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.
Nearly gone are the days when commercial growers transplanted thousands of young orchid seedlings, raised them to maturity, watched them bloom, and picked the best. Selective breeding, as it was called, was the standard practice for raising popular genera such as Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Oncidiums, and Phalaenopsis as late as the 1990’s.