Yes, This is Love.

by Colleen Rochette

As I embrace Fall’s aura, change is ushered in by her cool winds. This humble season marks the sweetest of milestones. One year has passed since my orchid collection has significantly evolved. In response to the moments that I have spent caring for my varied caboodle, a profound love has emerged.

Presently, my inner diary is brimming with cheery thoughts. Each morning I find myself draped over the edge of our lavender tub to gently bathe my orchids. Uni or Ora perch upon the windowsill above and quietly chatter while eying the running water below. I smile and shake my head a little, trying to recall how these dear sentiments crept into my heart. Halfway through this thought I realize that the sphagnum moss within my vanda baskets has started to acquire a greyish appearance. Yes, it is time to flip the hour glass again; it is time to prepare for yet another spirited year.

Little-Ora-Orchid-1Miss Ora, amongst the orchids in the bathroom. She says hello to the sunrise and enjoys a little fresh air while keeping me company.

Little-Ora-Orchid-3Between purrs and birdwatching, kisses are given to Dendrobium goldschmidtianum.

Later that the afternoon, I ordered some fresh New Zealand sphagnum moss. Removing the crunchy grey sphagnum from all of the older baskets and mounts seemed like an ASAP kinda project.

On Sunday evening, I finally found some time to focus on this giant task at hand. I started by moistening all of my hanging orchids and removing the old sphagnum moss. I then trimmed away any brown roots, applied cinnamon to fresh wounds and tucked new fluffy medium into the baskets and around the mounts. My orchids were then treated to a weak dose of fertilizer and hung back up to rest.

As my orchid collection has matured, fulfilling such a variety of needs has become easier. Daily care and close observation have allowed me to refine my growing techniques. But as my interests have become more cultivated, I have found myself a little disinterested in some of my orchid companions. Most of my fine-rooted, intergeneric orchids and some of my simple Phalanenopsis friends have lost their luster. The mere presence of yellowing leaves or a rotten pseudobulb will usually justify a trip to the garbage pail.

Truthfully, I do feel bad about throwing finicky, unloved orchids into the garbage. If I had the luxury of owning a home with a beautiful back yard, I would have an ‘orchid bush.’ I cannot remember where I originally read about these bushes, but I thought that it was funny that some people simply throw their underachieving orchids under a bush. Most orchids will eventually pull through and develop new roots and foliage, so the term ‘orchid zombie’ is clearly suitable for these survivors.

Cuts have also been made to the very few ‘remedies’ that I use on my orchids. At one time I use to bathe my newly trimmed orchid roots in a Physan 20 bath, but then I began to worry that it was causing their roots to become dry. Now I only used small amounts of Physan 20 in my humidity trays to prevent algae build-up. In turn, I have become a huge fan of using a spray bottle filled with water, a cinnamon stick, ground cinnamon and a small amount of baby shampoo to play the role of the surfactant. I feel as this humble brew works well for anti-fungal purposes and pests alike.

Amidst these changes, I have recently been roused by some new inspiration, taken on a few new projects, tested out a variety of new materials and have welcomed a handful of new orchids into my life.  I am genuinely excited to share more of these moments with you so soon!

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