Flowers for Mom
May 8, 2008 2:43 PM   Subscribe

With Mother's Day fast approaching, you may want to consider a gift of Orchidaceae. Orchids belong to the most diverse family of plants known to man. There are over 880 genera, 28,000 species and well over 300,000 registered cultivars currently documented. First, choose one you would like to cultivate. Then, learn how to buy your first orchid. Finally get the scoop on growing them yourself. Mom will give you a hug, 'cause everyone needs a hug.
posted by netbros (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Uh, my mom hates orchids. She does love potatoes though. I should give her potatoes we can plant together. We will watch them grow and later we will eat them. That will make my mom happy I think.

I don't mind orchids and hugs though.
posted by uandt at 3:03 PM on May 8, 2008

I have discovered that one of the few redeeming things about getting old is that you don't spend money on Mother's Day.
posted by Postroad at 3:18 PM on May 8, 2008

My mother would never forgive me for giving her an orchid for Mother's Day. She likes gaudy, shiny, totally over-the-top crap.
posted by HotPatatta at 3:39 PM on May 8, 2008

When I read some wiseguy's comment once that only humans would find giving the sexual organs of other species to be a romantic gesture, it occurred to me that we better hope like hell, if we ever meet aliens, that they don't find us pretty....

I don't share either of those images around Mother's Day, however. (well, except on MeFi, but you people don't count. :-) ) I just shut up and buy flowers like a good consumer.
posted by Malor at 3:53 PM on May 8, 2008

Postroad: So you're saying that one of the best things about getting old is your mom is dead?!?!
posted by blue_beetle at 3:54 PM on May 8, 2008

Ah, the line was meant to be a bit twisted! In fact, when I was 18, in the army, on the coast opposite from where my mother live, I called home, collect--I was broke--to wish her a happy Mother's Day...see I care. Even though callous even when much younger.
posted by Postroad at 4:00 PM on May 8, 2008

I have discovered that one of the few redeeming things about getting old is that you don't spend money on Mother's Day.

No flowers for the grave, eh?
posted by Mblue at 4:00 PM on May 8, 2008

Oooo, I love orchids (well, maybe not those ubiquitous white or purple Phalaenopsis pancakes-onna-stick) but my big trick is to adopt orchids from people who are about to discard theirs after the bloom is gone. Seems like everyone has a clay pot with two leathery leaves hanging out of that that they've given up on. I stick them on a bottom shelf in my mini-greenhouse, water them when I remember to, and bring them into the house when they grow a new flowering stem. I've had friends over who have said, "Hey, I had an orchid last year that looked sort of like that one," (Um, that *is* your orchid).

It's a madness. The book The Orchid Thief only hints at the insanity orchids can bring on to the unsuspecting.
posted by jamaro at 4:04 PM on May 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Who the hell hates orchids? Everyone likes orchids. uandt, are you sure your mother is - well - your biological mother and not just a reptilian alien replacement in a uandt-mother skin to get you to imprint on her?

I understand one way to check is to surprise them with a quick HARD punch to the nose and see if a forked tongue comes out of their mouth by accident. Let us know what happens, okay?

Oh, and happy mother's day to her if she's real.
posted by yhbc at 5:22 PM on May 8, 2008

Oh, and happy mother's day to her if she's real.

I've only met a few people that never had one.
posted by Balisong at 8:04 PM on May 8, 2008

Well not only are flowers reproductive organs but the word "orchid" comes from the Greek "orchis" meaning "testicle." Give your mum testicles for her special day.
posted by binturong at 10:22 PM on May 8, 2008

Who the hell hates orchids?

Well hate is probably the wrong word but she does often curse "Damn epiphytes!" in the presence of most of the common household orchids. I believe she doesn't think freeloading off other plants is a proper thing to do. If the orchid grew in some bog somewhere my mom would be ok with it.
posted by uandt at 11:35 PM on May 8, 2008

Plus, let's not forget their value as instruments of passive-aggression.
posted by Mayor West at 5:14 AM on May 9, 2008

Oh, jamaro! WHY did you you have to invoke THAT book?!?! (and with it, the wretched half-a**ed attempts at making it into a film).

Though 'tis definitely true, those flowers do seem to bring out some of the worst human behavior, betrayal and murder for starters ... and then there's the ecological rape that has occurred when the locals learn that the crazy Anglos will pay for "those plants" and they proceed to uproot all of them that they can find. And that's for the reputable buyer/collectors!

Yes, I grow. Got one in spike even now. We try to grow localized species whenever possible, or primary hybrids. But we've cut down the size of our collection considerably.

They are amazing plants and I always get a kick out of telling people about seeing blooming examples of the four major Cypripedium of North America, in the space of week, in lower Michigan. Their first response is usually, "Orchids? In Michigan?!" ... oh, yeah!
posted by aldus_manutius at 8:04 AM on May 9, 2008

Where I live it's very popular to plant orchids on trees. One of my neighbors started it, and I now have 4 orchids plus one bromeliad stuck to my trees.

You take the orchid out of the pot, keeping some of the moss around the roots. Use a nylon stocking or other piece of cloth to fasten it tightly to the tree. If necessary, add more moss and/or bark chips. After a few months, the orchid's roots will penetrate into the tree bark.
posted by mike3k at 11:32 AM on May 9, 2008

Why not buy mom an instrument of active aggression instead?
posted by anthill at 1:32 PM on May 9, 2008

Why not buy mom an instrument of active aggression instead?

Because "Clean your room...::zzzot!::" is just wrong.
posted by jamaro at 2:57 PM on May 9, 2008

The Orchid Thief, mentioned above, is a wonderful book, adapted for film as, well, Adaptation, which includes one of my favorite movie monologues of all time:

Point is, what's so wonderful is that every one of these flowers has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it. There's a certain orchid look exactly like a certain insect so the insect is drawn to this flower, its double, its soul mate, and wants nothing more than to make love to it. And after the insect flies off, spots another soul-mate flower and makes love to it, thus pollinating it. And neither the flower nor the insect will ever understand the significance of their lovemaking. I mean, how could they know that because of their little dance the world lives? But it does. By simply doing what they're designed to do, something large and magnificent happens. In this sense they show us how to live - how the only barometer you have is your heart. How, when you spot your flower, you can't let anything get in your way.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:32 PM on May 10, 2008

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