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Sunday, June 20, 2010

The History of Orchids

Most of us regard the orchid as a beautiful, exotic and romantic flower Most are also unaware of their spectacular history and the passionate efforts which have gone into finding, cataloguing and creating the orchids which we enjoy today
Most of us regard the orchid as a beautiful, exotic and romantic flower. Most are also unaware of their spectacular history and the passionate efforts which have gone into finding, cataloguing and creating the orchids which we enjoy today.

A register of orchids is held at the Royal Horticultural Society in London. The Vanilla orchid was the first to enter Europe back in 1510. This was the source for the second most expensive flavouring extract (the most expensive being the saffron crocus). Over a hundred years passed, until in 1635 when the Cypripedium reginae was imported from North America, this is when orchids were first appreciated for their decorative features. The interest in the orchid blossomed from this point onwards. However, even as late as the 1800 it was very rare to fine a collector with more than a few samples. In 1804 both the Berlin and the Paris Botanical Gardens both only held seven species of exotic orchid! The Viennese had the most with a whole eleven special which in England there were merely three exotic orchids. These low numbers were not for want of trying, countries were importing orchids all the time, however, they were dying in transit, or not being kept in conditions which allowed for the plants to survive their new climates.

Jean Linden was instrumental in increasing our knowledge of orchids, when in 1845 he travelled to South and Central America to study the orchids? natural environment. The reports which Linden wrote were crucial in the recreation of the moist environments which we now associate with most orchids.

Many of the early entrepreneurs who thought that this would be the way to make their millions were cut short in their ventures as they experienced huge losses as a result of the number of orchids not surviving the initial journeys. There were only four successful companies in Britain, one of them being Sanders, who continued to grow in the orchid market for many years afterwards.

In the early nineteenth century Dr Salisbury studied the germination of the orchid and from this much was learnt which enabled the industry to progress and many of the orchids which were imported suddenly became a more viable investment. With this new knowledge a gardener working for Veitch first tried to cross different orchid species in 1853. It was not until 1856 that the first orchid hybrid was created. From this time on many more hybrids were to be created. Mr Dominy who managed this probably had no idea how important this was and how it would change the future of orchid cultivation. To this day the perfect black orchid is still being sort after and is still illusive.

Today the special and rare qualities of the orchid are appreciated. In many areas there are species of orchid which are considered endangered and you can be prosecuted for picking or damaging these in any way. Some orchids are definitely for viewing only. The orchid family is the largest flower family known and will continue to grow with hybrids being created each year.Jon Kelly is a published author who writes on many diverse subjects that includes advice and tips on Orchids. We hope to provide you with informative articles you can rely on. To find out more please visit:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

All About Orchids

The orchid flower comes from a very diverse and the largest flowering family on the planet. It is also one of the oldest, 100 million years or soorchids have been growing on earth. This reason plus they are very versatile has enabled many species to multiple and multiple. It is believed that there are more the 35,000 species of orchid. There are also many more hybrid varieties of this wonderful flower family.

Although orchids have been around for a while they are still very popular. In fact, in recent years the have become more and more popular. They were first cultivated a few centuries ago although there beauty has been appreciated much longer than that. The Chinese and Japanese cultures were writing aboutorchids a few thousand years ago. Up the 20th century orchid cultivation remained in the spheres of the wealthy. In England, the aristocracy were keen orchid growers ever since the first global traders brought them back from the far corners of the world.

Everybody knows that vanilla comes from a plant. You may be surprised to know that it is actually an orchid where vanilla is derived, the planifolia to give it its correct name. Vanilla is solely grown for its commercial value as opposed to most otherorchids which are very beautiful plants and grown for their beauty. Many farmers around the world grow the orchid crop just for the vanilla seeds.

There are many orchid fanatics around due to the beauty of the orchid flower. It is not only humans that appreciate orchids, insects are attracted to orchids which in turn assists in reproduction.

There are flying insects such as bees which attracted into the pollinia of one particular orchid. The Bee Orchid looks very much like a female bee. The male be believes it is approaching a female when it is in fact assisting in the pollination process.

Here are some other examples of how orchids have evolved to reproduce:

Orchids with long stems that dance in the wind which look like butterflies.

Practical orchids which have landing platforms for insects to rest.

Orchids with slippery surfaces which insects slip on and fall into the flower ensuring nectar is brushed into the pollina.

The Angreacum Sesquipidales emits a scent to attract moths. In fact, Darwin wrote about this particular orchid. He predicted that a moth would be the insect to pollinate this orchid because the white flowered orchid emitted its scent at night.

Nigel owns OrchidCareExpert, a website which contains lots of useful information if you wish to know more about orchid care orchid care.

by:   Nigel Howell

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Buying Your First Orchid

Things to Know Before Orchid Fever Turns Into Orchid Panic 

Try to walk past a florist's shop window full of orchids without turning your head. Go on, I dare you! How could you not pause to look at something so exquisite in beauty and complexity? There is an undeniable star quality present in orchids that sets them apart from garden-variety geraniums and pansies. Many a wallflower has been left behind in the orchid's rise in popularity over the years to its current status as one of the most popular flowering plants sold the world over.

Now, before you rush out and buy the first orchid that catches your fancy, you might want to pause for a moment to get better acquainted. For starters, you should ask how long the blooms last. Will it bloom again and is there anything you should do to help it along? Do you plan on keeping this plant for a few years, or will you simply discard it once its blooms have faded?

Most orchid flowers should last somewhere between two and six weeks in the home. For a much longer bloom period, choose phalaenopsis orchids, which can last anywhere from one to four months or more in bright, indirect light. Since the great majority of orchids sold every year are phalaenopsis, commonly called moth orchids, chances are this is the variety that you are most familiar with.

Moth orchid blooms can measure anywhere from 2-4" in diameter and are mostly found in white or shades of purple. For an interesting variation, look for striped or spotted moth orchids. Among my personal favorites are the white Harlequin-style varieties bearing spots in shades of burgundy and purple. Also of note are the harder to find, but spectacular-looking, yellow moth orchid cultivars with red stripes. Miniature moth orchids are also available in diminutive 1" diameter blooms and can be found in a wide range of colors.

If your conditions tend to be a bit on the shady side, try the very exotic-looking paphiopedilums, also called lady slipper orchids. You might also have success growing Ludisia discolor, the jewel orchid, which has wonderful blackish-brown leaves with reddish-brown stripes and bears tiny columnar clusters of white flowers.

For a sunny window try oncidiums, a large group of orchids commonly referred to as ‘dancing ladies,’ so called because their large sprays of blooms appear to dance in the wind. You might also look at cattleyas, a particularly showy, colorful, and often deliciously fragrant group of orchids.

A few other things to take note of when shopping for orchids are an equal mix of buds and open blooms, healthy looking green leaves free of spots or abrasions, and a vigorous root system. Buying an orchid with around three-quarters of its blooms already open will ensure greater longevity and enjoyment of your orchid flowers.

Black, brown, or yellow spotting on an orchid's leaves or roots could be a sign that improper watering, extreme temperatures, or a fungal problem may exist, and these plants are better off avoided altogether.

Healthy orchid roots are thick and white or greenish-white, and they may be growing so vigorously that they've escaped from their containers entirely and are hanging over the sides. This is an indication of good health, as orchids grown in their native rainforest environment like to have their roots dangling in the tree canopy to catch run-off from moisture and nutrients. You should saturate all of an orchid's roots every time you water to prevent dieback of either roots or foliage.

Following these steps will ensure months or even years of satisfaction from your new orchid, as well as a refreshing taste of the tropics indoors to enjoy year-round.

More information about the author and celebrated New York City landscape designer Amber Freda can be found on her website,

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wedding Flowers On A Budget

Florists don't specialize in cheap wedding flowers so if you're buying the flowers through a florist order flowers that will be in season. Daffodils are beautiful and not very expensive in the spring but horrendously priced at other times of year. Roses, carnations and mums are year round flowers usually reasonably priced.

Flexibility in your color choices can bring down costs. Yellow and white are the most common flower colors, followed by red. Blue is rare, as is purple. True black in nature doesn't exist. If you have got to have black, use silk flowers. You can mix silk flowers with real ones as long as the silks are small flowered.

Florist prices depend on the variety of the flower, how many flowers and how long it takes to make the arrangement. Wedding flowers aren't cheap at a florist. The simpler the arrangement, the less time they have to spend on it, the less expensive the arrangements. If you have got to have exotic flowers like orchids, place one stem in a tall slender vase. You'll get the glamour at a lesser cost. You can use oriental lilies the same way. Usually there are three flowers on each stem. Place one stem in each narrow tall vase.

To really save on flowers and get cheap wedding flowers, don't use a florist. Grocery stores these days have a fabulous assortment of blossoms and bouquets. And they come in a variety of colors. If you want an arrangement for each table at your reception, buy an inexpensive glass vase and a bunch of flowers from the grocer. Place flowers in vase and you're done. If the colors are of paramount importance you can talk to the flower manager to see what she/he has ordered for the week of your wedding. You can then have the correct color bouquets saved just for you.

Roses are only expensive at two times a year, Valentine's and Mother Day. Other times of the year they can be had for as little as $10 a dozen. Buy five dozen and you have enough for ten tables when you fill in with greenery. You can also buy flowers wholesale online. Just make sure that you don't need a retailer's license and that the minimum quantity is something realistic. 12 dozen roses sounds like a lot, but if you have 8 tables at your reception, the cake table, and a drinks table, you've just used 12 dozen roses. Keep in mind flowers from wholesalers are shipped in the tightly closed bud state. You will need some place to store the flowers and keep them in water. And leave enough time, two or three days after delivery for the buds to open up a bit.

Whether you order the flowers online or pick them up from your grocers the flowers need to be prepared. Strip off all the leaves from the stem that will be below the water line in the vase. Recut each stem at a 45 degree angle and immediately put in a bucket of ice water. If the buds are tightly closed and you want them to open place the buckets in a warm brightly lit room. If you want to slow down the flower's from opening place the buckets in a dark cool room.

The easiest way to transport the flowers from home to the wedding site is to keep them in the buckets and place them in the vases at the site.

You can save money on cheap wedding flowers and your guests will never know. Your wedding will still be beautiful.

Author Resource:- Get your free copy of Weddings on a Budget. Dee Power is the author of several nonfiction books. She loves coming up with cheap wedding ideas.

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