Years ago, maybe seven? Shila gave me a little keiki (baby) that had grown off her big purple Phalaenopsis. It was about 2" tall, with two tiny leaves. I never got its name. It's a mature plant now, flawless, and it makes more huge intricate flowers every year.
Orchids are nothing if not durable. This exquisite little Phal. very nearly died; it caught some kind of fungal disease and all its leaves turned yellow and mushy and fell off, all but one. I sequestered that sorry-looking thing in the downstairs bathroom, doused it with antifungal sulfur powder and waited two years. Now look at it! It's back up in the main collection and blooming its head off. And it's fragrant, too.
It's Phal. leucadia "Red Pepper" x Phal. goldiana "Zuma," and I think it's saying, "Thank you for having faith in me, and believing I'd come back."
Best horticultural tip of the year, thanks to my friend Boneman. When you have 50 orchids to keep up with, you're going to have scale and mealybugs eventually. I used to use pyrethrins, and I hated to do it, and it didn't seem very effective, anyway, but I won't use the really poisonous stuff. I now spray my plants with Windex (with ammonia) and the scales just dry up and die. Windex doesn't burn the flowers like pyrethrins do. And I'd much rather have a spritz of Windex on my windows and floating in the air than insecticide, wouldn't you? I spray my orchids, it gets all over the windows, I wipe it off, I get clean windows instead of poisoned, murky ones, and everybody's happy. Thanks, Boneman!
More orchids tomorrow!