ORCHIDS, A NEW HOBBY DURING THE PANDEMIC

I have completed my furniture refinishing projects around the house, have cleaned out some cabinets and closets (but not THE remaining closet), cooked lots of food, made ice cream three times in the last week, gone for multiple walks, laughed so much that my belly hurt, played lots of board games and lastly decided I need a new hobby. I was a Master Gardener, having completed the Master Gardener Program in the Northeastern United States when I lived there, but never really got into gardening here in Florida. It seems so odd to me that the shrubbery surrounding my home are actually HOUSEPLANTS in New England. I also have been petrified of snakes here, living near a pond. However, I really miss the day to day joy of watching something grow before my eyes, noticing subtle changes unfolding from day to day. Sure, I have pots of plants outside with flowers and vegetables growing, and I also have an Aerogarden in my home, but I need something new to look forward to in the plant department while I am cooped up at home.

The French have a saying, “vouloir c’est pouvoir”. Where there is a will, there is a way, loosely translated. This is a saying imbedded within my soul. While many stores and garden centers are closed here near me while I am continuing to self-isolate, I found a local garden center that does curbside delivery. Just like the restaurants. I can order on-line, pay on-line, and pick up my plant on a table set up in front of the garden center, having no contact with anyone if I plan my departure from the car perfectly. As long as we have HOUSEPLANTS growing in the yard, I might as well add another HOUSEPLANT to the trees.

I have long admired orchids growing in trees in tropical areas while on vacation, so I wondered if my gardening zone (9b) could tolerate orchids attached to trees. I noticed that someone dear to my heart has an orchid growing in her front yard and didn’t realize it until recently. She is really my inspiration for my new hobby. I began to think…….. I have a beautiful Southern Magnolia tree in the back yard, near the pool, and decided a splash of some bright pink might be a bit of whimsical fun poking out from the leaves of the tree. I did some research and found out that dendrobium orchids and phalaenopsis orchids do well attached to trees, without pots, in my area. I selected a variety of dendrobium orchid called “Oshin Pink”, which is a pink and while orchid.

“You are never too old to set a goal or dream a dream.”

-C.S. Lewis

First I leaned the orchid against the tree to get an idea of the size and scale of both.

Then, I took the orchid out of the four inch pot, leaving some dirt mixed in with the roots. Some of the sources I consulted said to use plastic plant ties to attach the plant to the tree, and others said to use biodegradable cotton string or twine, but I simply used what I had in the garage (thin nylon rope). I wrapped the rope around the plant, starting first at the roots, then attached part of the stem to the tree as well. It took all of five minutes to do this. Some sources said you can add in some coconut fiber or bark to the roots to hold in the moisture, yet other sources said that might encourage rot and disease, so I opted not to use any. I read that it is important to spray the orchid with water daily for a week, so we’ll see how it works out. This side of the tree is a eastern/southeastern exposure, which can be pretty hot in the summer. I started out with one orchid first to see if it is in the proper placement, but the garden center told me being in the shade of the Southern Magnolia tree would provide the relief from the hot sun that the orchid needs, regardless of which side of the tree I plant the orchid.

I was so excited when I finished my new project for my new hobby. Adding a bit of excitement to any day is always a good thing in my opinion. I love having something for which to look forward. As Mark Twain said, “Why not go out on a limb? That’s where all the fruit is.” In my case, that’s where all the flowers will be. Always feels good to me to try something new, and I try to see something I love, touch something I love, smell something I love, hear something I love, do something I love, or eat something I love each day. In this tree, I can see something I love, hear something I love, and I’ve already done something I love within five minutes. It doesn’t get any better than that!

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.”

-Lady Bird Johnson

Life is good; start a new hobby or find something that adds excitement, joy, and change into your daily routine to give yourself something beautiful to look forward to while you self-isolate.

Carpe diem, friends……………

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