Orchids – small pots of joy

A couple of years ago, after a visit to Norway, I decided to buy a couple of NOID Phalaenopsis orchids. They were literally everywhere in Norway, from the fresh produce shelves at the local supermarket to every friend’s window sill and dinner table. Orchids, well at least the hybid NOID phals, are ridiculousy cheap and easy to come by in Norway. They are sold as an alternative to cut flowers and they are often just thrown away when they are done flowering or when the owner has either 1) watered them to death, 2) burnt them to death in a sunny window sill or 3) have grown tired of them.

In Namibia, the situation is somewhat different. Here, orchids remain a luxury few people can afford, and they are looked upon as some kind of eccentric, weird creature often considered ugly by  the local population. You know how people sometimes can ask you where you found something in a shop? You’re typically standing in the queue at the counter and someone asks you: “Where did you find that jersey?” Or “Wow! Where did you find that rose?” Never happens with orchids. Instead of commenting on what a beautiful flower it is, people are more likely to wrinkle their nose and in a slightly disgusting voice say something in the line of: “What the hell is that?!” Then they will clutch their chrysanthemums closer to their chest and mumble that you’re obviously totally crazy since you’re willing to fork out money that could get you at least five pot plants for one of…of…those things *insert dismissive hand wave*.

Since I’m the odd one out, I decided to buy myself a couple of Phalaenopsis orchids for keeping. Not just for one month of flowering, but for better or worse, in sickness and in health and all that.

I soon realized two things:

1) They’re addictive and it is madness to believe you can be happy with only two. Two soon became many more, and the collection is growing every time I’m in town and got a minute and some bucks to spare.

2) It really has been a roller-coaster ride with some small victories, but also with more defeats than I care to remember. They say you’re an orchid expert once you’ve killed a thousand orchids. Lets just say I’m well on the way. In all honesty, I can be more lethal than herbicide, I’ve discovered, and the only good thing I can say is that I’m learning from my mistakes.

This blog, or web page, has been developed mainly for me to keep track of my own orchids and the above-mentioned roller-coaster ride. I’ve come to a point with my orchids where it begins to make sense to me to keep better track with them, and make notes regarding flowering and growth as well as problems I’m experiencing.

You’re welcome to have a look around. Feel free to comment and ask questions. Don’t expect any good answers though. I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing and most successes are flukes and luck rather than conscious management and care…

3 thoughts on “Orchids – small pots of joy

    • I grow on mounts, but not on trees. I’ve been considering putting a couple of my Ansellia africana into trees in the garden, but we have frost and I would have to make a plan for the winter, so mounts just work better for me.

      • Frost in Namibia…for some reason that’s kinda surprising. Oh wait, I forgot that I knew that it freezes there.

        It froze here too last year and I only lost a couple orchids out of 100s of different species that I grow outside year around. So plenty of orchids can take some frost just fine. But it’s hard to say for certain just how much freezing they can take.

        One strategy I use to minimize risk is to only experiment with divisions. But it’s worth it to experiment…because there’s no better way to learn about orchids.

        If you get some orchids on your trees…then you can sow orchid seeds on your trees. There aren’t too many things more enjoyable than watching orchid seeds germinate all over a tree. Plus, it’s a super easy way to expand your collection. Also, each generation will be more cold/drought tolerant than the last. Lastly, it’s a good way to try and make up for all the orchids that are taken from trees in the wild.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.