Thursday, March 3, 2016

Anytime is orchid time

If there is one thing that keeps my spirits up, it is the joy I get from the splendid little Phalaenopsis orchids. They are easy to come by: from the grocery store, and sometimes the building supply store or Costco. Wherever one catches my eye and I can think of an excuse: my birthday, someone else’s birthday, they’re on sale, the first day of any new season – you get the drill--I have another.

This one seems happy enough against a background of snow.  

As I type this, I realize that we have just submitted a manuscript and, you know, that seems like a good reason to get a new orchid.  As soon as the driveway is plowed again, I’ll be on the hunt.

I love these orchids because they ask so little and give so much: three tablespoons a week is all the water mine require. They get a bit of fertilizer when I remember. Some people give them three ice cubes a week. They bloom for months.  When they are done blooming, they are sent to  the ‘plant hospital’, i.e. the basement guestroom with a great low-light window. A couple of months later, they are ready to bloom again and  rejoin the party upstairs.
Some have bloomed several times. Others have gone to live with Victoria, aka the Plant Whisperer.

I should have staked this before it bloomed but I love the way it wanders!
In a weird twist, our seventies bungalow was build by a man who ran a commercial orchid business out of the house. His green house has since been dismantled, but there’s still a strange cistern in the pump room of the basement where rain water was collected for his three thousand plants. I’d take a picture of the spooky thing but it’s blocked by book boxes from our basement reconstruction.  I do think it would be a good place to find a body, but that’s a topic for another day.

This one is blooming for the third time!

Hope March is going well for all of you. Ours has come in like a lion and we’re hoping it goes out like a lamb. But whatever, we’ll have our orchids.

Do you love orchids too? Or is there some other plant that holds your heart?  Suggestions?  Please come by and give us your comments or tips. I’m looking for a new fertilizer and repotting materials.