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What's Blooming Now

Monday, March 30, 2009

Did everyone turn off their lights from 8:30-9:30 on Saturday? We did. We're pretty good at dealing without electricity, after this winter. If anyone's wondering, that's a vintage Poll Parrot clock on the wall, a second anniversary gift Bill and I gave each other. The mysterious black machine beneath the clock filters our water five times, ozonates, carbon polishes it, and, we hope, fills us with never-ending health and goodness. I couldn't live without Mr. Goodwater.

Turning the lights off made us notice how beautiful daffodils are by candlelight. So are clivias.

The Clivia miniata (Kafir lily) I've nurtured for three years has three huge bursts of orange, fragrant blossoms. This, for having left it bone-dry in a cold basement all winter. That's what it likes.

I love flower time. I really, really love flowers. Outside, there are crocuses and daffodils galore.

When we first moved here, there was a sad little straight line of fancy daffodils that ran right through the middle of the lawn. It had once lined a driveway that was no more, and it no longer made sense in the landscape. So we mowed around them for a few years, then dug them up out of the rock-hard soil and planted them in the soft compost of our new raised flower beds. This is just a fraction of the daffodils we now have.

The big dig was about 14 years ago. They have multiplied to the point that I dig up daffodil bulbs with everything I try to plant in those beds. I can bring them in by the armload and never notice I've cut them, there are so many bobbing and dancing in the cold spring wind. All that from just a few bulbs, transplanted to a place they can thrive and multiply. Plants just give and give and give.

Meanwhile, out in the greenhouse, everyone's going k-k-k-krazy.Look at the little red and yellow bells of Abutilon megapotamicum. All the gerania that were just leaves in my last post are blooming their heads off.

Inside the house, the orchids are winding up. Oh Lord, I love this time of year, when I get up every morning and peek down into their paired leaves to see if I can find a new bloom spike starting. Plants are blooming this spring that haven't bloomed for years. I think it's the massive repotting I did in November, that's what I think. I think it's the Aussie Gold medium I used. It's payback time. The diatomaceous earth in the Aussie Gold medium seems to have licked the mealybugs, and throwing out sick plants helped a lot. Not to mention the thorough washing and spraying they got in November, in that marathon of orchidaceous labor. With orchids, it's all about being willing to wait.

Psychopsis Mendenhall "Hildos" is about to unfurl another dancing flamenco lobster, its eighth since last June. Ahhh.

Here's Laeliocattleya " Firedance Patricia" about to haul off and give me some red flowers.
You can tell it's happy because the new growth off to the left side is so robust and full of buds.

The promise in those fat bronze buds...the anticipation of waiting for them to open...such fun. And then a few days go by and boom, they open.
But for now, the undisputed Queen of the Collection is a Brassaevola cross called "Morning Glory."
The flowers are enormous, three inches or more across, and fragrant. OK, you had me at enormous, but fragrant? Almost seems too much to ask for. Now, pull back and look at the entire plant, which is a couple of feet across at this point.

That's what I'm talkin' about. A plant that is self-actualizing, blooming from every new growth point, practically leaping from its pot in exuberance. At last count, sixteen blossoms open at once. Stinkin' up the place.

These are the things that happen when plants are happy, when the lines of caring and communication are open between plant and caretaker. You feel like an orchid samurai, keeper of ancient secrets, axion of ability, but really, it's just this little magical thing that happens when you care enough to figure out how to do the right thing.

On Friday, I made my way back from my speaking engagement in Middletown by way of Columbus. There was to be a huge orchid show and sale, if the American Orchid Society and Central Ohio Orchid Society web sites were to be believed, running from Friday through Sunday at an airport hotel. I drove around in circles looking for the right Mariott, and when I finally found the entrance, I made my way inside the huge atrium where I teamed up with two equally confused women who'd driven down from Detroit, who, when I spotted them, had that look of the orchid fancier about them: smart, sharply dressed, well-tended. (I am a distinct anomaly). We wandered around asking custodians about it until someone told us which conference room might hold the show. Finally we found a room with a few orchids on a folding table, nothing more. It seems the web sites had misled us; setup was Friday, and the show actually opened Saturday morning. The vendors hadn't even arrived yet.


The orchid ladies from Detroit, who'd driven three hours expressly to buy some new orchids, were a good deal more perturbed than I. I immediately took it as a cosmic smackdown, and actually felt relieved. Clearly, I don't need any more orchids than the 38 currently cramming my shelves, and the gods agree about that. I climbed back in the Exploder, kissed Chet Baker, and headed home to enjoy what I already have. Which, in truth, is way more than enough. A fact that will make itself clear next November, at the next repotting marathon.

It's not having what you want.
It's wanting what you've got.

Sheryl Crow, "Soak Up the Sun"


Oh, thank you for daffodils and orchids!

We are on blizzard #2 this week, snow day #3, Lucifer and Jack Sparrow have cabin fever, so the cat/dog rodeo has rugs flying.
March is going out like a whole squadron of lions around here.
Caroline in the Black Hills

ps. We turned off lights on Sat. night here, too.

And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

As part of my birthday gift my husband and I went to the orchid show at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA in February. Oh my, the full, plump, enormous, blooms on the orchids were beeeeuuteeeful! I loved it!


Only 38?
Surely there must be somewhere to tuck another?
Morning Glory certainly is a fitting name.

I was supposed to turn out my lights? Didn't get the memo - why?

Loverly fleurs, as always.


I've yet to hear a Cheryl Crow song I don't like: she has great vocal range, and is a natural song writer, not to mention great melody writer.

It's not having what you want.
It's wanting what you've got.

YEP! The best words ever sung/sang :o)

Trim them, inhale their scents, enjoy. It's time.


Your flowers do look so beautiful against the candlelight!

Lovely lovely post. Would you be able to tell us a little more about your water filtering system? For those of us in the West (not served by Mr. Goodwater). Like, could you share the manufacturer's name or system? Thank you so much!

I am still waiting patiently for my little Nobby's Amy....sigh. She has so many new leaves it's crazy, but so far, no new bloom stems.

Can't wait to see Indigo Hill in a few weeks from now. :c)

Sure, Diana. We rent the unit from Pure Health Solutions, Inc, based in Atlanta, GA. Inquiries: 1-800-750 9866. It takes our town water and filters it through five stages, including ozonation and carbon polishing it until it tastes like rainwater. It heats and cools it on demand. So I can get a boiling hot cup of tea instantly, or a giant glass of ice-cold water. Or a tepid one, mixing the two streams. The unit we rent is designed for office situations. So far we've used around 600 gallons in a year or so, since we use it only for drinking and cooking. We pay a flat monthly fee of around $40. It takes roughly 12 gallons of city water to make 1 gallon of virtually pure water. They change the filters once a year or as needed.

I thought it was all probably overkill until I tasted a glass of the water it makes. And then I went and got a mug and a rooibos teabag and the water came out scalding hot with billows of steam, and I was sold. We all drink probably five times more water than we would if we were drinking tap or bottled water. Knowing it's absolutely pure means a lot, but it's the taste and convenience we're really paying for.

I have that same Abutilon in my garden bed. So far it has made it through five winters, although it does lose its leaves.

I heard a comedian once comment about the people who think their plants appreciate being talked to. He didn't disagree, but thought they did just as well when he hollered, "GROW, you green goof!"

You have shamed me into finally doing something for our just-hanging-on hibiscus. She's been inside all winter and it's not quite warm enough to put her out again, but she's clearly not happy. Time for research, reading, and then some TLC so we'll have those lovely gargantuan flowers again this year. Thanks for the prod.

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