Monday, 10 November 2008

Of Paphs and Vanilla

To nonchanantly throw around the name "paph" is a risky thing. You run into the possibility that serious gardeners will mistake you for one of their own and then you will be tragically, out of your depth. I am making tentative steps towards growing "paphs" or PAPHIOPEDILUM (say it: paf-ee-oh-ped-i-lum...the Slipper Orchid), I am now the proud owner of Paph. Maudiae; who like a true slippered-lady, is most kind and tolerant of learners. She has come home with a striking flower just to cut a little style.

The pictures really do not do justice to the beauty of this flower. I suspect that I may be a true slipper-lover but it remains to be seen whether the feeling will be reciprocated. Growing conditions are quite similar to phaleonopsis.

Unfortunately I have never been successful because I still do not have a proper orchid house.

So it was with a certain amount of vicarious-ness that I brought Miss Slipper home. At the moment she is ensconced on my windowsill, keeping company with my fussy ferns. I hope they make her feel welcome and reassure her that it is not my intention to kill her! As the rainy season is coming to an end, I will try with tomatoes again. I find growing them in the rain a useless and frustrating exercise. But I had fairly good results last year so I shall try again.

Do not be fooled by the casual nonchalance of this leaf. It is the shy VANILLA plant. Apparently it is likely that I shall have to hand-pollinate to get a pod, but I am willing to dress up as a large insect if the prize is a vanilla pod.