Fine wine is hardly my forte, but when a client handed me two fancy bottles called Cattleya, I was intrigued. What could the connection be between the Queen of the Orchids and fermented grapes? Certainly, both have an intense and loyal following but there must be something more.
Until recently, most Americans had never heard of Wilmington, Delaware. The state, itself, is tiny and bears the nickname, “Small Wonder”. My parents have lived there since 1960, growing orchids in their redwood greenhouses and raising a family.
Melania Knauss Trump is the wife of the 45th United States President. Prior to marrying Donald J. Trump in 2005, she was a successful model working with major fashion houses in Milan and Paris and later appearing on the covers of dozens of magazines including Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Glamour. She also had her own watch and jewelry line.
There is nothing easy about breeding large yellow cattleyas.
Hybridizers have been trying fervently since 1901, when the very first attempt at combining two lemon-hued species took place. Since then, there have been hundreds or even thousands of pairings – mostly with disastrous results.
The first problem, as breeders soon discovered, is that the color yellow in cattleyas is hopelessly recessive and is nearly always lost when another color is introduced. For example, a yellow flower crossed with a white flower does not yield any yellows. In fact, it yields purple.
As we approach the anniversary of Georgia O’Keeffe’s birth, we are reminded of the impact that she had in the horticultural world with her 200+ flower paintings. She lived nearly a century (1887-1986) and created a whole new genera of botanical art in which the subjects are larger than life. Two pastels, in particular, have had orchid fanciers chatting for decades.
Last month, while attending an orchid meeting, I was fortunate to win a raffle price of fancy note cards depicting cattleyas in old time jungle scenes. The images were familiar as they are regularly found in art museums and botanical gift shops but the artist is largely unknown. The material dates back 150 years and was avante guard in its day.
Six degrees of separation refers to the notion that all people are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other. Imagine if only two degrees separated you from someone very famous, in other words, an A-List celebrity is “a friend of a friend.” We experienced this situation in 2009 when a walk-in client informed us that she worked extensively with Priscilla Presley.
“The flowers of Cattleya Prince John (dowiana x Hardyana) had not been seen in nearly a century until Art Chadwick Sr. recently remade the 1913 hybrid.” Photo Credit – Arthur Chadwick
Nancy Davis Reagan was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989. She ushered in an elegance and formality into the White House which had not been seen in years. Her favorite color was red which she wore so often that the fire-engine shade became known as ‘Reagan Red.’ She and her husband, the 40th U.S. President Ronald Reagan, were inseparable and she was one of his closest advisors.
I received a Cattleya orchid in the mail that was supposed to be in bud or bloom and there is nothing but leaves! Where are the flowers?! What can be done? Ronald S.
Shipping orchids in the mail is a little tricky. It requires some clever packing techniques and considerable knowledge of botany to be successful. In addition, the shipping company and the weather both have to cooperate.