ABCs of Orchids
On Saturday, while looking at cherry blossoms, I did sneak in for a stroll through the United States Botanical Gardens. Currently they have an “Alphabet of Orchids” exhibit, which provided plenty of opportunities for pictures.
Looking at these beautiful plants, I felt whisked away. I could picture people paddling canoes through treacherous tropic rivers and climbing up in the canopy of trees just for the possibility of a glimpse of one of these flowers. Orchids seemed so exotic and unattainable.
It wasn’t until I was back home in Southwest Virginia, killing time before the next installment of HBO’s John Adams, that I paused and thought, “Wait a second! I’ve SEEN orchids here.”
They may not be as flashy as some of the ones on display at the National Gardens, but the Appalachian Trail is home to Pink Lady Slipper Orchids. I’ve seen them near Dragon’s Tooth and near Apple Orchard Falls.
The “A” in the “Alphabet of Orchids” stands for “Adaptation” and Wikipedia describes the flowers as “occurring in almost every habitat apart from deserts and glaciers.” The Appalachian Trail, being neither a desert or a glacier, safely falls in the “almost every habitat” category.
The “B” in the “Alphabet of Orchids” supposedly represents the big “Business” surrounding this type of flower. Somehow the U.S. Botanic Gardens managed to resist using the most tempting and obvious B-word of all. I’m not that strong. It’s cliche and corny, but also 100% accurate. Regardless if the orchid is from Asia, Africa or is practically in my backyard:
“B” could stand for “Beauty”