About four years ago, Courtney, my Mom and I were driving back up the Pacific Coast Highway on our way back from Big Sur, when we stumbled accrost a large orchid dealership called Sheldance. It was right outside of San Francisco where we had planned to have dinner, so we went in to check the place out.
It was a huge greenhuse with thousands of orchids and very friendly people. None of the plants had price tags on them, which added to the mystery, since you had no idea if the orchid you were looking at was $30 or $3,000. The one I ended up liking the most was pretty much unlike anything I had seen before, so, of course, wanted to buy it.
When I asked them about the price and what it was called, they grumbled and muttered, but didn’t really give me anything to go on. “Great”, I thought to myself, “I’ve picked up some $10,000 plant”. I pressed them a little more, and they finally said that they would let it go for $75. They were not fully sure about the name, but thought it was called Phalaenopsis Aurora Australis.
I really got the feeling that they didn’t want to let it go, because when I told them that I would pay the price, they tried to talk me out of it. When that failed, they began interrogating me on my knowledge of how to keep orchids alive. Apparently I satisfied them, because they seemed to back off after that. I can’t blame them for worrying though. Orchids are pretty much immortal, so it would be a shame to sell such a nice plant only to have it die a few weeks later.
In the end, I didn’t pay the price. My Mom bought it for me. Along with a nice white Phalaenopsis for herself, and a yellow Dendrobium for Courtney. The plant was in full bloom when I got it, and it didn’t stop flowering for fourteen months! It then went into a long rest, and has finally flowered again. I wonder if it will stay in bloom as long this time?