Phalaenopsis X intermedia in our backyard

My mother, aunts, grandmother maternal side are very fond of  growing orchids. However they are all partial to man-made hybrids.  Genus  like Semi-Terete Vandas, Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Spathoglottis were their favorites  .  For some native orchid species  like Dendrobium anosmum ( sanggumay)  , Phalaenopsis x intermedia among others. They also like them since they have large blooms and powerful scent.

Phalaenopsis X intermedia

Growing butterfly orchids  is uncommon in our place. We lived in a subdivision with a lot of garden spaces . Most orchid growers prefer long lasting and big flowering orchids ! We have acquired our first butterfly orchids when i was still  in grade school. There are some ambulant orchid vendors  every Wednesday or weekends which are selling native orchids and hybrids near the church of Our Lady of Mercy in the heart of Novaliches town proper. Some of them sourced their orchids from Baclaran, Manila Seedling Bank, Bulacan province .

butterfly orchids

Most people call Phalaenopsis X INTERMEDIA  orchid as butterfly or moth orchids ( a natural hybrid with a lot of color variations )  .  Their flowers are quite small  2.5 inches or about 7 cm  . BUT they are pretty especially if grown into a specimen sized – flowering plants.  Some specimen- sized butterfly orchids can bloom for several months with dozens or even hundreds of flowers per spike.  I have bought a much bigger Phalaenopsis aphrodite at a weekend market several years ago. The orchid is blooming a lot and had several keikis .

a neighbor with lots of dancing lady orchids grown at their backyard and mounted on their palm

Until a very unfortunate event last year when our neighbor began their construction of a 3 or 4 story warehouse/ residential area which increased their perimeter walls several stories high . When the construction workers began pouring cement mixture,  Most of our orchids , ferns , hoyas which are now specimen- sized were the first casualties !!!! OMG. When i reach home  at nigh-time, We could not save all of those orchids and plants.

We only managed to salvage some of the orchids and hoyas. Eventually most of the orchids , ferns and hoyas died due to the cement mixture .

We still manage to save some of the Dendrobium anosmum ( sanggumay) Dendrobium cucullatum ( fairy sanggumay ) but i must say that we lost more than 100 specimen -sized clumps due to the pouring of cement mixture. Tsk Tsk Tsk ….  Some of those orchids were bought from different weekend  or flea markets in the city and some provinces that we visited..   As a good neighbor –  We keep on reminding the foreman and even the owners of what happened.  It seems it fell on a deaf ears !

I just transferred the remaining butterfly orchids on a palm tree and tried to cover the roots with fern roots ( pasdak ) in order to retain the moisture and sprayed some fungicide before the onset of the rainy season.  The shady palm fronts help deflect the excess rain water and wind.  after several weeks and months – The butterfly orchid roots slowly enveloped  the palm trunk and the straw rope use for mounting the orchids had rotted away.

I began the twice a week,  application of 20-20-20 soluble fertilizer a month ( normally i only apply 1/4 of the package  recommendation) .   We also water our orchids with  fresh rice washings  ( hugas- bigas) often delegated to my mom or sister.

After several more months, We were rewarded with the beautiful spikes and dainty white with splashes of yellow at the mid-lobe flowers !!!

locally called butterfly or moth orchid- The flowers resembles butterflies or moths in flight

This orchid species although quite common in the provinces is slowly getting very hard to come across in our locality . Most housewives and orchid growers prefer the hybrids rather than growing the species.  Majority of them would have a  smear remark ” Native Lang Iyan at Maliit and mga Bulaklak” They are Native and Their Flowers are Small  .  But i guess they never knew if i tell them that most modern orchid hybrids can trace their lineage to our small and native orchid species. !!!!!

Much of our orchid collections are gone , but what still remain are a treasure to behold.

Philippine Orchid Society- Christmas get together

Purificacion Orchid Haus, Manila Seedling Bank compound, Quezon City-Philippines

Mrs. Luz Santa Ana

 Philippine Orchid Society’s board of directors and members decided to donate the Christmas party funds to the  Philippine National Red Cross -Quezon City chapter to help the Typhoon Haiyan  (local name :  Yolanda) . In lieu of what happened , some members decided to contribute home cooked meals , home-made specialties ,  regional specialties and have a more meaningful Christmas . The  simple get together was attended by about 40 members and some special invited guests.

 Philippine Orchid Society members

The simple get-together started at around past 6:00PM. I arrived at around past 8:30 pm at the venue area after the disappointing  Neon Invasion Fun Run ( December 7, 2013) held nearby Quezon Memorial Circle  .  Almost everyone had already finished their meals except for 1 or 2 guests.

Philippine Orchid Society members

The pot luck meal  is still very impressive, almost everyone brought something to share , ube , mocha cake and egg pie by Mr. Frandel Recto, Lechon by Ms. Vangie Go, Pancit Canton , Pancit Malabon, Spaghetti, Traditional Ham, Tanigue , soft-drinks , coffee,  beer, candies , barbecue, local fruits and desserts ! It was more than what  everyone was expecting ! FOOD Fiesta Galore !!!!

Ms. Vangie Go – President of the Philippine Orchid Society

There were some parlor games and karaoke at the site. i was too busy eating and chatting with some of the members and invited guests that i forgot to join their parlor games !!!!

Ms. Nena Covey

Ms. Nena Covey is one of the 5 winners of ” Early BIRD ” she arrived at the venue before 6:00PM.

Ms. Vangie Go and Ms. Sol Pagcatipunan – exchange gift

Then there was the attendance raffle , early bird gifts  , exchange gifts , chit chats with fellow orchid and plant enthusiasts . 2014 promise to be BIG and preparations for the 2015 Flora Filipina International Exposition will set a bar higher in the Philippine horticulture industry.

Ms. Jenny F. Rivera ( office secretary)  hand over the check to Philippine National Red Cross -Quezon City chapter last December 11, 2013 .

Note: I must say that i am proud to be a lifetime member of this society. A society who knows how to care and share whatever small “things” that we can muster to save in our own little way. I hope that every legitimate NGO group can also help our society and in nation building !