Saturday, July 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Vanda orchids

It is with some trepidation that, for my next reportorial effort, I enter the world of orchids. (This, after tomorrow's story on seed-collecting.) I've always found them very beautiful but know little about them. Perhaps that's good. I can be a stand-in for everyone out there who's ever been intimidated by them. This morning I visited Parkside Orchid Nursery in Ottsvile, way up in northern Bucks County. It was a hike and a half to get there, but well worth it. Tom Purviance and John Salventi run the nursery, and Tom graciously gave me a tour of their five greenhouses. This is a vanda orchid, for obvious reasons a very popular kind. Have you ever seen such a purple? Vandas are a sun-loving orchid, usually bright lavender with blue undertones. This one has a pale white pattern overlaid, large blooms with flattened petals, often said to look as if it's "sprinkled with diamond dust." It was breath-taking, and I'm glad I got this photo before my lens and glasses fogged up. I have others from my visit that have that gauzy, romantic look. It was just the humidity in the greenhouse! I'll be learning a lot more about orchids in the days ahead - that's the plan anyway, so I can share it all in a story next Friday in Home & Design.

Vanda orchids

Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)
Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)

It is with some trepidation that, for my next reportorial effort, I enter the world of orchids. (This, after tomorrow's story on seed-collecting.) I've always found them very beautiful but know little about them. Perhaps that's good. I can be a stand-in for everyone out there who's ever been intimidated by them. This morning I visited Parkside Orchid Nursery in Ottsvile, way up in northern Bucks County. It was a hike and a half to get there, but well worth it. Tom Purviance and John Salventi run the nursery, and Tom graciously gave me a tour of their five greenhouses. This is a vanda orchid, for obvious reasons a very popular kind. Have you ever seen such a purple? Vandas are a sun-loving orchid, usually bright lavender with blue undertones. This one has a pale white pattern overlaid, large blooms with flattened petals, often said to look as if it's "sprinkled with diamond dust." It was breath-taking, and I'm glad I got this photo before my lens and glasses fogged up. I have others from my visit that have that gauzy, romantic look. It was just the humidity in the greenhouse! I'll be learning a lot more about orchids in the days ahead - that's the plan anyway, so I can share it all in a story next Friday in Home & Design.

About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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