Monday, February 12, 2007

Orchid foster home

We seem to have become a foster home for orchids that family and friends press on us after they've finished flowering.

I guess that's because everybody thinks you have to be a horticultural genius to take care of them. But I know better: all you need is a husband who has the watering/fertilizing schedule in his PDA, and who actually follows it.

The secret is a north-east window light and once-a-week watering with a weak soluble fertilizer. Just pour the water through the orchid pot twice - catch it in a pail or saucepan - and let it drain thoroughly. (This is done at the kitchen sink, usually while I'm trying to start dinner.) I get drafted to do this job when the official caretaker is away, but I get my computer to remind me.

The picture above is of an orchid stem that began to flower last week. The blooms were so beautiful that I had to spend an afternoon photographing them. The plant is a Phalaenopsis or moth orchid, but I don't know the cultivar name. Around here, we call it 'Anne's Orchid' - after the neighbor who left it on our metaphorical doorstep.

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-Yvonne, aka Country Gardener