Wednesday, September 7, 2016

With a little orchid love (Malaysia Day article #7)

Sarawak state flower
Phalaenopsis bellina
Orchids produce flowers that can last for weeks and even for a whole month. For that reason they are being loved the world over. In a tropical climate like Sarawak where there are no distinct seasons, orchids can be grown the whole year round.  The Phalaenopsis bellina orchid is the State Flower of Sarawak, and is sometimes called 'Normah Orchid'. Orchids can be very prolific and vigorous provided the necessary conditions are observed when one indulge in cultivating them for home gardens. How would you display them so that you and friends enjoy its showy, exotic and lasting flowers? Imagination, love and thoughtfulness about their habits and character are essential to have them exhibit  their timeless appeal. 

Orchids have many uses apart from the pure aesthetic pleasure we derive from admiring them.  Orchids are grown for medicinal and culinary reasons. The well -known Vanilla Orchid ( Vanilla planifolia) produces vanillin used to flavour chocolate, ice-cream and cakes. The bulb of Arethusa bulbosa, a Japanese orchid is a good remedy for toothache. In many countries the orchid nurseries and gardens are important places  visited by tourists and orchid enthusiasts who come from far away destinations. Orchids arrangement make delightful table pieces, bouquet, corsage or 'bridal guard'. It is a thing of beauty that always brings us joy. I have created a blog dedicated for the love of orchids and the link is here...>>>>
A thing of beauty is a joy forever (John Keats)

Displaying orchids in towns or residential areas require a little bit of understanding on the requirements of these unique plants. Generally, species collected from cool altitudes do not grow well in hot lowland regions. Thus the environment may need to be modified by locating them in shaded or cooler areas of the garden. Some species can be displayed in a rockery.  The Spathoglottis species are terrestrial or ground orchids and growing in limestone hills they are suitable specimens for garden rockeries. The most common of the Spathoglottis species is the Spathoglottis plicata and since they have been in cultivation for quite sometime, they are now available in colours of yellow, pink, purple or mauve and white and also combinations of yellow, orange and purple (see below).
Spathoglottis plicata in various hues - yellow and purple, placed amidst rocks and an artificial stream for its modified environment, a method that can be copied in home gardens.

I am keen, however,  to plant orchids naturally and by that I mean allowing them to cling on to trees especially oil palm trunks that provide ideal conditions for its growth with minimum care. Below are some examples:-

Once caught in the fever and depending on one's interests and willingness to be challenged, orchid growing can be a life-long hobby. Through trial and error, much money and ingenuity one can very slowly become an 'expert' on cultivating them. The interest can blossom into a semi-hobby or semi-commercial pastime because you can sell orchids and perhaps the income can self-sustain the maintenance expenditure and the purchase of more orchid types.

" A thing of beauty is a joy for ever;

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing."

( John Keats)

Happy Malaysia Day Sarawak!

Note: This is Article #7 in a series to celebrate Malaysia's national day (Malaysia Day) - 16 Sept  annually)

No comments:

Post a Comment