It seems like this is what people have been waiting for, the orchids that struck me as more weird than either exotic or beautiful. There could be lots of argument about this: beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, and what I find weird, you may find lovely. But there it is, there’s no arguing with taste, so on with the show! (The Amherst Orchid Show, lately held in Northampton, that is.)
This is a tangle of cymbidium orchids. If I hadn’t known from the label that they were in fact orchids, you could have fooled me. And these are prizewinners, too!
What high school senior would look forward to receiving this piebald and mottled Cattleya as her traditional prom corsage?
Even the beauty of my beloved phalaenopsis is marred for me by these carefully inbred variegations. (Have you figured out I don’t like variegated anything? Which causes some dissension come summer when the Hub and I are buying foliage plants, I can tell you that!)
So far you may quibble with me about taste, and feel that I’m too quick to label something weird that’s just different. But let’s look at a whole tableful of Paphiopedilum orchids, so-called Slipper Orchids (or Paphs, for short). From a distance you don’t get the full effect. Here’s a close-up of a Lady’s-Slipper Orchid:
True orchid fanciers find these waxy-faced orchids beautiful as well. To me it’s a face only a mamma orchid could love. Interestingly, as if they sense instinctively they have to offer something to prospective growers beyond their looks, Paphs are known for being easy to cultivate, neither fussy nor demanding. They are, in fact, a kind of Miss Congeniality among their more temperamental sisters. I might nickname them Cinderella orchids! Although they’d better be discovered by a near-sighted Prince —
I hope you’ve enjoyed the show. If you’re in Northampton next year, you’re all invited to visit.