Vanda Rosalind Cheok x Vanda Varut Leopard is the most expensive orchid recently added to my collection. It is this plant’s first time to bloom in 14 years. I guess it’s worth the wait for the red-mottled yellow flowers are quite large about 6 inches wide. Honestly, I wasn’t attracted to it at first or second glimpse but then again…once you’ve got orchid fever, you couldn’t resist to collect.
These sparkling yellow flowers belong to a hybrid vanda orchid. Each flower is more than 3inches wide and has scintillating petals and sepals. (Its like packets of gold dust are sprinkled on the flowers to enhance the color yellow). To attain these beauties, the botanists cross the following orchids: Vanda Kultana Gold- Udomchai x Ascocenda Golden x Gulf Ascodenda Suksamran Gold Udom.
“You need patience to be a good gardener. If you don’t have patience, and you stick with gardening, it will teach you patience.” –Bill Turull Jr. as quoted in “People, Places and Plants” magazine, N.E. / N.Y. Edition, Summer 2005
So true in the case of the Waling-waling orchid in the photograph above. Yesterday, this beautiful Vanda arrived in my garden from an orchid farm somewhere in Davao, Philippines. The dealers informed me that the plant stayed in that orchid farm for a long time because it failed to bear any flowers.
Upon closer inspection, I’ve noticed that the plant has sixteen pairs of evergreen strap-shaped leaves. (A pair of leaves represents a year in an orchid’s life.) Moreover, blue-green moss is visible around the base of the plant and on the roots. I’ve realized that it took 16 years for this hybrid (Vanda Madame Rattana x Vanda Rung Roeng) to yield its first flowers; and 16 years of toil and anticipation for the botanists to see the beautiful outcome of the hybrid Waling-waling orchid.
And it was worth the wait for the stalk of the plant bears 14 blossoms that could last for six weeks. The flat flowers are quite large, about 4 1/2 inches across. The upper petals are fairly uniform lavender with heavy blotches of dark red and the lower sepals are dark red.
I find the center of the flower very interesting though. In front angle, it seems that minute old lady is smiling back at me. The rosy column forms the head of the lady while the yellow anther looks like a face with a pair bulging eyes, a nose and a mouth. In addition, the dark red labellum or the lip looks like a skirt.
In gardens, beauty is a by-product. The main business is sex and death.
– Sam Llewelyn
These indigo flowers come from the Vanda Rothschildiana, a hybrid orchid between of the Blue Orchid (Vanda coerulea) and the Euanthe sanderiana. I’ve enjoyed looking at the 5 inches wide flat flowers bloom for at least 4 weeks.