|Publisher:||Timber Press, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||7.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
judywhite is author and photographer of the award-winning Taylor's Guide to Orchids (Houghton Mifflin 1996). A past trustee of the American Orchid Society (AOS), she has earned its highest prize for writing about orchid culture, as well as the AOS Silver Medal for outstanding service to the orchid community. Her photography has graced many books and publications, and has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution. A former research biologist and past editor-in-chief of one of the world's first mega-gardening Web sites, Time Life's Virtual Garden, judywhite is married to British garden writer Graham Rice. She is proud to say she has killed orchids on both sides of the Atlantic. Visit her Web site at www.gardenphotos.com.
Read an Excerpt
Introduction Once upon a time, you needed a pot of gold to be able to call an orchid your own. Thankfully, those days are long gone. Now you can’t even go to the supermarket without tripping over an orchid. They’re everywhere, from big box stores to garden centers, florists and orchid nurseries, on eBay and Amazon. Today, it’s not unusual to find orchids sold flowering in pots and baskets, packaged unbloomed in miniscule pots inside net bags (nicknamed “Baggy Babies”), or even trapped tightly in plastic blister packs like socket wrenches. That they survive and thrive shows, despite their exotic and fragile appearance, how tough orchids really are. Orchids have been transformed from priceless to popular for several reasons beyond just their ruggedness. First, we figured out how to sow and grow their seeds, which need sterile, laboratory conditions. Then, we learned how to clone them—again, in sterile conditions. That made it possible to create literally millions of plants from one original, quickly and relatively cheaply. And, during all these scientific breakthroughs, we’ve also been doing things by hand: taking pollen from one orchid plant and putting it on another, making over a hundred thousand kinds of artificial hybrids. Add those factors together and you begin to understand where all those Phalaenopsis Moth orchids come from. The explanation goes further. Because orchids have the unique ability to interbreed among different species and even different types, we’ve been able to create groups of orchids that would never exist in nature. The aim has been plants with lots of easy-to-grow hybrid vigor and spectacular flowers, gorgeous orchids that are incredible survivors. This mission has been particularly successful with the wide range of Cattleya-type orchids, as well as within all the interrelated Oncidium, the latter of which is often sold just as an “Intergeneric Orchids.” You’ll find the most dramatic variety within these two types than probably any other. Together with Phalaenopsis, these three major groups dominate the orchid plant mass markets. Some orchids, however, are still resistant to being cloned, and you see far fewer of their kind on the box-store scene. These include the easy-to-grow tropical ladyslippers (Paphiopedilum), among many others. Be sure to seek them out too, or you’ll miss some of the great treasures of the orchid world. This book has a mission, too—to help you discover some of the more commonly available, easy-to-grow orchids, to aid in identifying plants that have no labels (as is all too often the case), and to assist in deciphering the sometimes incomprehensible names on the labels of plants that actually have them. Oh, yes, and to tell you how to grow and bloom them. So go ahead, pick up an orchid or two, or twelve, or all fifty. They are definitely addictive. Give them as gifts, and throw in this book. We’ve got an exciting new world of orchids ahead of us.