beginner orchids

If You Go to An Orchid Show You Might Come Home With Orchids

lady slipper orchid

Paphiopedilum genus of orchid commonly called a lady slipper.

If it’s not bad enough that my mother always insisted on slipping boots on my feet and mittens on my fingers as a kid growing up in the sub-human coldness of Minnesota winters, now they want everybody to wear a bicycle helmet while bike riding, not touch any object but the steering wheel while operating a vehicle and to wear life jackets aboard a water vessel. How is a decent person supposed to succumb to the elements and possible kill herself if not left alone in peace? Next thing you know we won’t be allowed to leave our homes unless dressed like armed robots to protect ourselves from pollution which, when you think about it, might be kind of fun.

You know what else is fun? Well, besides selling real estate in Sacramento, that is. Going to an orchid show. The Sacramento Orchid Society put on a show last week, its 68th Annual Orchid Show, at the Scottish Rite Temple in River Park. I’m wondering, though, if my husband was looking all grumpy when we paid our admittance fees or if orchid shows are typically dominated by women because the people at the desk rightly assumed that he might have preferred to be elsewhere.

Spider Orchid belongs to the Brazia family.

Spider Orchid belongs to the Brazia family.

Yet, I caught him shootings photos of the orchids and we spent a good hour walking the aisles and admiring the flowers. I can’t get over how beautiful orchids are. It’s almost like they are not real, not created by nature, that an artist painstakingly created each brush stroke and dot by hand. Each is unique. There are more than 25,000 species of orchids. They vary so wildly, and I love them all. The textures, the silkiness, velvety surfaces, crepe paper, sparkly sandpaper, and how they so can resemble insects like butterflies, or arachnids like spiders and other creatures in mother nature. I haven’t met an orchid I don’t like. If you ever get a chance to visit Lanai, Hawaii, go up into the mountains to see the Four Seasons Orchid Greenhouse.

Pink phalaenopsis "moth" orchid

Pink phalaenopsis “moth” orchid

I also learned they are orchids because, unlike other flowers that contain separate sexual identity, the male and female parts of an orchid are combined in the column. The stamens attach to pistils, which was new information to me, so I thought I would share it with you. In fact, the whole world of orchids is new to me. I started to read about the families and genus but then it was back to working on Sacramento real estate when my cell rang.

Oh, also, I did come home with a few orchids to try to grow on my own. Just a pinch of fertilizer and water once a week. I can do that. At the very top of this blog is a lady slipper that I bought. Such a cute little pouch and the dots on the tongue thing in the center give me shivers. It’s genus is paphiopedilum. If nothing else, I can walk around saying big words like that and drop them into casual conversations until I learn what I’m talking about.

In closing, it should be noted, btw, that the California Senator Carol Liu who is introducing the bike helmet law has flat hair.

Photos: Elizabeth Weintraub

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