Exhibition of orchids in the Botanical Garden of St. Petersburg
Tropics at sixtieth latitude
Each flower is a poem. A beautiful flower is a masterpiece. But what could be more beautiful than a blooming orchid?
From 4 to 11 November, an exhibition of orchids and bromeliads "Fragments of the Rainbow" was held in the Botanical Garden of St. Petersburg. This event, which happens only once a year, aroused great interest in the city's flower growers and our guests. To get to the greenhouse, people had to wait in line on the street for several hours. After a painful wait, seasoned with invigorating frost, visitors warmed up in the humid warm tropics and gasped with delight. Even with poor lighting in the greenhouse, it was as bright as day: every second hundreds of flashlights lit up. By evening, the flow of visitors dried up, and at night, when the lights went out and the pavilion became empty, mysterious tropical beauties plunged into a short nap in order to again become an object of attention and admiration in the morning, because an exhibition of orchids, in my opinion, is the most beautiful sight in the world. ..
Orchids and bromeliads - this is not only a fabulous beauty, but also an interesting object for studying and knowing all the splendor of the world around us. There is a legend that orchids are fragments of a magic rainbow, which broke into pieces, and they fell to the ground and turned into flowers to delight people with their unearthly beauty. Among them there are giants and babies, handsome men and gray "mice", fragrant and completely odorless plants. Most orchid species live in tropical and subtropical climates, but there are several orchid species that have also entered our harsh lands: for example, the well-known lady's slipper is also an orchid! Orchids are also very different from each other in their way of life: some of them (the most famous in home floriculture) are epiphytic plants attached by their roots to the bark of a tree, some are terrestrial, and there are also those growing on rocks and stones, that is, plants- lithophytes.
What unites these beautiful plants, scattered with rainbow fragments around the world? First of all, this is the specific structure of the flower. It has a pronounced symmetry and consists of three outer and three inner petals, one of which folds into a small "bowl" and is called a lip. In this case, the size, shape and color of the petals can be completely different.
IN depending on the soil and climate in which the orchid lives in the wild, the conditions for their maintenance in the house differ. Some orchids "sit" in a special mixture of bark, coal and moss (phalaenopsis), the second is quite ordinary earth (decorative leafy unpretentious ludisia), and if properly maintained, vandas can be kept "without anything" at all, hanging in an openwork pots or basket and not less than twice a day by spraying the roots hanging down with water from a spray bottle.
Some flowers are hygrophilous, others in no case should be "flooded" with too frequent and abundant watering, still others are capricious and love warmth, the fourth do not tolerate overheating, need a winter period of rest and are even taken out into a cool room or loggia (with a temperature not lower +13 degrees). And to learn about all this splendor and variety, the principles of care, as well as to choose an orchid to your taste, and you could even purchase it at the exhibition! However, it was also easy to buy some bromeliads there - magnificent and unpretentious houseplants that are much cheaper than orchids, are popular and easy to maintain.
Wandering along cozy paths, moving from hall to hall, visitors of the exhibition discovered more and more new beauties, marveled at the extraordinary diversity of the world of orchids. During the entire exhibition, there were consultants about each composition or species group of plants, who not only kept order, but also answered all the questions of the interested public. And the questions were very different: from stupid jokes of visiting onlookers ("can I pick a flower for myself?") To scientific topics and practical aspects: how to care for a particular orchid, in which area it lives, is it a natural form, or a hybrid bred by man, is it possible to purchase this rare curiosity for the home, etc. The consultants did not leave their green charges for a minute. They were either employees of the Botanical Institute, or volunteers from the St. Petersburg Society of Orchid Lovers (SPOLO).
The real excitement was caused by the exposition of dwarf orchids - in addition to a fascinating story, everyone was given a magnifying glass so that they could examine the structure of a tiny flower (less than a centimeter!) In all details and make sure that it is arranged no less complicated and intricate than the lush corolla of cymbidium, lace foam dendrobium, spiky "star" brassia or exquisite silhouette of phalaenopsis.
Each guest of the event could attend a master class on keeping orchids at home. Twice a day, BIN employees gathered everyone at the exit from the greenhouse to give them an hour-long lecture on orchids and show them in practice some of their essential. Of course, most attention was paid to phalaenopsis - the most unpretentious and popular orchid in indoor floriculture. It seems that we know everything or almost everything about phalaenopsis! Today, all sites are full of articles and advertisements calling for the purchase of phalaenopsis, hundreds of florists teach newcomers there and give useful advice on care, but doubting and mistaken would-be owners, desperate from failures, do not diminish. To understand how to put into practice all the necessary plant care operations, a demonstration was held at the master classes: what are the signs of a healthy plant, what the leaves should look like, how a healthy root system looks like, in what proportions it is necessary to mix the soil, how to properly tamp it when planting a plant in a pot, etc. All topics were covered - from the purchase of a "cute flower" to such complex issues as the independent production of soil for phalaenopsis, pest control, "resuscitation" of sick and dying plants.
Phalaenopsis, or, as it is affectionately called by flower growers in their jargon, "falik" is a favorite hobby of thousands of orchid growers all over the world. Today there are about 700 hybrid varieties and colors of phalaenopsis, so you can collect these orchids for a lifetime. Unfortunately, sometimes beginner growers cannot even independently determine the type of orchid they have purchased - on the label of Dutch potted plants they write only the word "phalaenopsis" or even more incomprehensibly: "orchid mix". The term "mix" means the hybrid origin of this or that variety, as if recognizing that it is a product of human selection activity.
In addition, even the most experienced orchid lover is never safe from buying a substandard or unhealthy plant. Therefore, as soon as the orchid has entered your home, it is necessary to examine it in the most careful way, like a doctor diagnosing a patient. Usually we buy or receive a blooming orchid as a gift, and during flowering, it is better not to transplant the plant, not fertilize or disturb it again. But it happens that the flower urgently needs to be saved, otherwise it will be too late! Therefore, first you need to wash the plant under a warm shower (you should buy phalaenopsis only in a transparent pot) and carefully examine the moistened root system, let the water drain (it should not stagnate in the pot). If all the roots are fresh, bright and green - you don't have to worry - this plant is absolutely healthy. Later, when the plant is dry, the existing dry roots must be cut back to healthy tissue. After this procedure, do not water it for three days. However, if there are spots or traces of rot on the roots, the phalaenopsis must be urgently rescued and transplanted. In this case, you will have to sacrifice flowers, which will probably wither and crumble soon, but the plant will survive.
On the site of our magazine - - there are several articles on the maintenance of orchids at home. But the delightful overseas beauties are getting more and more fans, so we will come back to this wonderful topic - orchids, small pieces of the heavenly world, multi-colored fragments of the rainbow.
See you next year! Do not forget to take your camera and good mood with you.
photo of the author