Garden Rows

Wednesday, July 20

Orchid Ballad

Oh orchid so fair
You enjoy an occasional douse
So picky about the flow of air
I hope you like your new house

It seems my poetry skills have deteriorated some since high school.  But the simple start to this ballad says it all.

Last week I was walking through the grocery store in a bit of a deliriously tired state after work on a mission for trash tags.  As I walked through the floral department, the big yellow "Manager's Special" stickers caught my eye on a table full of orchids.  I know better than to actually consider buying plants from the grocery store, but I had to see how much the beautiful orchids had been marked down.  They were $4.99, crap, a plant less than 5 bucks.  Yes, price marketing, I know!  Ok, I saw why they were marked down.  They had little black and green spots.  Scale?  Was it worth it?  Remember, I was tired and did not posses the best decision making skills at that point in time.  Orchids are very finicky plants.  They have very specific requirements, that as long as they are met, the plants are very happy!

I decided that for $5 I would get a learning experience.  My plants are out side, so if this orchid actually had scale it would not infect anybody else.  I have gotten rid of scale before, so I was up to the challenge.  It did not really look like scale though, there were flies landing on the blossoms in the store, and I can't help but wonder if they were the cause for the little green and black spots.  Scale is usually a kind of brown.

When I got home I gently scraped off the spots I could and peeled a few petals that looked worse than the others.  I knew that I would have to re-pot soon since the pot it came in had no drainage holes and no ventilation either.  I spent about 2 hours on the internet that night reading and watching youtube videos about how to care for orchids.  Based on what I learned, I decided to wait a bit on re-potting since it was blooming.  Sadly, over the next day or two it dropped 2 blossoms and the bud that was about to open.  I realized that re-potting might be the only thing to save it.

I bought the plant Monday night and went to a local nursery on Wednesday to get a bark based orchid potting medium and an orchid pot.  Now my $5 orchid cost almost $20.  On the up side I now have a bag of bark...looks like more orchids might be in my future.  My husband really likes the electric blue ones, but before spending $25 on one I would like to keep the "learning experience" alive!

It is a good thing I decided to do the emergency re-potting.  When I pulled all the moss out of the roots there was a lot of stagnate moisture and dead roots.  I cleaned and trimmed as youtube instructed me.  Orchids are much tougher than people think.  They just need air flow, bright indirect light and a good watering about once a week.

It has now been in it's new pot for a week.  In that time it dropped one leaf and all but one blossom.  I was not feeling optimistic, but I expected it to have an adjustment period.  Though I am happy to report that the one blossom seems quite happy over the last few days.  I think it was worth it.

 Maybe more orchids are in my future :~)

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