Sunday, January 27, 2008

Orchid Extravaganza

The Central Illinois Orchid Society held their Orchid Show at The Urbana Free Library this week-end. What an exquisite antidote for winter-weary eyes! From shy and diminutive charmers to in-your-face flamboyants, it was a lovely show, offering at least a glimpse into the vast family of orchidaceae.

Orchids are among the most evocative of flowers: exotic, romantic, somehow mysterious, and at times, even a bit sinister. If you're curious, The Orchid in Lore and Legend by Luigi Berliocchi is a delightful, elegant little book full of interesting orchid history and charming illustrations.

Orchids aren't just beautiful, though, they're big business as well. For an entertaining look at the international orchid industry and the somewhat murky world of orchid collecting and obsession, try Eric Hansen's Orchid Fever: a Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy. By the time the book was published, Hansen found himself as obsessed with his subjects as they were with their orchids.

Orchid obsession turns deadly in Michelle Wan's new mystery series where British orchidologist Julian Wood keeps bumping into shadowy secrets and wrongful death while stalking wild orchids in the Dordogne.

Perhaps because of the mystique surrounding orchids and their cultivation, part of the mission of CIOS and their parent organization, the American Orchid Society, is to show that real people - even real people living in Central Illinois - can and do successfully grow orchids at home. If you missed the show (or if you went and found yourself tempted) your library, as always, can help. We have an extensive collection on orchids and how to grow them. Start now and perhaps it will be your orchid that lifts the heart of a winter-weary soul come next January.

No comments: