Saturday, February 21, 2009

There's always an embarassment of riches indoors this time of year....but we want spring outdoors now!

Phalaenopsis, Clivia, forced Hyacinths, Paperwhite Narcissus...even the tropical Hibiscus in the south window is squeezing out a few flowers. Species orchids, the big Adenium obesum, overwintering Geraniums....they're all flowering now. If all this floral largess could only have come a month ago. I want spring outside now. Still, in the face of this recent cold spell, its good to have the tropicals flowering.

The curious giraffe type Phalaenopsis came from Parkside Orchids at the Philadelphia Flower Show a few years ago. I bought it as a seedling sans flowers or buds and it finally flowered last year. Now there is a flood of "blotchy" Phaels. I like the white ones with huge purple spots but will probably not indulge.

It is interesting how orchids appear in the marketplace. There is sort of a background "white noise" of regular cultivars that evolves as the years pass, with new ones coming and old ones slipping away. But there's another phenomena that overlays this and provides a constant flow of interesting new cultivars. Somebody decides to grow an entirely different species that isn't really in cultivation, or a unique cultivar that hasn't been around for a while; they grow a number of flasks. The flasks mature, the seedlings are distributed, and for a while you see the new plant everywhere. They have the cachet of unfamiliarity, and enter the mainstream sometimes for a few years, sometimes for longer depending on their virtues and our tastes. Then someone offers us a different choice and we usually jump at it. We are a fickle bunch.

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