Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Orchids Are Really for Everybody

There is a huge selection of plants available to us nowadays to lend us their charm as house ornaments and to give our homes and offices a welcome air of freshness and life. Further, we never get tired of them; in fact, we seek more of them, wanting to add new ones to our home and work places.

Flowers, in particular -- cut or potted or growing in the garden -- have great appeal to human beings. Those of us who are especially attracted to the "flower royalty" represented by the orchid are in good company.

Orchids have been called "conquerers of the light.". They astonish upon first encounter and continue thereafter to exert a profound fascination. Mother Nature has shown her liberality with the orchids. Their flowers delight us with their brightness and elegance. Their smell is sweet but never cloying. Their texture is then, which misleads many into assuming they are delicate. Yet they can last longer after being cut than many another ornamental bloom. From a flower connoisseur's viewpoint, about the only thing they lack is abundant foliage. But this is not a serious deficiency: one can always fill the space around them with fern leaves for an attractive arrangement.

It was long believed that these marvelous flowers were exceptionally delicate and difficult to grow. This was a mistake. It's not as difficult as many people assume to cultivate orchids; in fact, many hobbyist growers can outperform professionals when it comes to producing extraordinarily striking plants. The "trick," if you want to call it that, is to seek out accurate and complete information on orchid growing before acquiring your first plant. To assure success, you must educate yourself first; skip this preparation and you may be dooming yourself to failure.

One prevalent myth about orchids is that in order to thrive, they must have high heat. Not true, I'm pleased to report! Certainly, we know that orchids have their origins in the tropics. However, quite many of them, in their homelands, group high up the mountainsides, where it is crisp and cool. It would be a mistake to subject these coolness-hardy plants to high temperatures -- if the heat didn't kill them, it would at least stunt their development.

Whether you consider yourself a green thumb or not, you can grow these loveliest of flowers. Imagine surprising someone--a friend, family member, or a lover--with an orchid you yourself grew. Envision yourself culitvating gorgeous orchids that are so good they win prizes. Picture yourself going so far with your orchid growing hobby that it becomes a business, perhaps one big enough to provide you with a living. These things are all possible to you, even as an orchid newbie.

One of the best and most complete guides to modern orchid growing is undoubtedly Orchid Care Expert by Nigel Howard, available online. Now, there's tons of information out there about orchids. But Howard's is the most complete all-in-one reference that I've ever seen. You might also want to visit the Orchid Secrets web site, which has a growing database of articles on all aspects of orchids.

Here's to many years of orchid enjoyment!

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