Onward and Upward and Orchids

Waking too early this morning, I flicked on the bedside lamp and grabbed reading glasses and the nearest book.  As it is Sunday, it would be most appropriate if my hand reached out for the prayer-book or the Bible beneath, but the arm reached out beyond to Katharine White’s classic treasure “Onward and Upward in the Garden.”  She was an inveterate reader of garden catalogs and many of the essays contained in the book explain her fascination with them.  A timely subject for gardeners who have been dwelling on the catalogs for weeks now in preparation for seed planting!

But when I finally emerged from the covers (bed) and the pages of the book, the orchids on the chest at the bottom of the stairs said, “Me, ME, Me.”  Enough with the seeds.  I confess, this is the first orchid that I have successfully brought back into bloom after many, many unsuccessful attempts.

The orchid in the basket is the one that has just begun to bloom again after a Summer spent in the shade of a porch umbrella and a Winter of discontent in the house.  The orchids behind were given to my daughter at the launch of the new clothing store she is managing.  They weren’t happy in the environs of a Greenwich Avenue shop and so came to live here!  I think the leaves on my plant are a deeper, more lush  green, , and the blooms larger and happier.  

I’ve read the books, taken notes at the workshops and gleaned all I could over the past few decades, but sadly orchids and I are not  simpatico.  This is what orchids usually do for me after they’ve finished the bloom induced at some hospitable green house:I admit defeat, see what the Winter has wrought:I have tried different growing mediums, as seen above, watered them the same and fertilized with the same mixtures at the same temperatures, and yet only one came back into bloom.  One difference, it was grown near an Eastern French door (you know what I mean!  A French door that looks toward the East and the rising sun!), and the others were in different spots around the house.  But a miniature orchid on an Eastern windowsill looks like this:

Perhaps, dear readers, you have suggestions or answers????

The newest orchid to come into the house was sent to lift our spirits after the passing of my Dad last month.

How I would love to bring this beauty back to full bloom each year.  Plants and flowers so often evoke strong memories and can touch the senses in such an elemental way.   A Phalaenopsis in full bloom ignites that way.

About Jayne in Georgia

Wife, mother, and owner of pets much loved. Gardener of three decades, amateur photographer, ardent about art, antiques and books.
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2 Responses to Onward and Upward and Orchids

  1. Tricia says:

    You knew I’d weigh in on this one, didn’t you! I couldn’t resist. I did a longer post on my own blog, http://lettherebegarden.blogspot.com/ but I’ll give you my simple advice here. Plant directly into your pots in chunky orchid medium and put them near that eastern window. If you’ve got a northern, that works well too. The nice thing about orchids is they don’t need to join the crush at the southern windows (if you’ve got them). They’re fine in the lower light. Water once a week over the sink. Make sure there’s no water in the bottom.

    Hope this helps!


  2. Thank you! I don’t have a Northern window, so the mad dash is for the East! I HOPED you would advise! Your post is wonderful – love the setting for your orchids!


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