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Grown and shipped farm fresh from nearly 9,000 miles away, we know this new bouquet from Thailand will be among your favorites . . 

Orchids were first known in the Mediterranean region as “Orchis,” a reference to the Greek word for testicle because of their twin oval tubers. While orchids were considered useful in medicine over the years, the only orchid of true economic value was the Vanilla planifolia, the source of vanilla flavoring. This was cultivated by the Aztecs and brought to Europe by the Spanish Conquistadors.

While wild orchids were imported into Great Britain in the early 1700’s from the wilds of the West Indies and China, most did not fare well despite very expensive steps taken by the wealthy to raise them in hot, damp greenhouses. Those that survived sold for exorbitant prices – hence the reputation of orchids being a “rich man’s plant.” The prestige of owning an orchid has been perpetuated and has continued to this day.

Because of the ideal climate and natural growing conditions in Hawaii, the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture started work in the 1950’s hybridizing orchid plants. Their goal was to develop cultivars which would take advantage of the specific  growing environments so new orchids would offer high yields with long shelf life, while still preserving the beauty of the orchid blossom. By the early 1980’s, the University released a number of commercially viable cultivars, which today represent a vibrant industry in Hawaii.

But Hawaii isn’t the only orchid mecca! Due to its unique climate, Thailand has developed into one of the major commercial orchid producers in the world. Your bouquet this month consists of multiple stems of Dendrobium Sonia Bom (hence the name “Super Bom!”), which is the principal orchid from this country.

Once thought to have no fragrance, it is now known that a few orchid species offer stunning aromas. Properly handled (see right), you can expect days of pleasure from your Dendrobium Super Bom orchids.

SPECIAL CARE OF YOUR SUPER BOM ORCHID BOUQUET

1) Immediately remove the orchids from the shipping box, removing the plastic and cotton reservoirs from the stem bottoms. Immerse completely in cool water to draw any accumulated heat away from the flowers for 5 minutes.

2) Cut about one-quarter inch off each stem, enabling the stems to draw fresh water up, keeping the flower heads fresh and vibrant. Use sharp shears or a knife. Cut at an angle to prevent the stems from resting flat on the bottom of your vase. Remove foliage that will fall below the water line. Take care to keep the cut ends in water at all times.

3) Fill your thoroughly clean vase three-quarters of the way with cool water.

4) Assemble your arrangement, adding greenery, if desired. Be sure to leave enough room between the fragile flowers to avoid bruising. The enclosed plant food will extend orchid longevity.

5) Refill the vase with cool fresh water and re-cut the stems every other day. To prolong freshness, display out of direct sunlight, and away from drafts and fruit. Remove damaged or dying stems. To freshen, soak the entire stem and flower in room temperature water for 45 minutes. Best to allow the stems to air dry before re-arranging.

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Tracie Burket
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