Thursday, July 15, 2021

Flower power

     Rarity is overrated. Or, maybe, branding is underrated. Or rather, make that both.
     Take a look at the flower above. If I said it was an Illinois Chalkweed, an invasive species clogging the forest preserves, you wouldn't doubt my assessment, would nod at my hope that the folks at Cook County get on the stick and eradicate this blight before it destroys our native habitat. 
     But it's not. It's a "Ghost Orchid," according to the Chicago Botanic Garden. "You're looking at one of North America's rarest orchids," its plaque pants. "It is extraordinary to see the ghost orchid in bloom," the flower "world renown for its ethereal beauty."
     I'll take their word on it. To me, it's a pale paper figurine, dancing, eclipses by almost every other flower at the Botanic Garden. 
     Compare the Ghost Orchid to the Bumble Rumble Collarette Dahlia, below. First, a far better name, right? Second, well, just look at it. Colorful, which is what flowers are supposed to be about. Fun too; it's a birthday party of a flower, a circus clown bloom.
     But not rare, or highlighted by the Botanic Garden with its own little enclosure, ballyhooed by signs nearby ordering passersby to go check out the fabulous Ghost Orchid. Given the same treatment, a stalk of straw would be marveled at.
     Yes, there's no accounting for taste, and orchids are a cult all their own. But the Botanic Garden is busily drumming for the meh Ghost Orchid, w
hile the Bumble Rumble does its thing unheralded and unpraised. I guess that's life.


  1. Agreed: the flowers pictured below are much lovelier.

  2. The Bumble Rumble Collarette Dahlia reminds me of your friend Rush Pearson from the blog a few days ago, not that Julia Louis-Dreyfuss is "meh." A new word for me, perfect for your reaction to the Ghost Orchid (but not for Julia of course), even though I was just about to flag it as a typo and would have done so had I been able to come up with the word you meant to type instead. Another life lesson from EGD: Success is not synonymous with fame and riches.


    1. It is a youngish word. I learned it about a decade ago when I heard one of my students at Loyola use it. A benefit of being around young people.

  3. "a circus clown bloom." indeed.

  4. I'm thinking you just gave this new homeowner an idea for planting!

  5. I do like the rare, singular Ghost Orchid. It would draw my attention were I visiting the Botanic Gardens.
    The Bumble Rumble is, without question, gorgeous. Everyone would probably agree. I guess that’s why the orchid is getting a little status boost:)


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