Thursday, January 13, 2011

Number Four: Phalaenopsis 'aphrodite'

I walked into the Home Depot in a neighboring town, in search of something to mount one of my other orchids on -and let's be honest, I was curious about their plant selection. They were extremely friendly upon my entering and immediately pointed out to me that they had a new shipment of plants. They had never seen me before, so I assume that I've just taken on the appearance of a garden nut. Anyway, I noticed almost right away a HUGE cart of Phals, which I proceeded to ooh and ahh over. I told myself that A) I had no room for another Phal, B) My next orchid purchase should be another species, and C) That gigantic one with the humungous blossoms did NOT have my name on it. I drew myself away from the cart several times, but I kept coming back. On my third time back, one of the employees inquired about my fondness for the epiphytes. As soon as I realized I could converse with him about orchids, I ran my mouth up and down until I had thoroughly talked his ear off. I did, however, make an inquiry as to how the Home Depot cared for these plants. He replied that they followed the directions on the tags, giving them each 3 ice cubes every week (These plants were Just Add Ice Orchids; all of my phals have been Just Add Ice. It seems to be the only kind commonly found here). I inspected their soil and roots and was thoroughly satisfied, especially after my horror at the state of the Walmart orchids. The kindly employee also informed me that these plants had recently been marked down from $24 to $12, and I nearly fainted on the spot, what with the enormity of the plants. I knew I'd be coming back for the largest one with the huge, white flowers (after all, I didn't want to let the plant freeze in the car in the -15 weather while I ran my errands) After I had been over to various other places in town, I came back for it. They packaged it up very neatly in a brown paper bag seemingly suited for transporting orchids. I was delighted and will probably go back to the Home Depot for most of my orchid needs... :) It spent the ride home on the floor of the backseat, neatly and safely wedged in place.
At home, I thoroughly photo-documented the plant (as I do for future reference) and thought it'd be fun to take its measurements. It was the largest Phal I'd ever seen, though I'm fairly inexperienced. The flower stalk measured 34" -almost three feet! The largest leaf was 13" and the blooms were 5" across.
The bloom measures slightly less that 5" in this picture because of the curve of the petal.

I was surprised at the size of the buds as well. My thumb size is about a 6. The bud measured about an inch and a quarter.

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