From my Chinese brush-painting classes I learned that “orchid” – which is one of the first four plants we were taught to paint – signifies spring among the “four gentlemen”.
The popular Cymbidiums (I assume we were taught to paint a species type) start coming into bloom here in late winter and, thanks to the variety of plants and hybrid breeding, can produce an ongoing display into summer. We have such a fortunate climate here that we can grow our Cymbidiums outside, in pots or in the ground as they are one of the few terrestrial orchids. A tip I heard from a good grower the other day was to fill the planting hole with bark so good drainage is guaranteed.
The orchid family is the largest plant family in the world – and more are being discovered in the wild all the time. If you so wish you could have some type of orchid in flower for each season – I’ve had Laelia gouldiana (native to the highlands of Mexico), for example, out this winter – while some of them, like my two little Restrepias, flower on and off all year.
The effect of seeing an orchid in flower can be tremendous.
Haiyan debris –
a search team spots
– Alegria Imperial, A Hundred Gourds 3.2 (2014)
Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines in 2013, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded.
the orchids’ uplifted
– Nathalie Buckland, paper wasp 18.1 (2012)
morning prayer …
an orchid absorbs
the sound of bees
– Hansha Teki, Multiverses 1.1
transit of venus –
into the orchid’s eye
– Sandra Simpson, A Hundred Gourds, 1.4 (2012)
earthquake season –
the moth orchid
begins to flutter
– Sandra Simpson, The Heron’s Nest VI: 9