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Why Orchids?5 Nov 1998 by Ameneh Ispahani
Apartment living has come to stay and we just have to look around us to realize that it is now a fact of Dhaka life. More and more plots are being divided up into little fragments upon which buildings rise ever upwards. Not only is space a rare commodity in these apartments but so also are sunlight and ventilation in short supply. What happens to the keen gardener? Where is the space for a garden? What sort of plants can be grown in minute spaces along boundary walls? Or in narrow verandahs? And will these plants ever flower? That's why -- orchids!
Orchids can be cultivated in the smallest of spaces and one doesn't even need to work with soil or manure. Orchids can be grown inbaskets, in the littlest of containers made with bamboo slats, in perforated pots or even in green coconut husks used as containers. Instead of soil you use charcoal or broken brick. These orchid containers ca be placed on paltmforms where there is some ventilation and difused light. If there is no space whatsoever, neither roof nor garden space to make platforms on which to place the orchids, you can just hang the plants along the open verandah or porch. The wonderful thing about orchids (unlike other potted plants where there is always soil seepage from the pots onto the floor) is that there is no soil to seep out of the pot. So it's close to being maintenance-free especially as orchids need air, light, warmth, and humidity -- all of which are naturally available in our part of the world.
It's best to begin your orchid garden by investing in slightly bigger and more established plants though they will be mroe expensive than the smaller ones. The survival rate of these will be greater than that of smaller, less firmly established plants. Dendrobriums and Vandas are good varieties with which to start your collection.
Some do's and don'ts:
Free advice may be sought and orchid plans and flowers purchased from Zeba (fahmi@bdmail) in Uttara.