The orchid industry is on full throttle and commercial nurseries everywhere are having their best year in recent memory. Retailers are having trouble getting product and many wholesalers are simply sold out. The last time there was a run on orchids to this extent was 80 years ago, during the corsage era.
The 1940s were, indeed, the “The Golden Age of Cattleyas” because orchid corsages were in fashion. My father recalls cattleyas “being worn to dances, the opera or anywhere a woman wanted to look her very best.” It was a glamorous time and one that most people of that generation look back on fondly.
Most orchid enthusiasts of that time got their material from the American Orchid Society’s Bulletin, a pint-sized black-and-white magazine with about 60 pages of culture, breeding and history. Readers were met with apologetic notices from nurseries that were unable to fill orders. We “withdraw all offerings of plants until further notice,” wrote one grower. “All shipments temporarily suspended,” wrote another. “Our quota of plants for sale is entirely exhausted,” wrote a third.
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