There are several proven ways to learn how to be patient, and I’ve tried a few. For example: Fly-fishing for salmon in a Scottish river (salmon caught? zero). Putting up wallpaper (aaargghh). Taking part in a 24-hour police stake-out (okay, I’ve never actually done that).
But I’m learning another method: Growing orchids. Now when I say “growing” orchids, I am talking about “growing” on a very modest scale. Namely, on a window sill in our main bathroom in the house in Daglan.
I know there are orchid lovers who have entire glassed-in greenhouses devoted to the plants. These are the kind of people who know not only the Latin names of each variety, but the common English names: Little Brown Betty, Mandarin Butterfly, Georgia Peach Jam. (Yes, I made those up.)
If you’re like us, from time to time you buy a flowering orchid plant on a whim, or someone gives you one as a gift. It’s beautiful; you put it in a window sill; and eventually the flowers die and fall off. Then the whole thing looks barren, with just a twig or two in the air, and then you throw the plant away. Well, I decided a while ago, those days are over.
For my new regime, I went online and found a YouTube video on caring for orchids, and we’ve been following the advice ever since. And now we have two orchid plants in our bathroom that happen to be flowering (sort of) at the same time. And here they are:
The one with the darker flower, on the right, had many such flowers, but they have been slowly withering and falling off. The plant on the left has (finally) started blooming again.
The entire process really does take time. What I’ve learned is that when a branch has lost all its flowers, you cut it off. Eventually — and this could take weeks — a new branch starts to emerge from the base of the plant. Eventually — and again, this could take weeks — buds will appear and then blossom. Magic!
What else have I learned? Water the orchids just once a week, and even then don’t water too much. Fertilize lightly along the way (yes, you can buy specific orchid fertilizer in a nursery). And don’t expose the plants to too much sunlight.
I think that’s it for the basics. But if any real orchid experts have anything to add, please use the Comments feature at the bottom of this posting. Thank you, thank you very much. (Elvis accent.)