During my psychotherapy internships, I worked in a few offices where orchids were the de riguer gift for counselors and office workers.
They're generally inexpensive, pretty, and easily accessible (you can buy them at grocery stores and flea markets, not just nurseries or specialty growers). The blooms usually last a long time, too. So why wouldn't you give a gorgeous, living plant to someone instead of a bouquet that's going to wilt over a couple of weeks?
Well, because they die when they're not cared for in the fashion to which they're accustomed!
This is where I step in. I rescue orchids.
I can't save all of them. Sometimes they're too far gone--commonly due to excessive or inadequate watering--and when I finally get them, only the top is alive, or the last part to die, because the roots are rotted away or dried husks.
I also have limited space. (They're very popular gifts.)
However, the ones I can save, I save by listening. I observe and use my intuition as to their care, while following general guidelines for their species (they're tropical epiphytes). This attentiveness and adaptation to their needs brings them back from the brink.
Orchids thrive when they're given the right environment, and they reward your space with beauty. I love seeing orchids in rustic pots and planters (like the wooden milk bottle crate above), because the roughness contrasts with their elegance. Similarly, I enjoy seeing them in glazed pottery, because it enhances their exotic nature.
Plants are a wonderful design element, and they add much to our lives.
Wouldn't it be nice to add to their lives, too, by not treating them as disposable bouquets?