Growing Things: Orchids

orchidbrown
This is a different type of orchid than most you see in stores, but I can’t remember what it is. It’s a big plant with lots of leaves.

One of the hardest things about the Hermits’ Rest is trying to plant things and make them grow. The area is most assuredly difficult for growing non-native flowers or most vegetables. No wonder I concentrate on what shows up naturally!

Ranch plant report

I’m sad to report that the early heat wave has fried my tomatoes and most of my flowers in the raised beds. But, zinnias and a marigold that popped up are fine, as are all the herbs (they look spectacular, actually, especially the bronze fennel). And the sunflowers I planted from last year’s seeds are definitely worth the price. I’ll have to take some pictures soon.

In the bed beside the house, free basil is, as usual, growing away, amid even more sunflowers. Hiding in there is some okra and random lavender that seems okay. At least all the sweet potato vines died out.

orchidpurple
This one stays in bloom a LONG time.

Back in Austin

At the Austin house, Anita is having great success on the lower deck with her succulents and cacti. I am having less success on the top deck, which gets a lot of sun, but there are things that are alive, and we did get our bougainvillea to survive the winter. It’s all happy.

This leads me to orchids. I am not the hugest orchid fan on earth (that would be my friend Lynn Molitor). But, I am sentimentally attached to them, because my mother’s main hobby during her last years in south Florida was raising orchids, and I have many great memories of her watering them and naming all the ones that were blooming (after Mom passed away, the orchids went to Lynn’s father, and eventually to Lynn, at least in spirit). So orchids remind me of my mom.

And inside our Bobcat Lair house, we apparently created the ideal location for houseplants of all kinds, especially orchids. I used to always have one blooming on my desk at work, then I’d take it home, so I now have a good number of orchid plants.

Much to my happiness, they seem to like the low-E glass in our windows, and have responded by blooming like crazy, with nothing more than watering and monthly fertilizing. They are all in east-facing windows, which don’t get burning sun thanks to the glazing.

orchidwhite
This one was originally dyed some horrid color, but of course comes out nice and white when left alone. It’s been blooming a lont time, so some of the flowers are showing their age.

In addition to the three blooming now (including my favorite, the brown one), there are two more getting ready to bloom, at least if the woman who cleans the house hasn’t watered them to death. I think those are probably the white phalaenopsis ones. We will see!

And yes, I know I need to learn what the danged orchids are called. I hope Lynn reads this and fills me in. Then I’ll update.

 

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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