Friday, March 4, 2011

Back to My First Love - Orchids

It has always been my first and foremost love, Orchids. But that doesn't mean i dont appreciate other ornamental plants; be it flowers, foliage, arrangements, bonsais, and others. Years ago i have some collections, even got a few from far provinces via domestic airlines. However,  my personal conditions and proximity to our garden did not allow me to maintain their good biological and aesthetic standing. I eventually resorted to having taught my sister to take care of them. She did a good job, as for several years they reached the peak of splendor, blooming profusely and looking great. Passers-by can't help but stay for sometime and appreciate them.  My sister even tells me that the healthy roots also look so beautiful themselves. We came close to almost selling some of them. After a few years and a few changes of the decayed driftwoods or tree trunks they clung on, getting these trunks becomes difficult, my sister also had to move house, and it became already very difficult to maintain the orchids in their original splendor. Transplanting them to renew vigor already became a big task , so it's a foregone endeavor. They also became old and eventually one-by-one started to get sick and die. Except for a few really resistant to neglect and long dry seasons, most of them are gone now.

With that story, now i have to go to orchid shows and plant exhibits to look and appreciate them. A lot of hybrids are very beautiful, but parent species are still maintaining their being at the hall of fame! Endemics or botanicals are also attracting attention of breeders and collectors.  I am more fascinated with Vanda species, and if I will have orchids again, i will still prefer them over the Catleya, Phalaenopsis, Rhenanthera, Oncidium, Bulbophylum, Paphiopedilum, Cymbidium, and others.

Vanda sanderiana, which is the ancestor of most Vanda hybrids today (sorry for not a very good resolution) is endemic to the Philippines

profuse flowers of V.sanderiana
Offsprings today, from the arduos tasks of breeders and collectors. Take for example the center bottom orange dotted flowers. It shows it passed several generations, and has  already traversed through several genus and species (e.g. intrageneric and intraspecific)

V. coerulea, V. sanderiana and V. rothschildiana gave way to the many dark bluish and violet colors now available.

Judging orchids follow a certain strict rules and standards, and properly implemented by professional orchid societies. Breeders consider these standards in choosing the parents they will be working on, as to which parent will provide a certain hue, and which parent will provide the best form. A good judgement will also tell which is the better mother or the better father. This entails a lot of understanding on which characteristics are easier transmitted via the pollen or via the egg. Breeding takes a lot of time, and choosing the best characters takes more, one best character even takes a lifetime. The best part of breeding orchids is that every offspring, notwithstanding getting not the characters you are intending to get, will still be appreciated by many, and will still be beautiful. If the breeder doesn't like the offspring, many enthusiasts will still do! I also know how to breed orchids and propagate them in tissue culture bottles, but i don't do it. Patience and waiting are not included in my most favored virtues. LOL.

Now, which colors do you prefer? For myself,  I am more leaning on the last colors - the blues, they seem to be so exotic and endearing for me. A violet or a blue Vanda, if given to me as a gift will be very much treasured as if i received a pair of pearl earings!

These photos (except the 2nd) are from the Philippine Orchid Society Show in Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City, Philippines, on Feb 24 to Mar 7, 2011.


  1. Thank you for your story. I almost thought you only grow sansevieria. I like the second and the last ones. Nice colours. As for your other question, the daily postings is just a natural temporary phenomena due to a new camera.

  2. One - haha, i can't refrain from replying to you at once here. So i substantiated your misdiagnosis of me! What is the brand of the new toy? Come and let's have a back-to-back exhibit of our photos! Let's hold it both here and there.

  3. Your story seem so much like my own where my dad was a keen orchid enthusiast. He even entered orchid competitions but that was really very long ago. All his orchids have disappeared (given to people) and now there is only one cattleya left. I will always love orchids, in whatever colour and however they look like. Only problem, I don't know how to grow them to flower.

  4. Most stunning photos, Andrea! I love the blues the most. They look so special. And your's a treat to see them!

  5. Beautiful shots... I seldom see real blue orchids.., so perfect, so rare.

  6. I too liked the blue violets, they are so rarely seen I am guessing. I never saw one except at the botanical garden. Your orchids are so beautiful, I only wish I could grow mine that well. I think I am going to try a new variety.I see so many of you bloggers with unusual orchids, I just might try a harder one to grow. You have inspired me.

  7. Andrea,

    I'm a big fan of orchids, but I kill them. Hard to get cool photos of orchids too.

  8. Gorgeous blooms.Thanks for sharing them

  9. The orchids are all very pretty! I tend towards blue in clothing, furniture, accessories, etc. So blue it is!

  10. Beautiful orchids and your story too Andrea! I wish you or your sister could have kept your orchid collection. I think I just love all the colors!

  11. As an orchid lover, you might find my blog (on Florida's native orchids) an interesting read:

    The Florida Native Orchid Blog

    The Florida Native Orchid Website

  12. Andrea: Very beautiful orchid photos! I also love vanda orchids very much, and now owns four of them. I have a hybrid of Vanda Sanderiana x Vanda Taweesuka, looks very like your second picture. I also have Vanda Kultawa 'Blue' and Vanda Sawita'blue', fell into your blue/violet color category. Very pretty. I love them all. Right now I hung them under my oak tree, and wish they can be with me for many many years.

  13. Well, Andrea, you know what they say - "once bitten..." the passion for orchids may remain dormant for a while, but then one day it demands fulfillment...

    It;s interesting for me to read about color preferences -blue's are the color of communicators (throat chakra), purples and indigo represent intuition, imagination, awareness and we all drawn to different color flowers at different times.

    Love all the vanda's in your pictures and their colors - clarity (yellow), creativity (orange), energy and courage (red), affection (pink), compassion (gold), stability (brown) - love them all - thank you for sharing these beauties!

  14. I never tried growing orchids and only see them at garden shows or at conservatories. They are so beautiful and I'm afraid I'd kill them. There were so many beauties the show you attended, so different than what I've seen. I enjoyed looking at them.

  15. Andrea, I really like the orange and the blue/purple orchids together. Carolyn

  16. If I should ever venture into orchids, I would go for the Brassia rex and the Paphiopedilum haynaldianum. My wife would probably make me get the blue violet Vanda's and coerce me into taking care of them for her.

  17. Dear Andrea, I love your story and your stunning photographs, especially the beautiful blue blossoms! P x

  18. Dear Everyone, it really amazed me that after a night i already have 16 comment, which you all know, really inspire me.

    Autumn Belle - you will know how to grow them if you know what they want. The most basic thing to know is light and water requirements, actually fertilizer is only the 3rd. Catleya maybe is more exacting than Vanda, i wonder why i appreciate them but dont like much to have them. You should start with terete vanda, they will really inspire you.

    Kanak - thank you for your appreciation, I also gravitate to the blues.

    Bangchik - we have lots of blue orchids here, and also in Thailand. thank you.

    Donna - Vanda might not be easily acclimatized in your cold climate. It loves hot and humid environment. But there are lots of unusual orchids fitted to your climes.

    Randy - haha, you will really kill them if you dont know them well. Besides, not a lot of orchids can withstand winter, surely they'll die.

    Ruth - thanks for your visit, hope you come again.

    Linda - okay so you gravitate to the blue as well, like me.

    Carol - yes most orchids are all lovely, it's just that some are lovelier, haha. BTW, just learned that there is Wisteria also endemic here! Finally, i can plant them too.

  19. Prem - thanks for visiting, sure i will visit your site next time. Thanks for the visit.

    Ami - congratulations for your orchid success. If they can already be long and propagated, you can have more, and they will shoot again on the cut and you will double or triple your collection. So we both love the blues and violets.

    Klara - yes those are good indicators of one's consciousness. Your messages fall into the right hands, haha! You might be interested to know that i am not a fan of the reds, the basic chakra, maybe i'm not properly grounded! Blues and violets seem to always been my preferences. You are very right in saying that 'once beaten...", i am just actually dormant because i lack many requirements. Later on i will be active again. thank you.

    Catherine - maybe in your areas orchids are better grown in conservatories, esp those with simulated conditions like temperature and humidity. But in the tropics they are just grown outdoors, in full sun.

    Carolyn - as most say, every orchid color and shapes are beautiful.

    Bom - when i was in college i have a Paphiopedilum which is at the side of the window, I had it for 2 yrs. They are a bit more difficult than Vanda. I am not familiar with Brassia rex. You should entice your wife to take care of them too, later on she will be hooked.

    Pam - thanks for your visit and appreciation.

  20. I have never dared to home an orchid but I lean toward the dark oranges.

  21. Had I known that the orchid exhibit was being held at the Quezon Circle I would have stopped by to see it. I was at the Manila Seedling Bank last Mar. 1 with my mom in search of more plants. We passed by the Circle on our way to the seedling bank.

    I was internet deprived for the most part of my short vacation so I wasn't aware of that event.


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