Of all the reasons not to go to the orchid show this year, I think the one closest to my heart is that it will prevent me from seeing a new batch of incorrectly-spelled orchid ID tags.
It's not that misspellings are traumatic in themselves. This one isn't even that bad, all things considered: a simple transposition of two vowels from a combination which doesn't appear that often in modern English (AE) to a combination that does (EA). Totally understandable. What really gets to me, though, is the lack of proofreading. You've already made the sign, it's sitting there right in front of you, you're looking at it -- how do you not pause for a fraction of a second to ask yourself, does this look right?
Or maybe it did look right. Which is perhaps even more upsetting.
Anyway. Thank you for indulging me in one more grumpy orchid-proofreading ramble before I stop doing the orchid posts. To reward you, I will tell you that the letters of the word "Phalaenopsis" can be rearranged in 59,875,200 distinguishable permutations,1 including "a snail shoppe," "a posh spaniel," "hapless piano," and "polishes a pan."
So this is the plant in question. I think there's a pretty good chance that it isn't Minho Princess. Why? I couldn't find any photos of Minho Princess on-line that looked like this. I mean, I suppose it could just be a really variable grex, but the photos I found all showed a mostly white flower, with a little pink-purple along the largest veins, and some more pink-purple at the margins. (Example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4, example 5, example 62) The online photos for a highly-variable grex shouldn't be this uniform. So I conclude that somewhere along the line, the wrong ID became associated with the plant, probably at the original seller. Sellers don't think their customers give a crap about IDs, so they don't feel like they have to give a crap about IDs either.
I like the plant. The blooms are obviously pretty striking close-up, but the contrast was visible from surprisingly far away, too. I wish there was some way of, you know, learning the name of this plant that I like.
[Phalaenopsis Minho Princess = Phalaenopsis Sun Prince x Phalaenopsis Ta Lin Freeds (Ref.), though that doesn't matter because this isn't Minho Princess.]
In (now somewhat-old) Anthurium news, I purged the Anthuriums in the living room, the ancestral varieties that produced all the original seedlings. 'Pandola' is gone. The NOID red is gone. The NOID dark red that never bloomed is gone. 'Gemini' is gone. 'White Gemini' is gone. 'Peppermint Gemini' is gone. 'Orange Hot' is gone. All three copies of the NOID pink are gone. 'Krypton' is gone. The NOID red-violet that might or might not have also been 'Krypton' is gone. All four of the 'Florida's are gone (though I'm pretty sure they never contributed anything genetically. Moral support, perhaps.).
There were also a couple ancestral plants in the basement, pre-purge. The NOID pink-green is gone. 'Joli' is gone. The small pot of salvaged cuttings from the NOID purple, which had only just gotten old enough to bloom, is gone.
My goodness. So what isn't gone, Mr. S.?
The NOID purple, and two backup copies of 'Red Hot.' And one 'Red Hot' is looking a little shaky, to be honest.
I'm not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, in theory, the genes from the founding generation are present in the surviving seedlings; the founders had already made themselves redundant. Not to mention that there were ghost mites, Xanthomonas, or both, on all the plants I threw out, and it's good to get rid of pest/disease reservoirs. On the other hand, this means that if I were to decide to start over with the seedlings, I'd have to buy new Anthuriums to start over with. And, as it happens, the ex-job is now even more of an ex-job than it used to be, because they're no longer in business, so I'm not even sure where I'd get the replacement Anthuriums from.3
In any case. The founding-Anthuriums purge is upsetting, and also it's not.4 Just like the ex-job closing is both upsetting and not. Ditto the really big plant-related thing I've alluded to a few times now but haven't been able to bring myself to name and describe yet, which was both devastating and an enormous relief. The last three months have been fucking weird.
2 In March or April last year, I found two more sites which showed Minho Princess with the same coloration as the others; those links have since 404ed. But six examples should be enough to get the idea.
3 They announced this in mid-November. I think this was a deliberate decision to retire, rather than the owners finding themselves forced out by the economic climate or whatever. But they'd been talking about closing or relocating since at least 2008, and since I didn't go back to chat with them or anyone else who worked there, I'm not sure that it wasn't motivated by declining sales.
I never understood how they could price plants at triple the big-box and grocery-store prices and stay in business in the first place. But then, I don't have a keen business mind.
Should note that I don't feel particularly upset about the ex-job being gone. I rarely visited anymore; when I did, I didn't generally buy anything. There are also some not-great memories associated with the place, which time has faded but not eliminated entirely: although things weren't super-ugly when I left, the bad was outweighing the good by that point. (Some of this was my fault, some of it wasn't. Somewhere in my various files is a draft for a blog post titled "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Garden Center Workers." Which is still good advice. Eight years since I left, and I still can't look at poinsettias without a small jolt of dread.)
Still. End of an era, and all that. I don't entirely understand why I didn't go back to see the place one last time, or talk to the people who still worked there. Had I visited early enough, I could even have picked up some new houseplants for a mere 2.25 times the big-box price. It wasn't that I didn't care, but -- the idea of going back to see the store gradually clear out made me uneasy in some difficult-to-explain way, so I never did. And now it's gone. Or gone-ish, anyway.
Also: if a family-owned garden center in the area had to close down, why couldn't it have been Pierson's?
4 Watering the living room for the first time, post-purge, took me 3.7 hours. That no doubt sounds like a lot of time to spend watering, but the most recent five pre-purge waterings took 4.3, 5.1, 5.4, 5.5, and 6.4 hours. Not only do I save time watering, but I no longer have those periodic pangs of should I throw this one out? Is that Xanthomonas? Are those ghost mites? to deal with. It's definitely not all bad.