Sunday, March 27, 2011

Orchid Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden

I went to my first orchid show today, the spring show and sale of the Illinois Orchid Society. I've never been wild about orchids but I find that the more I see them, the more they grow on me. (Because they're epiphytes! Get it?) Plus, it is always fun to spend time with serious plant geeks.

I had my first up-close look at the (in)famous Blue Mystique phalaenopsis orchid introduced this year. It attracted plenty of attention and photographers, but I was gratified to hear that when customers found out it's artificially colored, they lost interest. Breed me a true-blue and then we'll talk.
I find that I very much like the Paphiopedilum orchids. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough cash to get one of my own. Next year?
I also liked the obscure orchids, including the species orchids, which have not been bred and hybridized into such foofy shapes. This subtle Acianthera chamensis was extremely appealing.
Vanda 'Sansai Blue' and its companions showed off some of the purples orchids can achieve.
The show judged on individual plants and on displays. I liked this collection with a range of warm colors.
Not a great picture, but another genus that appeals to me is Masdevallia.
The marketplace was hopping!
Of course I bought things. I knew after wandering the market that one of the orange cattleya-type orchids would need to go home with me. I browsed until I found just the right color, and ended up with Potinara Love Passion 'Long Vacation.' Potinara is a hybrid of hybrids, in the Cattleya alliance. This one is a lovely rich orange with a touch of red in the throat; in shape it reminds me of a jonquil.
I also bought a Miltassia C. M. Fitch 'Izumi' (Oncidium alliance) off the orchid society's sale table for $5, because I can't resist cheap fixer-uppers. It desperately needed repotting and watering, but a nice person at the orchid society's repotting booth divided it, potted it, and gave me piles of advice. I was told the flowers would be yellow but Google says it will actually be purple/red and spotty and cute in a lanky way. IF it survives!

Finally, I bought a cheap bare-root plant, only because of the name. Meet Miltassia Dark Star 'Darth Vader.'
"I find my lack of soil disturbing."



That blue orchid is cool, but once you learn how they do it it kind of ruins it. It's cheating and similar to the grade school projects where you change the color of blooms by adding food coloring to the water.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Yeah, orchids are not carnations! I think it's funny I spent 7 bleedin' hours setting up for an orchid show, but wasn't able to attend the actual show! Do like the orange orchid.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I didn't notice before, but those black fabric dividers look exactly the same as ones I set up! :) Though we used landscape fabric as our table ruching. :)

garden girl said...

Very cool! I love orchids. Until I can get my (supposedly easy) phalaenopsis to rebloom reliably, I probably won't be getting any more, especially not the more temperamental (and expensive) varieties.

The blue one does nothing for me. I really like the spotted foliage on the Paphiopedilum.