Sunday, 15 April 2012

Ooh La la, Orchids !

If you love Orchids, you will go crazy on this entry.  This is all about Orchids, Orchids, Orchids!

I love flowers but I am not a green thumb.  My only experience is growing those backyard Kutsarita plants for my Home Economics class in Aroroy, Masbate.  Even the tiny decorative plants I got from Ikea, died a natural death, I simply don't know how to care for them.

But I digress....  Orchids!

One Thursday afternoon, my friend dzo and I breezed through the Botanic Gardens, a lush sanctuary situated within the heart of the city.  Nestled within the expanse of the park lies Singapore's National Orchid Garden ~ the Largest Display of Tropical Orchids in the World.

Entrance to the Botanic Gardens is Free, but you need to shell-out 5SGD to get into the Orchid garden.  It's worth it.  This is my 2nd time to the Botanic Garden but my 1st inside the Orchid Garden.  I didn't go the first time, because I was with my little boys who just might pull-out those lovely blooms.

Singapore takes Orchidology (if there's such a thing) very seriously.  If  you ever set foot at Changi Airport,  you will immediately be refreshed by the blooms of  Vanda Miss Joaquim, Singapore's National Flower.  
It's no ordinary orchid that was designated as such.  The exquite orchid is a hybrid, between the Burmese Vanda teres and the Malayan Vanda hookeriana; a certain local horticulturist Ms. Agnes Joaquim propagated it in her garden in 1893.
It's now widely used in Singapore as part of an overall effort to foster national pride and identity.  You can find it all over ~ in jewelry, coasters, brooches, paperweights, hairclips, photo frames, scarfs, shirts.  At the airport, they even sell fresh Vanda to bring home to your sweethearts.

When I was a kid, my maternal grandmother used to grow orchids in her weekend home in Quezon City.  I remember saving eggshells during the weekdays, and she will bring them to her hanging plants to drip the remaining egg whites.   I only recall seeing two different orchid species, white and purple; and I would ooh, and ahh whenever there's a new bud.

Now,  I am amazed at these wonderful varieties.  They look absolutely smashing. 

When my hub was still courting me,  eyebrows raised at the Magandang Gabi ... Bayan office at ABS-CBN when he sent-in a bouquet of white orchids, instead the usual red roses.  For the uninitiated, they smirk and say, "San Burol?"  Hahahaha.

But for those with discriminating tastes, we know that, Orchids are more expensive and classy than a bunch of common-place red roses.  Besides, they are more memorable!  See?  I can still remember them now...  more than all the rose bouquets sent-over many anniversaries thereafter.

White Orchids similar to the 1st Bouquet given by my then suitor, now husband :)

Inside this enchanting oasis, there are different sections.  The VIP Orchid Garden which houses orchid hybrids after visiting Head of States, dignitaries or  VIPs.   You know you are important visitor if Singapore names an Orchid after you!  Thus,  they have a Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, a Jean Cretein, a Princess Masako....
a unique hybrid presented to & named after the then-Prime Minister of England, Margaret Thatcher

a blossom cultured for the Emir of Kuwait, HRH Sheik Sabah Al-Ahmad

Rare green & purple orchid named after the visiting Prime Minister of Canda,
Jean Cretien
When new hybrids are created, the National Garden invites celebrities.  To commemorate their visit, the new hybrids are named after them.  Thus, we see a Jackie Chan orchid and world renowed tenor, Andrea Bocelli orchids.    (I love this concept!  No need to remember stuffy, Scientific Names for my botany class!)  

 Do you know that Wild Orchids compared to Cultured ones, often have delicate and intricate blooms? I don't really understand the difference till I saw the ones in the Orchidariums (wild orchids) compared to those displayed all over the place (cultured).  

I missed taking photos of other orchids in the Mist Houses, in there, the orchids are kept in garden simulated to a tropical rainforest.  There's a continuous mist, I didn't want to wet my camera.   :)

We chanced upon schoolchildren on a field trip. Aren't their uniforms cute?

The National Orchid Garden claims to have over 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrid in its collection.  Can you imagine handcrafting something alive and beautiful?  I can write a literary prose, someone can bake a cake,  cook-up  a gourmet dish, but Horticulturists.... are a different breed altogether.

Definitely as must-visit for those who love flowers ~ whether growing it or like me, just content to stare and smell the beautiful blooms.

Ending this entry with my self-made quote ~

Springtime or Not ~~~ Always be in Bloom!

'til next adventure,


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  2. Lovely post. Wonderful fotos! Grabe, ang gaganda ng orchids. Well, i can't grow flowers too. My friend from Holland visited me last January and brought various tulips...dead! =( kahit siguro gumamela i won't grow a perfect one.i can't have a green house in my own house for sure.
    So cute the kids' uniforms..parang me dance program lagi =)
    in fairness ha, me fan ka Ripemango sa taas. proud of you.
    Always be in bloom! Love it!

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    1. thanks for the opportunity, Malte. I emailed you privately.

  4. love your post .how i wish i can grow vanda here in northern ireland thu meron na rin akong mga orchids in pots.

    1. thanks salome! good luck in your gardening!

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