Saturday, April 4, 2009

Phal-e-lluiah !

Praise be! and All Hail ! My Phals have lived to rule the day. Isn't she magnificent? No wonder Phalaenopsis are prized all over the world. I haven't seen many of them in Mumbai and the rare few in the nurseries seem to cost almost as much as the land it is displayed on !

Here's another look at my Phal ... one of 3 which I brought to my apartment and babied through bud to bloom stage (the light could have been better, but I think the Phal makes up for all shortcomings).
I know the Phalaenopsis is called the Butterfly or Moth Orchid but for me, I can only see the dove at the centre, with wings flapping languidly.

It's an almost impossibly long waiting period. From end-January to end-March, from nub to bud to bloom. One would expect such a beautiful flower to look beautiful in the bud-stage too. It did... very elegant on its long, arching spike...

... until one got close enough to see a definite resemblance to something out of Jurassic Park!
Close your mouth, dear, the flies will get in ... oh! and you have a milk moustache!

Take a look at my phal now. This is a peek while she's just blooming open. Nothing ridiculous about it now, right?
See the 'dove'?

Ta-dah! Isn't it amazing how a couple of ugly buds can produce so much drama!

Oh! This is the other one of the trio. I couldnt get a good enough photo of all three lined up on the ledge so here's a look at my other Phal.
Hmmm... just as goofy as the others !

Until it blooms open too just a couple of days after the others.
Yellow! Just as I thought. A lovely buttery, sunshiney yellow. It almost seems bright enough to light up the room!
Doesn't the 'dove' look like it has a bright halo around it?


  1. its a fairy...its a fairy ...woooow Sunita ...... its your phals.... ouuuu ... can I touch ...

  2. Very pretty. I enjoyed reading your post. I wish you'll write more, Sunita.

  3. Your beautiful orchids are definitely worth waiting for - glorious! And yes, I can see the doves :)
    A lovely burst of color on this drab, wet morning, with snow showers mixed in. Thank you, Sunita :)

  4. LOL!
    Rajee, its even more gorgeous in person. Really! :)

    Thanks, Blossom. What a sweet thing to say! As for writing more, I've got Plans. I'll post about it soon, okay. In the meantime, yes, I'll try to post more often.
    BTW, have you taken a look at my other blog, Chai 'n Spice? You'll find a link on the side-bar.

    Thanks, Cathy! Isnt she gorgeous!

  5. Ohhhh, how nice of you to share. They are elegant! I did know about butterfly/moth comparison, but I did not know about the dove... delightful!

  6. A bit of Jurassic park indeed-but beautiful too!

  7. Hey Sunita,
    Where did you pick them up from ... I used to have them in Gurgaon and Pune ... and then you know me ... serial orchid killer ... yeah... tell me where can I go hunting ... since I can't seem to be able to afford buying a home ... have decided to blow it all up on plants ... :D
    AAhhh.... thoughs of bliss

  8. Lovely glimpse into the private life of those flowers.

  9. It's a dove from the heavens, Sunita! It was worth the wait!

  10. They are both just so gorgeous! Love the yellow.

  11. Yes, a big Halleluja for the Orchids. Wonderful colours. A long time to wait but worth while. Generally they also flower for a very long time. Here too they are expensive to buy. Love your post and explanations!

  12. Hi Kerri! Do you mean to say you're still burdened with snow! It is so hot here now that your snow seems like a really good idea. Shall we switch places? :D

    Hi Barbee ! It's so good to see you here :)
    The dove really 'leaps' out at you when you look at it closely, doesnt it?
    And you're so right, the phalaenopsis has to be one of the most elegant flowers I've seen.

  13. Tina, they really do look a bit funny in the bud-stage, dont they? Those close-up shots really bring a smile to my face.

    Rajee, fantastic idea... drown your sorrows in plants! :D
    Rajee, I dont buy my orchids in Mumbai ...too limited in choice and very overpriced. Plus the nurseries which do stock them, seem to be buying it in bulk from somewhere and the workers dont know much about caring for them. So by the time we get to see them, they're in a really sorry state.
    If you're really interested in buying orchids, mail me. I may be able to help you.

  14. Thanks Amila. Orchids have to be one of the most rewarding flowers to grow.

  15. Chandramouli, that's exactly what I thought too. It certainly brightened up my week :)

    Lona, I love that cheery shade of yellow too.

    Hi Trudi! I'm looking forward to having them around for the next month or so. I'll just have to be extra careful not to keep any fruits in the same room. The last time I did and the flowers died earlier than usual, I could've kicked myself for being so forgetful.

  16. Sunita congrats for nursing and protecting your beautiful wards. Lovely colours, phals are very easy to grow I have some to repot but am being very lazy about it. The slugs and snails love them here. I am on the lookout for a yellow like yours.

  17. Sunita,
    The thrill of waiting for buds to open... and your orchids are divine so I join your hallelujah chorus for all their intricate beauty. And so nice of them to grace your apartment windows with such glory. I like your description of the dove and yes, I can see it too.
    Thanks for the cheery post... Have a wonderful day in Mumbai!Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

  18. Stunning.

    That top photo is breathtaking.


    P.S. Thank you for becoming a follower of Esther's Boring Garden Blog, Sunita!

  19. Beautiful orchids. They really do look lovely. I recently went to the orchid forest, you can see my post on it just search "orchid" on my post. Or scroll down my blog post list.

  20. Hi Sunita, what beauties and what great photos too. I loved the bud shot! That yellow is so rich looking. You have been patient and now comes the rewards! Hooray!

  21. Hi Helen! I envy you for having enough of them around to be able to choose. In my case, when I find a nursery has orchids of any kind, my first reaction is of shocked disbelief. Then I go around picking as many as I can find :D
    Hope you find a yellow phal soon.

  22. Meems, I was a bit apprehensive that I would be midway through my vacation before they choose to bloom open. Just in time!
    Now I find myself walking past that window more often than I usually do ;)

  23. Thanks, Esther!
    About your blog, with a name like that, how could I resist? ;D

    Hi Zach! Yes I did see your post on the orchid forest and drooled all over it for a very long time. Very nice! :)

    Frances, exactly what I was thinking too. I'm just happy that the sparrows and pigeons didnt get to snack on those plump tempting buds. I wouldnt have been responsible for my actions if that had happened !

  24. absolutely stunning flowers and pictures

  25. Fabulous! And your post's title made my smile (and think of something else altogether!)
    My father has been trying to cultivate orchids in Madras, and only recently (after a couple of years) tasted success. Well worth the long wait and frustration.

  26. Stunning images of the orchids Sunita. The details are so awesome and the colors so vibrant. WOW

  27. Kamini, I wonder what that very innocent title made you think of ! I think I can guess but still, I wonder whether we think alike ;D
    I can just imagine what your father must've gone through, trying to get those orchids to behave. But like you said, once the magic formula is in place (no pampering!), then all those miserable days which find the grower almost in tears seem to melt away and nothing is left but the sheer glory of the bloom!
    Which orchids does he grow?

  28. Thank you, Alice !

    Thomas, you better watch it. One more compliment and I may just re-think my plans of getting a better camera. Why on earth would I if I can get compliments with this point-and-shoot? :D
    But, thanks! You know how great it feels when a master photographer says "wow!" to a raw beginner's attempts.

  29. Sunita,
    Me ... has mailed to ... you ... reached ???received ??? gotten ???

  30. Hi Rajee, yes I got it and my reply is probably zooming across to you now.

  31. Ah, the joys of orchids! Yours are beautiful ~ lovely blooms that are so well worth the long wait. I love the colour of the orchid in the top picture.

  32. They are truly amazing! You deserve all the praise, and of course these beauties, for the perseverance you showed in bringing them up. They must have required that tender motherly care, anxious wait and patience, akin a child-birth. No wonder, most of garden bloggers are females!
    Being a close follower of your blog, I could decode the title - accurately enough - but the potential double-entendre had me very very amused:-D

  33. Methinks we do think alike...that "innocent" title provoked some not-so-innocent thoughts!
    I have no idea what variety my father grows - not sure he knows either! We are all just thrilled that they grew!

  34. Thank you, Kate ! I am quite partial to orchids myself. Mainly because I find it unbelievable that I help to grow something so beautiful :)
    The long wait... now that's something that Nature could improve on!

  35. Great point about the garden bloggers, GT! :D
    I really did baby these. Unlike my orchids growing in my other garden which are more or less left to the mercies of the wildlife in my garden :P

    Now why on earth is everyone detecting something more in that very innocent title? ;D
    Kamini, it was just a coincidence I assure you. But if it made you smile and think that I'm wittier than I really am, I'll happily take credit ! :D
    I foresee more orchids in your father's future. An orchid grower just can't stop with 1 or 2. Especially if they have bloomed for him !
    (I speak from personal experience. I have about a thousand... and still buying more)

  36. I love orchids, i have them in same color...they look beautiful...I enjoyed your post, now going thru the rest of your blog...your garden really seems like heaven..let me check it out :)


  37. Hi Kanchan! Do you have phalaenopsis too? Great!
    Are they easily available in Pune?
    Would you believe that I sometimes make trips to Pune just to buy plants? Usually when I'm holidaying at Khandala and the call of all those nurseries become really tempting :D

  38. wow!! sunita... just wow!! I loved your post... what a pretty blog!

  39. Beautiful pictures, Sunita! I had to give mine to my mother when we moved to the US... She is wonderful with plants, so I'm sure they will be fine, but it is such a pity to loose these little friends as you cant take them with you on the plane.

  40. Jealous I am! After many failed attempts to grow flowering plants in my balcony. :-(

    Lovely flowers! :-)

  41. TIG, its great seeing you here again :)
    That's the worst part about moving home, isn't it? At least your Phal orchids are with your mother. I'm sure it makes her feel you're not that far away when she's taking care of your plants.

    Bindhu, dont worry, we all have many plant murders to answer to :D
    The worst part is when you have to adjust to different methods of growing. Trying to grow plants in my apartment is so totally different from growing them in my other garden that it drives me nuts!

  42. Pretty, beautiful, a little bit scary and absolutely amazing Sunita.


    xoxo Tyra

  43. Wonderful wonderful wonderful. I can feel all your delight and joy. Very justifiable. They are fantastic. And you must have put in so much effort and love into willing them to bloom:-))
    you are inspiring me to try my very brown hand at orchids

  44. Hi Tyra! Thanks. I know that you enjoy growing Phals too.
    er... scary? Did you mean the buds? I can definitely see that! :D

    Kallu, thanks! :)
    You know what, all those great orchidists out there have probably killed thousands of them so there's no such thing as a brown hand . All you've got to do is see that you keep trying, no matter how many of your plants decide to give up the ghost. Some time or the other, you're bound to find the right formula ;D

  45. Hi Sunita,
    Amazing!!!the lovely orchids look so happy posing for the shots:-)


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