Monday, January 25, 2010

POS Afternoon

Now, some may see that title and think "Uh oh. What horrible ordeal happened in the Parker House?"

And I could string you on for quite some time, but I've got carpool duties in 10 minutes, so you get off the hook.

POS isn't a bad thing when it stands for Peninsula Orchid Society.

Kelly and I spent the afternoon yesterday at the Peninsula Orchid Society's annual show and sale.

And it was a LOT of fun.

These were Kelly's (first) favourite orchids... the Cymbidium with the little chocolate brown centers.

Here, a little closer:

Can you believe this? Those things grow OUTSIDE here! The mind boggles.

I had fun looking at all the little tiny specimen plants, thinking "These things are ORCHIDS? Wild!"

That little flower is smaller than a dime. The leaves are quarter-sized. It was a 'best in class', but I forget what for.

These little spider-like things were SO fragrant!

There were big signs everywhere that said "Do not touch", but I think I broke the law several times by touching the flowers with my nose as I buried my face in several fragrant bundles.

The oddest looking things, too. Here's one where the flowers grow in spikes at the root level, and hang DOWN! I guess this plant grows on cliffs, or something. Go, epiphytes! WILD!

And this one! Man, it didn't look real. (confession time: I may have touched this one, because HONESTLY, those flowers looked like those fake tissue-paper flowers that you made in 2nd grade)

This next one was called "Medusa". I was honestly expecting it to smell like carrion, because once I'd had a succulent with similar-shaped flowers that stunk like rotting meat, and attracted every CSI-evidence fly for miles around. Fortunately, it just looked wild, and didn't smell. Whew!

And did you know that vanilla was an orchid?

I think I had known that, in the back of my brain, but I never thought I'd actually ever see one. OR... Own one! Yes, I succumbed to the romance of the fragrant bean, and now have a vanilla orchid vine snaking its way up the side of my kitchen window. I don't imagine that I will ever harvest vanilla pods from it, though. The flowers are only open for 8 hours, and they must be pollinated in the first 4 hours of that window. And then? The pod has to ripen on the vine for A WHOLE YEAR! And then? Then you've got to harvest it and DRY it carefully for another year, before you start processing it for flavor. Yikes. But for me? It's all about the vine. And the cool new greenery in my kitchen.

Also, interesting story that is true: I was looking at the display from this one orchid grower, and I noticed this lady coming up behind me in a walker, and I thought "Wow, deja vu... why do I know her?" and then I realized that I'd sat beside her at the funeral last week. And then the woman beside her says "Oh, Hello, Kemma!" and I knew that I knew her, but it was one of those 'out of context' things, and I was stumped, until she said "I'm a soprano." and I realized that I sing with her on Tuesday nights, but we just don't sit in the same section. Turns out the vanilla vines were raised by her niece. And she had two extras that were for sale. And, well, now she doesn't, because I bought one of them.

To add to my desire to sing "It's a small world", I was taking all these photos of the flowers, when I heard "Have you heard about our photo contest?" and turned around to see ANOTHER woman that I knew. I think we were BOTH surprised to see each other. I know her husband too, but didn't know that he'd been a member of the orchid society for coming up on 40 years. Several of his orchids were prize winners, so I took a few photos of him, too. I will be entering the photo contest, because the prize for the winning photo is membership in the society, and a free potted blooming orchid.

This was a very fragrant flower. And ENORMOUS!

These ones remind me of my grandmother. Back when I was a kid, she'd go out hiking in the mountains and come home with old bread-bags containing shovels-full of some shrivelled little plant, and the next summer, it would look like this in her garden. Her lady-slipper garden was unmatched. I'm sure that today it would be some environmental law violation, what she did, but back in the 60s and 70s, it was magical.

I loved this one. I think it was one of the big winners of the show.

But I think my heart belongs to these odd little creatures that don't quite look like the showy garden-variety bloomers:

And how about this? A BLACK flower!

The variety was astounding. I wish that I could have spent more time there. Next year... and next year, I bring a tripod, and an external flash, too, so I can take DECENT photos of the things that I see.

I have yet to take photos of the fragrant orchid that I bought and brought home for Ken. It's got tinier flowers, but such an incredible scent. I can hardly wait until next month, as there is another show down in Cupertino. I'll be sure to take the camera to that one, too. And Kelly wants to join me.

She should, seeing as she's now a member of the local orchid society...

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