judging merely by its leaves, you would never expect the neon colors that appear when it blooms. The leaves are firm and shiny, and the colors look like they were made by a neon or fluorescent marker. when this one blooms, it fairly screams - surprise!,
Little Baby Bunting
The little baby in swaddling clothes...
When you see this one from a distance, the center looks like a ghostly face. But, when you see it up close, this one looks like a little baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes. The petals that surround the center of the orchid, really make it look like there are little spotted, dotted scalloped shells, protecting a tender infant. This one is only about the size of a dime, and very sweet!
When this orchid blooms, there are lots of these "little baby faces" looking out at you, and it is reminiscent of some of the popular baby pictures we have seen recently, with the babies' heads in the center of flowers; clever idea.
Due to its size, this little orchid is extremely difficult to photograph clearly, but...you get the idea!
The Flying Nun Orchid
Here she comes, to save the day!
Here she comes - the Flying Nun!
Well, that's what this orchid looks like, as though it is in flight, about to arrive any moment to handle whatever problem she may encounter.
When seen "in person", this orchid is just one incredible flower!
Check out the "wings", the "hood", the "face" - does that not make you want to worship God, who created this beauty?
Read About Orchids on Amazon
Can you see why I say "Let There Be Orchids"?Click thumbnail to view full-size
They are ready for a night on the town
50 Bloom-Again Orchids
Well, picture him all in black...
I TOLD you one of them looked like Darth Vader! Well - doesn't he? Just the color is off. If it was BLACK, you'd think you had a whole lot of little Darth Vaders coming at you when it blooms!
Look at the "helmet". Is this a "Darth Vader" orchid, or what? I recognized the resemblance immediately.
He stands up ramrod-straight on the orchid stem, and is about 2 inches tall. The maroon coloration is extremely intense, and his petals are just about iridescent.
We always look forward to this orchid blooming, out of the thousands that my husband grows. Every single one is a statement in itself, and just when I think I have seen them all; another orchid blooms, and just "blows me away"!
Orchid Gallery of just a few of our beauties.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Did You Enjoy The Orchids?
Which one of them was your favorite?
300 Photos of Exotic Orchids on Amazon
Now, THIS author is a man after my own heart. The book is called "Understanding Orchids". Maybe it will help you understand yours, or pique your interest into growing them. We certainly own some strange ones, whose behavior I don't understand!
Understand Orchids? MAYBE...
Photo credits: All images portrayed here were photographed or created by the author - E. Tack
© 2010 Emily Tack