Posts Tagged ‘orchids’

Life is Like a Rose Garden

Friday, May 29th, 2015
April 2013 orchids

Some of my orchids

Life is like a rose garden.

It’s true.

Many years ago I asked for a rose garden for my birthday. I had done a lot of reading over the years about roses, and it was a lifelong dream of mine to harvest my own roses. I picked out fourteen different specimens and my husband had a raised bed installed on the sunny side of the house. It was a beautiful thing—underground irrigation, termite treated railway ties to highlight it, and an arbor in the middle so I could train a climber to hide the utility boxes. (The meter reader was less than happy with the thorns.)

Over the years I struggled to make the garden work. I fought bugs, black spot, drought, the rainy season… you name it. I spent hours every day dead heading, spraying chemicals, et cetera.

I am a stubborn person, driven by a high standard I try to live by. It takes a lot for me to admit defeat, but I realized that I was no longer willing to invest the time and effort into a losing proposition. I stopped spraying, and one by one the roses died, leaving one old feisty climber who will survive a nuclear war. I treat him with great respect, and fertilize and trim him back from time to time.

Life is like my rose garden. There are times when adjustments need to be made that are painful for us to make. But rather than view these adjustments as failures, we sometimes need to view the initial risk as a joyous and daring experiment. We cannot learn and thrive if we are stymied by fear or the specter of failure.

Whether a particular venture is a success or failure can only be judged by our personal standards. We must not compare ourselves to others. And, we owe no one an explanation as long as what we strive for is legal and a goal that does not physically hurt others.

I am not suggesting that we blithely go about our lives without considering commitments. What I am suggesting is that life, like my experiment with a rose garden, has to be re-evaluated from time to time. You need to periodically ask yourself if what you are trying to accomplish is a worthy goal, a good use of your time. Only you can answer that question.

The side of my house where the rose garden grew is now a bed of African irises. They require no chemicals and thrive in the sun, rain, drought—whatever Florida weather throws at them. I focus my attention on orchids, a plant that is more suited to the brutal summers and the humidity. I will never forget my roses, but there are many other flowers a gardener can grow. Enjoy creating your personal garden.


Path of Life, Part One

Sunday, April 19th, 2015
Alex and Ani Path of Life charm bracelet.

Alex and Ani ‘Path of Life’ charm bracelet.

My job at a luxury retailer has forced me to face a number of issues. Rather than resent the inevitable changes to my writing, lifestyle, and hobbies, I have decided to enjoy the adjustments that are the reality of my new found career.

For example, my job is forty-five minutes from home. With this commute included, I am now working over a forty-hour week. I’m on my feet most of the time, and that adds a smidgen of physical stress to the mix. The two days off per week cannot possibly accommodate all the things I need to do—that is, if I stubbornly stick to the old program. This is a new phase in my life, and I intend to celebrate it.

The company Alex and Ani has made a business of providing bracelets with charms that reflect this spirit. Sold in silver or gold, they celebrate the events or accomplishments in our lives. Many of my customers are obsessed by them and stack the bracelets high up their arm.

There is a particular charm, Path of Life, which is a favorite. It celebrates the highs and lows of life, the flow of all things into each other as we take our individual journey. I have grown to appreciate the truth behind this charm and how it describes my own life. Specifically, and for the purpose of this post, the change in my free hours has forced me to re-evaluate my garden.

I love flowers and plants. When we moved to Florida, and I took a hiatus from corporate life, I was determined to have a rose garden. My life-long dream to harvest my own roses turned into a nightmare of spraying chemicals and fighting the naturally hot and humid conditions of a subtropical climate. After a few years of heavy labor, I gave in and let the roses go—gently—as they had become my children. One remains, a tough climber who refuses to die.

I gravitated to orchids, as they are much better suited to the moist conditions. I have had phenomenal success. Slowly, I have changed the landscaping around my home, choosing specimens that require no chemicals and thrive in the heat and humidity. I also have to deal with pesky rabbits, inquisitive deer, and nervy squirrels. The squirrels eat everything. Yesterday I saw one sitting on the corner of the lanai screen munching on a deadheaded bird of paradise. He turned it round and round like an ear of corn. It was good information, and I realize that if he could support his weight on the plants I wouldn’t have a single flower.

Rosemary works quite well in discouraging pesky vermin, and it loves the hot conditions. Years ago I cut out a picture from the newspaper and have had it pinned to the bulletin board in the laundry room. Its prescience interests me, because it shows perfectly the Mediterranean/ Provençal look I am going for. All these plants are rather low maintenance but lush and welcoming. The landscaping solution was waiting for me years before I really needed it. It’s funny how that happens. Have a beautiful day.

The landscape look I am working toward.

The landscape look I am working toward.

The Importance of Rituals

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014


What is your morning ritual?

My morning starts with a strong cup of Starbuck’s French Roast enjoyed outside on the lanai. This morning I donned my heavy winter robe and sat for a few silent minutes while the world awakened. The birds went about their business of establishing territories or finding food for their young, singing as they worked. I looked around at my plants, thanking them for their gift of beauty to help me start my day.

My morning ritual is not idle time. While the caffeine clears the cobwebs from my mind I think about what I need to accomplish that day. I often find the answer to a question that has been troubling me will become crystal clear. This alone time is, I suppose, a form of meditation. I know that when I don’t follow this ritual I feel less centered and will accomplish less.

Classy Lady

That is the contradiction. The few minutes I allow myself enable me to give generously to my family, my friends, and myself. The ritual fills the glass that I empty while living my life. I hope you will take the time to establish a ritual for yourself, whether it is in the morning or the evening.


I have shared a few photos of my orchids with you to enjoy. Have a lovely day.

Orchids Can Enhance Your Lifestyle!

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Dendrobium orchid

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.

David Austin rose

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.

Repotted phal is very happy!

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.

Phaleonopsis orchid with 13 flowers!

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!

April 2013 orchids

Gorgeous Phal is very happy!