How did orchids come into my life? I’ve always loved flowers, but living in New Jersey limited access to many types of plants. When we moved to Florida 19 years ago I left behind friends, family and unbeknownst to me at the time a void in my quality of lifestyle. Working a corporate job, trying to be an attentive wife and mother, and taking care of a big house with over 2 acres of land was draining. I wasn’t organized. The weekends were a blur of laundry, chores and frequent family command performances. We were caught up in the rat race and seriously stressed out. When the opportunity presented itself to move and for me to be a stay-at-home mom I jumped at the chance.
After we were settled in our home and my daughter was in her new school I wondered, “what am I going to do with my time?” I realize now what a silly question that was. The days quickly filled with play dates, school activities and dance lessons. As time went on it became apparent that for the first time in my life I could indulge myself by trying hobbies I had always been interested in.
For my first birthday in the new house I asked for a rose garden. The sod along one side of the house was ripped out and a raised bed was installed complete with an underground sprinkler system. We planted 14 varieties: a couple of climbers, tea roses and other hybrids. It was really beautiful and, unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures. I quickly realized what I was in for. No matter how much I sprayed and fussed, rotating chemicals and doing research, they got a black spot fungus. Finally, after about 5 years I began to not replace the roses that died off. This summer I am going to try one rose that is called a “knock out rose” that I am told does not require chemicals. One shrub remains from the original garden planted 16 years ago, a peach David Austin climber that is about 10 feet high and tough as nails.
I love flowers, and contrary to my experience with the rose garden, I do have a green thumb. The roses were just too much work. One day while mirandering along the rows of plants at Home Depot I saw a beautiful white orchid, a phaleonopsis or moth orchid. I was instantly entranced. I brought it home and my addiction to orchids began.
Orchids are basically very low maintenance. They are watered once a week, (misted if in a drier indoor home in winter), and like a south-west exposure,(or lots of indirect light). Their blooms can last for several months. Once they have bloomed you do need to do a bit of maintenance if you want the plant to bloom again. Cut the stem as close to the leaves as you can. If you are feeling adventurous you can repot it very easily. Recently I repotted about 10 of my orchids by removing them gently from the pot by turning it upside down. I cut away any of the roots that looked dried out, and repotted using two kinds of soil. The more dense soil I put around the newly trimmed roots, and I mixed the mulch-like soil with the other potting soil for the rest of the pot. I put the mulch soil on the top, and watered thoroughly. Below is an example of one I repotted.
Many of other orchids have set their buds so I will add pictures to this post frequently. Surround yourself with the beauty of flowers and have a wonderful day!