Today we celebrate National Orchid Day which was created by Mike and Faith Young, who became enraptured with the blossoms after volunteering at an orchid reserve in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. It’s also a great opportunity to attempt a doodlewash of a flower. Despite flowers being such a common subject for watercolor, this is only the second time I’ve ever attempted them. Precisely what kind of orchid I’ve ended up with here is a bit of a mystery as there are over 25,000 documented orchid species in the world and horticulturists have produce more than 100,000 cultivars and hybrids.
Orchids were once so rare and exotic that they were referred to as the “plant of kings.” There were very few available commercially back when, but today, they can be picked up for less than 10 bucks at Home Depot and have become one of the most popular houseplants of all time. With proper care, orchids can live to be up to 100 years olds, so they’re quite a long term commitment. If you’re a fan of vanilla beans, you have the vanilla orchid to thank for delivering that wonderful flavor. The vanilla pods from these plants are plunged in hot water before they’re ripe and dried for 2 to 6 months.
Growing an orchid from seed is a rather daunting and challenging taste. They have the tiniest seeds in the world and can often take forever to actually sprout into a plant. The reason they exist at all in such numbers comes from human’s strong desire to grow them. Some believe this human affinity for them is because they possess bilateral symmetry similar to a human face. When you look at an orchid, it can actually appear to be looking back at you. Now, what it might actually be thinking, is still anyone’s guess.
Join me any and all days you like during April by celebrating a National or International Day with a doodlewash! Tag your image #doodlewashaday and I’ll feature everyone who played along on doodlewash.com at the end of the month!