Something other than roses

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    The all-time favorite is the queen, a white phalaenopsis blooming orchid plant.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A dendrobium wenzellii specimen is one of the smaller blooming plants available for Valentine’s Day, and has overtones of the Chinese New Year celebration.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A dendrobium miniense sits ahead of a Valentine’s Day plush for size comparison.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A dendrobium miniense specimen is one of the smaller varieties of blooming orchids available for Valentine’s Day.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Fely Sams of Orchid Alley enjoys the fragrance of a dendrobium nobile orchid plant that is available for Valentine’s Day.

KAPAA — Roses? A customer to Orchid Alley in Kapaa wanted to know.

“No, we don’t do roses,” said Fely Sams, who along with husband Neill owns Orchid Alley, a small, alleyway retail space for blooming orchids. “Cut flowers are really popular for some holidays. We do orchids. And I don’t like to cut the stems — we do blooming orchid plants.”

Sams was preparing for Valentine’s Day festivities with chores of taking orders for blooming orchid plants and baskets that needed to be shipped, unpacking freight of more orchids arriving, and fielding questions from customers attracted by the allure of the flowers peeking out from the alley.

“We’re one of the few floral people who are certified to ship flowers,” Sams said. “And we’ve been pretty lucky. We follow the weather and, so far, we’ve been lucky the flowers have survived the rigors of travel and the weather.”

The final day for shipping plants to the East Coast is Monday to arrive in time for Valentine’s Day, which falls on Thursday. Shipping deadlines to the West Coast are Monday and Tuesday.

“We’ve only had a small window to ship because the weather has been pretty bad,” Sams said. “In fact, the weather here has beaten up the plants, too. But people need to get their orders in quickly.”

Once the shipping is taken care off, Sams said they concentrate on getting plants delivered on-island.

“There is no rest,” Sams said. “We need to care for our people who need Valentine’s Day flowers, too.”

Sams said some of the new items available for Valentine’s Day are the smaller dendrobium orchid plants, some new, fragrant dendrobium nobile orchids, and some paphiopedilum, or Lady’s Slipper, orchids.

“People are looking for smaller plants that take up less space,” Sams said. “These are dendrobium species, which mean they’re easy to care for. They need a lot of light though. But the blooms last a long time. The fragrant orchids are pretty neat with the fragrances of chocolate, vanilla and more. They’re dendrobium nobiles so are pretty easy to care for.”

The traditional all-time favorite is the phalaenopsis, or moth orchid.

“People like the white variety,” Sams said. “The phalaenopsis in white is the queen — everyone’s favorite. Myself? I like color, and we have those, too.”


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