ORCHIDS: First, The Exotic

Last week was the annual show of the Amherst Orchid Society (held here in Northampton, but no matter). Anyone owning a camera feels impelled to go to an orchid show, I think, and I’m no exception; although I’m always uncertain whether I think orchids are more a) exotic  b) beautiful or c) weird. The Amherst show was a surfeit of all three. I have so many photos I want to share with you that I’m dividing this post in three parts, beginning today with the exotic:

Here is one exhibit table, belonging to the Connecticut Orchid Society, bursting with exotic specimens and bristling with red, yellow and blue prize ribbons:

Going to a high school prom always used to mean orchids, at least in my day (perhaps it still does) and here is a cattleya, the traditional purple corsage orchid. To us then it was enormously exotic, but in this crowd at the Orchid Show, it was rather a plain Jane:

Here’s a spray of variegated pink phalaenopsis, known as “moth orchids,” but I always think of them as butterfly orchids. I don’t think that moths look quite like this!

And here’s a close-up of this exotic creature:

And finally, a spray of white orchids (variety unknown) that somehow look predatory to me. Tigers and leopards and panthers are all exotic and exquisite, but they do have a habit of pouncing and eating, and these orchids look equally capable of doing so, at least I think so!

Next post to come: The Beautiful —

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22 Responses to ORCHIDS: First, The Exotic

  1. 2e0mca says:

    Those look absolutely beautiful Judith. Kew gardens usually has an ecsellent display of orchids. And they also bring back memories of Sidney Poitier and Harvey Keitel in the classic Film ‘In the heat of the night’. Evocative shots for me 🙂

    Like

    • Touch2Touch says:

      I never saw the film (had to be good, with those two in it) so no resonances for me — but happy to set up some for you!
      Over this week I’ll be posting more of the orchids. There really is something fascinating about them, even about the weird ones.
      Thanks for visiting, Martin!

      Like

      • 2e0mca says:

        It’s a film that is well worth a watch Judith (if only for the excellent blues song of the same name by Quincy Jones). Set in ’50’s America it places a racist Police Officer and a black Detective in a situation where they have to work together. It must have been dynamite when it was originally released and even now it makes its point.

        The Orchids apear in a scene when they visit the local chief industrialist. Quite a confrontation which leaves Keitel unsure of how to react. There is a grudging friendship and solid professional relationship apparent between them at the end of the film. It is one of my favourites alongside Zulu, The Cruel Sea and The Third Man. Borrow it from the library and enjoy the frisson 😉

        I’ll look forward to your other Orchid shots 🙂

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        • Touch2Touch says:

          Thanks for the explanation, Martin.
          I’ll check it out —

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          • 2e0mca says:

            Hi Judith – Of course, when you’re typing away sometimes you think of the wrong name… It was Rod Steiger with Sidney Poitier 😦 I should have double checked before attacking the keyboard! Apologies for the misleading info.

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          • Touch2Touch says:

            I remembered the Sidney Poitier part, because I vaguely remember it did cause a big stir at the time it came out.
            Harvey Keitel is kind of like Rod Steiger, both are easy to loathe in many of their parts! Thanks for the clarification.

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  2. magsx2 says:

    Hi,
    Oh I love orchids, and the photos that you took explains why, they are magnificent flowers, these maybe exotic but they are beautiful as well. I can’t say I like any particular one, they are all fantastic. 🙂

    Like

    • Touch2Touch says:

      If you stop by during the coming week, I’ll be posting the ones that I find most beautiful, and also the ones I find the weirdest!!!!
      Thanks for visiting and for commenting, it’s much appreciated.

      Like

  3. barb19 says:

    They are all stunningly beautiful, but I especially love that pink one, but” moth orchids” doesn’t seem like an appropriate name for them, they are too gorgeous to be named after a moth.

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    • Touch2Touch says:

      I know there’s a beautiful moth called a Luna moth, it’s pale green —- but I’ve never seen it, and the other moths in my life are prosaic looking, to say the least! At least there’ll be two of us to call them “butterfly moths”!

      Like

  4. Gemma says:

    Had a Luna Moth emerge in my classroom last year. Breathtaking. Like your orchid photos. Looking forward to more.
    http://firstandfabulous.wordpress.com/

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    • Touch2Touch says:

      DID YOU TAKE A PICTURE OF IT? Sorry to flame about it, but that is SO exciting. I better Google it at once, I’ve thought about it since I was very young and read Girl of the Limberlost, where it figures in a key incident in the plot.

      Like

  5. Rebekah says:

    They’re all beautiful in their own way. Never been to an orchid show, and never to a prom either, but I have seen the movie [mentioned in the comments].

    Like

  6. What beautiful pictures! I would be more grateful though if you could teach us how to grow these magnificent flowers! I have tried and tried to keep orchids alive. Maybe someday…. usually I get them through their first bloom and then they die. 😦 P. Allen Smith says they are not really that hard to grow. I think he is just saying that so I will keep trying. With the beauty they display, it is hard to not keep trying again and again.

    I look forward to the pictures yet to come.

    Like

    • Touch2Touch says:

      How to keep orchids alive! A wonderful question. My own question, until I had this illuminating experience (true story):
      We were attending a family celebration in Dallas and in the course of several days’ festivities were invited to the showplace home of a friend of our cousins. Not only was it architecturally gorgeous and filled with exquisite furnishings, but there were breathtaking orchids everywhere you looked. I was overcome. But not so overcome as to neglect asking her how she cared for all these wonderful flowers. I will never forget her answer. “Oh, when they finish blooming I throw them out, and buy new ones.”

      And there is the secret. Now, if you ask orchid fanciers (as I did at the show, because I would still love to have them) they will say various things. Some care for them as they care for their children, even in their latent, or non-blooming period, which generally lasts nine months out of 12. No kidding. Orchids bloom a long time when they bloom, three months IS a long time, but then it’s a year of long sticks until they bloom (or not) again. The other thing some of them say, with a straight face, is “Leave them alone. Orchids thrive on neglect.” Right.

      All that said, I once managed to keep one phalaenopsis (my favorite variety) alive and blooming for a full three months by the “ice cube” method. Google it; I will only say it worked for me. (But only that species.) After it finished blooming I tried to keep the faith, but the long bare stalks got to me, and eventually I did jettison the poor orchid. A friend of ours says he considers the cost of $20 plus/minus for an orchid in Trader Joe’s to be the price of a wonderful bouquet of flowers that will bloom for several months, which makes it cheaper than cut flowers. So that’s one way to look at it.

      Yes, P. Allen Smith is just saying that. Or else he is self-deluded.

      See you tomorrow with the beautiful!

      Like

  7. These are gorgeous photos! We’re quite lucky over here to have a wide variety of orchids throughout the year. The mother in law has tried growing them but even with her green fingers, she hasn’t managed to keep them alive after the first bloom. I shall google the ice cube method and see if it works for her – thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Like

    • Touch2Touch says:

      Yes, you are lucky to have orchids as an actual bloom, ours are all indoor or hothouse.
      Two caveats: the ice cube method works ONLY for phalaenopsis orchids, and only for selected ones of them. OTOH, to my mind, they are the most beautiful, so that part’s okay. And second, all orchids go dormant after their first bloom. The keeping alive then can be a long, nine-month stretch. Very few orchids, evidently, have a second bloom in one year. And all the while, you’re keeping alive something that looks pretty muchlike a bare stem, maybe a couple of leaves? You have to be a more dedicated and noble flower grower than I am!!!!!
      Thank you for coming by, and stay tuned for the phalaenopsis and some others tomorrow, the BEAUTIFUL!!!!

      Like

  8. pauline says:

    Oh gorgeous! And didn’t it smell heavenly in there? Cass and Bean and I went last year. Bean never uttered a sound but simply stared wide-eyed at the color and crowds. You’ve captured the beauty perfectly!

    Like

  9. Stef says:

    Wow, that table of flowers is pretty amazing! And pretty pretty. 🙂

    Like

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