Sunday, March 02, 2008



Robb and I went into San Francisco yesterday, with the goal of attending the Pacific Orchid Expo at Fort Mason Center. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, Robb's back was giving him a lot of trouble, and he realized that hours of walking in a crowded flower show was not an activity that he would enjoy. Luckily, Robb generally carries his recumbent trike in the back of our car. So while I gawked at the exotic blooms, Robb went for a ride along the shoreline.

One of the very last things he and I did before his accident was attend a creative thinking workshop at Crissy Fields, presented by our letterboxing friend Paul. We've been back there a few times since then, and each time Robb has a very strong response to remembering the last weekend that he was entirely able-bodied. (I like to note the improvements that Robb has made whenever we re-visit a place we go infrequently. On our visit to Crissy Fields with Barbara and Jenny in June of 2006, Robb was considerably less spry than he was this time.)

For those of you who don't know San Francisco, it should be noted that Robb was in a Prime Tourist Location. While the trike gets a fair amount of attention in the East Bay, most of the people using those trails are locals, who've seen it all. Yesterday, Robb got to exemplify the Bay Area -- outdoorsy, unusual, and maybe a bit whacked-out. He was an exotic.

I did not bring along my bike, and was set on seeing the orchids. Robb and I have attended this show several times, and it was the first fun thing I got to do after Robb's accident. I had been at the hospital for weeks on end, Robb's parents were visiting, and I got some much-needed time to myself. Strolling through the artificial jungles of Fort Mason Center did me a world of good.

Want to take a walk with me?

Imagine an orchid. What do you see? Something big and showy? Something expensive and frilly? A flower painstakingly developed by orchid breeders, in climate-controlled hot-houses? Or do you see the newly-available relative cheap flowers that can be bought at Trader Joe's and the Home Depot?

So, where did that orchid come from? Who were its ancestors?

Maybe a flower like this one? This tiny flower -- which measures less than an inch from top to bottom -- looks like an orchid, more or less.

But what about this? Would you recognize this as an orchid? (Each of the individual flowers measures only about 1/8th of an inch in length.)

Or this? If you happened to be tromping through the wilderness, would you identify these tiny pendulous flowers as orchids?

These look more like insects than flowers.

Would you ever think this grass-like plant was an orchid in full bloom?

Would you call this an orchid?

Orchid pollen, dating back 45 million years, has been found on bees preserved in amber. Apparently, there well are over 20,000 species of orchids living on earth, making it the largest family of flowering plants on our planet. I can think of few things more lovely than spending a few hours with these exotic flowers.

(I spent a few dollars on orchid plants, too, but never mind that!)

Do these photos look weird and an pixelated to anyone? They look great on my Mac at home, and look terrible my computer at work.


Anonymous said...

the photos are spectacular!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

You would have loved this show, Sheila!

Gina said...

Thanks for taking us along with you! I second Sheila's's like viewing flower porn!


Anonymous said...

The fifth photo down on this latest blog is from a type of tree that grows all over Michigan, I believe.

It looks like it's from the Cottonwood tree.

We went to our first Support Hillary Clinton for President meeting today, it was sparsely attended, but full of enthuasium. We live in a very Republican area, and are loosing a kid a week from my former high school, who went to fight in Iraq. Sigh...

I put up my first Hillary for President sign in the front yard and got positive honks in the first 10 minutes.


. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I think the fifth one down is actually from Asia.

I wonder if you're thinking of the Golden Rain Tree, which grows in the midwest.

shiloh said...

Orchids are my favorite, wild orchids anyway.

Gina said...

To answer your question, Lisa -- the photos look GREAT on my computer. I'm all Mac, all the time, though, so I don't know if that makes a difference. Perhaps they are machines that are more in tune with beauty!

Anonymous said...

Photos look fantastic on my PC.

Wish I could have seen the orchid show. It sounds fantastic.

Knit Wit

knitica said...

Photos look great. Did you get a chance to see the orchid display at the botanical gardens at which Chris and I got married?

lisa said...

I was too busy looking at the Topiary T Rex to notice the orchids. Well, that, and beaming with joy for the two of you.

Lynne Rutter said...

the pictures look great!

i used to work that orchid show every year with my brother, whi is in the business. i got to learn a lot about orchids and am still fighting off the obsession with them that plagues so many enthusiasts.
all the orchids in my garden are only permitted to live there if they survive. adapt or die.

Criquette said...

The pictures are beautiful and very clear on my computer (I run Windows XP). You're right about the orchids - the diversity is amazing and your lovely photos really do justice to them.


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