Friday, 28 February 2014

The blue that is true?

In fancy flower shop here and in the US, apparently, some intensely blue orchid flowers have been cropping up. I’ve only seen them online. They look distinctly unnatural to me.

In fact, they are white flowers that get their colour from a patented dye used by plant breeders.

File:Orchids, blue.jpg

Blue is a colour that doesn’t occur naturally in orchids, according to an intriguing article about the science of blue flowers.

Fewer than 10 per cent of the 280,000 species of flowering plants produce blue flowers.

Why, you ask?  There is no true blue pigment in plants, so plants don’t have a direct way of making a blue colour. Blue is even rarer in foliage than it is in flowers.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Designs on orchids

Given the name of this blog, I had to spread the word about Orchid Mania, an orchid exhibition with a difference.

A group of local designers at Cleveland Botanical Garden has created a series of imaginative vignettes featuring orchid displays in dramatic interiors.

Get orchids off the windowsill, they designers, and try framing them as art, setting them in a bookcase or even hanging them upside down from the ceiling.

The room created by In Design, “Cabinet of Curiosities,” featured a large bookcase that, instead of books, held light pink and deep pink orchids and jade green pots.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Eco showcase

Cambridge’s botanic gardens is hosting an exotic and unusual orchid exhibition in a display in the Glasshouse Range.

The orchid festival focuses on the orchids of the Indian state of Sikkim in the foothills of the Himalayas. 

A pair of orchid trees laden with orchids from hot valleys and cool slopes will be constructed in the corridor and central Tropical Rainforest display, while orchids from around the globe will be woven throughout the glasshouse plantings. 

File:Purple orchids at Am Orchid Society, Delray Bch.JPG

The Tropical Wetlands house will focus on orchid anatomy and adaptations, with the centrepiece a spider’s web of Vanda orchids, suspended from the roof.

What makes this exhibit so unusual is that it was conceived and designed by members of Writhlington Orchid Club. A team of six students and their inspirational teacher Simon Pugh–Jones travelled five thousand miles to the Himalayan Indian state and explored remote forests to record the epiphytic micro-habitats where key orchid species grow in the wild.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Dazzling debut

The annual Orchid Festival at Kew’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is back (on until 9 March).

For those who make the spring pilgrimage, keep an eye out for the debut of a brand new Phalaenopsis hybrid ‘Diamond Sky’. It’s a dazzling flourish of speckled pinkish/lilac petals.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Orchids 1; Roses nil

Forget roses. Get yourself a Miltonia orchid.

I bought one from my favourite Swedish home store - and it's more fragrant than any cut flowers. It's a Herr Alexandre, a striking plant with large, floppy white flowers and a crimson and gold butterfly pattern in the centre.

I wish I could insert an aroma jpeg so you could smell the floral scent for yourself.

It might be my imagination, but I believe it's stronger in the mornings. Or it might just be more noticeable when the central heating's off!

Either way, I'm hooked. I love my phals, but Miltonias are a marvel.

The colour purple

Pantone, the self-proclaimed international colour authority technology, has unveiled the colour of 2014. It is ‘Radiant Orchid’.

Apparently, it’s ‘an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones' to inspire confidence and emanates great joy, love and health, drawing you in with its 'beguiling charm'.

Radiant Orchid, allegedly, ‘blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple – one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health.’

I’ve heard of flowery language, but this takes the biscuit.

The décor-conscious will already know that emerald was last year’s colour, diametrically opposite on the colour wheel. This served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity.

Radiant Orchid ‘encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.’

Of course it does.

The website warbles on about how the rosy undertones radiate on the skin and how it is already making an appearance in spring fashion shows and accessories.

Did you know the colour goes well with red and shades of lavender, purple and pink?


By Pamela Kelt

Friday, 7 February 2014

Love your orchids

I can offer up a small tip for anyone looking up orchids on Wikipedia.

Quite frankly, it can be a hit and miss. However, I did find a way to search by country.

Just key in ‘Category:Orchids of’ and hundreds pop up, divided by countries from around the world.

It was fun browsing, for example: Category:Orchids of Ireland. There are 26 on Wikipedia, from Anacamptis morio to Spiranthes spiralis (pictured).

However, according to the IrishOrchid Society, there 30 native species one of which, the Western Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza occidentalis), is unique to the island. The website is a little gem, by the way.

I spent a happy hour browsing.

Here’s a strange fact. The Chinese name for Ireland translates as ‘Love your orchid’.

For other great orchid stories and snippets, check out Pollinia.

By Pamela Kelt