I woke up early Sunday morning with my heart racing. Christmas morning doesn't make my heart race anymore. No, Christmas morning makes me lie there in the dark thinking, "Do I have everything ready? Will the kids like their presents? Did I get enough for Bill? Did I remember everybody?"
But looking forward to going to an orchid show with Shila is entirely different. It's pure hedonism. The tableau above may not raise your pulse rate, but it does mine. They're all gorgeous, they're all healthy, and they're all FOR SALE.
I've noticed an evolution of my tastes as the orchid-collecting hook sinks deeper and deeper. At first, I'd only look at the genus Phalaenopsis, because I knew I could get them to bloom and thrive on my windowsills. These display plants bordered on ridiculous. The big pink one was a plant no bigger than some of mine, but I couldn't count the blossoms on it. Phalaenopsis are great plants. But there are many degrees of success where orchids are concerned. I think I'm doing well to get nine flowers to a spike. I wonder what they feed this thing?
Beyond Phalaenopsis, the rest of the orchids were scary and mysterious to me. But slowly, I branched out, to Doritaenopsis (an intergeneric cross between Phalaenopsis and Doritis), and those did fine. Dendrobiums bloomed freely for me. So I got a couple of tiny orchids in the Cattleya alliance. (Orchid freaks group a number of genera into loose alliances based on their ancestry, and this also gives us a clue how to care for them.) I remember when I bought my first miniature from the Cattleya alliance, I asked the vendor how to care for it. "Like a Cattleya," he replied, and Shila and I looked at each other, wondering, "Well, what does that mean?" We nodded knowingly, and then scurried away to laugh at ourselves. So we hit the books and found out that a Cattleya needs more light and less water than the orchids we were more familiar with.