Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Orchid

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It was at this time of year, a year or so before my friend Gloria died, that she and her husband Bill came up here for a visit. She and I had gone to the local grocery store where Gloria spied a beautiful, locally propagated orchid plant, in full bloom.

We admired it as we got in line to pay for our groceries. Then, as I was taking the bags out to the car, Gloria came out of the store with the orchid in her hand. "Here," she said in her no-nonsnese way, thrusting the pot at me, "Merry Christmas."

The orchid continued to bloom for a full month after that, making me smile and cry at the same time as I looked at it and thought of her and the fight that was ahead of her. She lost that battle a year and a half later.
My orchid only bloomed the one time, going dormant no matter what I did to keep it growing.

Told that these specific orchids do well outside in our rather temperate weather, I put it out on the front steps, watering it sporadically. It survived but didn't thrive. Then an orchid grower told me to spray it with water daily. Just a bit, but do it daily. I did.

A few years went by, then several weeks ago while weeding the front flower bed, I saw that the orchid had put out 5 flower stems with big, fat buds growing along each stem.

Elated, I brought it into the house, babied it, talked to it, put it outside again when there was a warm rain to wash its leaves, brought it back in and babied it some more.

Five days ago it began to bloom. Just in time for Christmas.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful orchid and poignant story that comes with it. I was given an orchid when I left my last job earlier this year, I had also given my mother one last Christmas. One of my colleague's hobbies is growing orchids and she does shows etc. What I have is a symbidium (correct if I have spelt it wrong) apparently when the flower dies off you can the spike right back two notches and then feed with a weak tomato feed solution and they flower beautifully again mine has 16 blooms. I notice that yours is a slightly different type of orchid so whether this would work with yours I'm not sure mine put out a lot of air roots and also has thicker and wider roots. I don't imagine that tomato feed would hurt yours, I imagine after it has flowered. Hope I havent told you something you already know??

christine said...

Hi Anne,
I've never heard of the tomato feeding for orchids. I'm not very good at getting them to re-bloom, so I'll try anything! Thanks for the tip.