The Orchid Grief

Say whut?

It’s that time of year in Japan when students are graduating and teachers are changing jobs, which means farewell parties, which means… bouquets. And I happen to know that I have some orchids coming my way (I overheard them being ordered in the staffroom :-(). And although I truly appreciate their overwhelming kindness in spending a metric craptonne of cash on buying these amazing flowers, I’ve got to say – I really wish they wouldn’t.

I say this because I know without a doubt that my orchids are not going to survive. My green thumb is a bright shade of vermilion, which is bizarre because I have a family history of people who love gardening and I’m married to a man who is quite happy to devote a Saturday afternoon to potting herbs and harvesting seeds and other such earthy pursuits. For me, any plant that can’t survive six months of being forgotten about is pretty much a plant on death row.

And this makes me feel truly awful, because I absolutely adore flowers, and in particular orchids, which are finicky as anything and seem to regard dying as a pleasurable hobby. My orchid fascination began, of course, with The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean; I read the book with a sceptical eye, scoffing at the orchid maniacs, and then spend hours searching for images of orchids… and of course I promptly fell in love with the damn things. Orchids have nothing if not personality – their unique shapes and colours are so varied and so magnificent, and I love looking at things on a micro scale and finding shapes and secrets.

Year of the Dragon representing!

How can you not love a flower that looks like this? Why does my school have to make me feel like a flower murderer? Couldn’t they give me a gift voucher instead? (T_T)


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