Orchid Fever

Best Orchids, February 2004

Orchids, those dewy divas, occupy a special niche somewhere between pets and furniture. Once in bud, they’ll flower flawlessly for weeks, even in a dark room. It’s trying to get them in bud again that turns them temperamental. Before you shop, then, it helps to understand whether you want something to nurture or just admire. For non-gardeners who dream of tropical terraces, Orchids de Oro will not only design one and install unusual Malaysian varieties and a stone lion, but maintain the planting as well. Their showroom is a Culver City Eden. Prices, however, run high. Serious collectors will appreciate Danziger’s Orchids. Ned Danziger, who operates a booth at the Hollywood Farmers Market, has been breeding and showing orchids for 45 years, and his four Northridge greenhouses contain wonders, some of which he considers too rare to sell. Orchid Fever suits buyers of all persuasions, and that’s why we like it most of all. A waterfall mists the entryway. Beyond are separate rooms devoted to warm- and cool-temperature orchids, nearly all California grown: the mothlike Phalaenopsis; the midnight purple lady’s slipper; a grass-leaved oddity with flowers the color of Angelyne’s lips. More keep arriving in the shop’s climate-controlled vans. The selection here is vast and healthy, you get more flower spikes per dollar than at Trader Joe’s, and the instruction sheets are so clear they make nurturing seem easy.