My orchids are the superstars in my garden right now. Never mind that the nights have become decidedly chill ... by Mumbai standards, that is. My orchid divas are still dazzling me and showing that they still have what it takes. Oh yeah!
And the older they are, the more flamboyant they get. Like this Dendrobium orchid which has been with me for 10 years or more. Definitely long in the cane, but have you seen such long spikes of spectacular blooms on any fresh young things?
This one got dislocated from the coconut tree where it had been living when a heavy coconut leaf lopped it off. So it was hastily tied on to this cashew tree because it was bursting with buds due to bloom any day. And I definitely did not want to miss out on that!
My usual banana fibre ties were too flimsy so some coir ropes were brought in to help out. That still left something wanting. These lo-o-ong canes were too big for their own good. So, finally they had to be propped up with a slab of rock.
Oh the ignominny!
I definitely have to do something before this diva starts sulking.
Did I say something about 'fresh young things'? This would be one of them. Fresh-faced, pure as a ... well, a white orchid, and so very pretty!
I can't think of any space, no matter how ugly, that hasn't taken a step into the sublime just because of its association with an orchid. Like these iron spikes over a fence. No one notices those because they're too busy being dazzled by the orchid. Now that's called star quality!
If you thought all Dendrobiums looked alike, then take a look at this one. The colour's familiar but if it looks all twisted out of shape, then you've got an antler-type dendrobium orchid. I guess this would be a perfect match for all those wildlife buffs out there. But honestly, doesn't it look a bit like an avenging angel?
Just a bit?
If you thought the dendrobiums are the only ones out there, then you haven't seen my friend, Spathaglottis. One of the most common orchids grown in Mumbai, I think novice orchidists are comforted by its terrestrial preferences. After all, growing a plant which doesn't need soil can seem so unusual . And confusing.
The Spathaglottis, though, thrives in that medium unlike the Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis, Cattleya and others of that ilk.
But commonplace they are not. The Spathaglottis still knows how to spring a surprise. Its multiple hues, if not its ease of cultivation, are enticement enough to make the gardener go back to it again and again.
Yet if you're going by the variety of colours, there could be no one to beat the Phalaenopsis orchids for sheer drama. Purity of shape and theatrical in colour ...