My father, Art Chadwick Sr., turns 90 this week and he credits his longevity to orchids. Since the age of 13, he has been collecting cattleyas and, to this day, he can’t wait to wake up in the morning and see what’s in bloom. His lifelong interest began rather innocently, as a teenager walking home from school.
“Usually the orchid wears the woman, but to the contrary with my dear Edith.”
Orchid breeders have an eye for selecting stud plants that impart desirable flower qualities onto the offspring. Common traits include vibrant color, round shape, and being floriferous. There is one type of Phalaenopsis, however, that is made using entirely different criteria.
"A mulched bed of naturalized Angraecum species is part of the permanent orchid collection at the Atlanta Botanical Garden."
"The main attraction of the Atlanta Botanical Garden's 'Orchid Daze' event is a series of walls suspended from the ceiling of the atrium and covered with fragrant Miltonias."
One thing that all seasoned orchid growers have in common, regardless of their level of expertise, is a trove of war stories about how they “almost lost everything”. The power failed, the water line broke, the vents didn’t open, and so on. What is it about orchid collections that make them so prone to loss?
We’ve all seen them. Front and center, tiered displays of Phalaenopsis. Some plants are wrapped in cellophane. Some are artificially colored. Some have instructions to add ice. Many are wilted or broken. What is going on here?
This year marks the 95th anniversary of the American Orchid Society and, to commemorate the milestone, a series of vintage orchid images are being recreated from the 1940’s horticulture magazines. The glossy advertisements were groundbreaking for the time period and promoted the many uses of cut cattleya flowers in high society fashion.
Food aficionados take their meals seriously – the ingredients, the health attributes, the farm sources. But, most of all, they delight in the presentation. One aspect of culinary design that has been growing in popularity is the use of garnishes which artistically add to food dishes. And what better accent piece than a colorful orchid blossom.