They Say it is Fall

by Colleen Rochette

Yes, summer has spread her warm, damp wings and has quietly drifted away. The autumnal equinox is now upon us and with any new season, familiar change is always welcome.

The orchid bug that is nestled within me has been buzzing at a cozy, consistent frequency. I have not necessarily been brimming with the same excitement that stemmed from my initial orchid adventures, but I have been very happy. My orchid collection has become quite comfortable and although there have been a few losses due to some very hot summer days, all appears to be well. Not many additions have been made to my orchid garden in these past months. Although I may have one or two orchids on my wish list for later this fall, I have simply found so much pleasure watching my leafy friends come to life and flourish within our home. After the seasonal onset of new growth and new roots, the promise of a variety of fall flowers appears to be on the horizon.

Miniature OrchidsMiniature orchids in the morning.

As my orchids have acclimated to their home, I have been musing over my other plant collections. A few strange, flowering cacti and succulents have been added to the southwest windows in our studio and a handful of hearty begonias are now growing alongside the orchids in our living room. It has felt nice to curate a varied assortment of beautiful creatures, ranging from the subtle and basic to just plain weird.

Stapelia Gigantica + Edithcolea GrandisStapelia gigantica and Edithcolea grandis

STAPELIA GIGANTICAStapelia gigantica‘s emerging buds. So curious to see what these giant ‘starfish’ blossoms will look like and how strong her carrion scent may be.

Years ago, my heart beat wildly for begonias. Sadly, this collection was lost when we moved into one of our older apartments. After all of these years my family and close friends have nurtured cuttings from my previous collection and with their love, they have grown into the most beautiful, robust plants. Each time I have visited their their homes I often found myself missing the distinct foliage and the waves of shimmering pastel flowers. This past spring I finally decided that I wanted to reconnect with a few of my long lost loves.

Begonias and OrchidsOrchids and begonias under the watchful gaze of my ancient aloe.

Begonia Immense Begonia Immense and her beautiful, hairy stems.

With the addition of these new houseplants, I felt the need to re-think potting soil. I remember having bad experiences with many pre-packaged varieties, particularly Miracle-Gro. The thought of overly moist “soil,” small flies and chemicals made me shiver. I love to care for my plants and buying a product that hardly dries takes the fun out of watering entirely. With this in mind, I decided to prepare my own rich, airy mix. I feel that after experiencing the simplicity of varying orchid media, the idea of preparing a nice potting soil that would suit my needs was much easier.

As fall progresses I will surely post a few photos of my orchid blossoms, along with some additional updates.

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