Orchids in greenhouse

Orchids remind me of my grandmother because she used to breed them when she was alive. When I was young I would stand in her garden and contemplate their ugly beauty. She grew ones that were trained up a supporting stick and had skinny yellow petals with deep red markings. I wondered why she didn’t choose the bigger, prettier ones with lush vivid petals, like these orchids at the Akatsuka Orchid Gardens in Big Island, Hawaii.

Years later, I read a book called The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean, which is about a horticulturalist named John Laroche and his quest for the rare ghost orchid. It is a broad tale about orchid obsession and the lengths to which plant collectors will trek into dark swamps and headhunter-inhabited rainforests to find rare orchids. Orchids like humidity and the shyest ones live in the humid low-light density of forests. It’s a wonder that we think we can buy them from the supermarket and grow them in our houses. I’m minded to read the book again.

~ Spotted Cow

Pink orchids Purple orchidsWhite and purple orchidsThe Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean

8 thoughts on “Orchids

    1. Do read the book. You’ll get really engaged with the characters. And there’s all these stories about the lengths people go to get rare orchids. If you do, let me know what you think. Hmm, and if my gran lived in Hawaii, it would’ve been paradise to visit !

  1. I never gave much thought to flowers until I read The Orchid Thief. I have one on my bookshelf called Tulip Fever. I haven’t read it yet, but imagine it will be just as provocoative as Orleans’ book (or so I hope).

    1. I’ve read Tulip Fever as well. It’s written in a more story-type fashion, compared to The Orchid Thief which is more journalistic. It’s a good story but you don’t engage with the characters in the same way, knowing that they are fictional. Curious to know what you think when you’ve read it.

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