At one time growing orchids was a hobby for the wealthy, requiring a greenhouse and attentive care. Today you can buy some orchids very inexpensively in your local stores. They are often sold with the other blooming plants you can enjoy and discard. But orchids are more than that, there are many, many kinds that can appeal to a wide variety of tastes. Some can be very easy to grow, almost weeds, and some will challenge the expert. The Wellington Botanic Gradens have a beautiful collection of both orchids and aquatic plants in their enclosed greenhouse. Since I love both orchids and water lilies, I thought I would share some pictures. I included the two together because they are both delicate flowers requiring a greenhouse.
During my visit to the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers, I was struck by the beautiful collection of orchids and decided it was worthy of a post. It is pretty safe to say that there is no flower more widely coveted than the Orchid. With their delicate, sculptural beauty and historical rarity, orchids carry an unrivaled suggestion of refinement. The exotic flowers are now cultivated in a wide variety of colors and delicately shaped blossoms, making them beautiful both on their own and as an addition to arrangements, but they retain their association with very special occasions. Different cultures throughout history have believed in the healing, disease-fighting and protective properties of the orchid. In traditional Chinese medicine the orchid is used to help cure coughs and lung illnesses. The ancient Greeks associated it with virility, and the Aztecs drank a mixture of the vanilla orchid and chocolate to give them power and strength. One in ten flowering plants in the world are orchids and the Conservatory of Flowers has a nice collection of orchids including a renowned collection of Pleurothallid Orchids. I have attempted to group them by genus although some may be incorrectly grouped. Unfortunately, they are often not labeled in the Conservatory.