This makes a great gift!
The naming of orchid hybrids dates back nearly 150 years when the first cross pollinations took place. Breeders would select two species parents with desirable traits, put them together, culture the seeds, grow the plants at least 5 years until they bloomed, and hope for improved strains. In the jungle, where the epiphytes are native to, insects perform the hybridizing duties.
In 1929, a tradition began with Mrs. Herbert Hoover in which U.S. First Ladies had Cattleya orchids named after them. At that time, corsages were at their peak of fashion and women everywhere wore orchids to glamorous events. Fifty years later, public interest in orchids started changing from cut flowers to potted plants and, today, orchids are the #1 houseplant having recently overtaken poinsettias, chrysanthemums, and African violets.
Chadwick’s has continued the First Lady tradition by naming Cattleya orchids after wives of the four most recent Presidents – Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Barbara Bush – and personally presented the flowers to the honored recipients. In addition, two former First Ladies have been recognized by Chadwicks - Lady Bird Johnson (via her daughter Linda) and Eleanor Roosevelt (via her granddaughter Anne). Other female celebrities to have received their namesake hybrid from Chadwick’s include Martha Stewart, Queen Elizabeth II, Margaret Thatcher, Tipper Gore, Priscilla Presley, and the Queen of Cambodia.
Chadwick’s has dozens of crosses in production at all times in preparation for celebrity presentations. A percentage of these are made available to the public in a program called ‘Name Your Own Orchid.' For a $1500 fee, the entire cross of seedlings will be officially registered under any name you choose (pending approval by the Royal Horticultural Society) with a certificate of authenticity. Up to 20 blooming size specimens will also be provided - each slightly different based on genetics - and with the new botanical name printed on the label. Pictures of the flowers can be made available if the recipient would like to see the orchid ahead of time. Cattleyas are Chadwick's specialty although other genera may be available. Typical colors are whites, pinky/purples, and yellowy/oranges.
Call (804)598-7560 for availability or to place an order.