Category Archives: orchids

The best Christmas present ever…………

I grew up a total daddy’s girl.
After two boys,my mother was overjoyed to have a girl.She tried dressing my in frou-frou clothes.
Totally,didn’t work.
But I wanted to be with my dad.

In his garden,in the summer.
And,in the winter,in his greenhouse.

And when Michael,the Elder,was born,guess who held my hand?
Yep-my Dad.
Michael’s dad was in the Navy and was away,on a ship.It was the Vietnam era,after all.

Readers of this blog know my Dad loved his orchids.
That’s why he built the greenhouse.To house them in the winter.

Fast forward,about 50 + years.After my mother passed,and it was time for him to go to an ALF,he let me have his orchids.
The only advice he gave me was,”Don’t baby them.They grow in the mountains for God’s sake.They can take a lot.”

I tried to follow his advice,and ignored them.
I’m good at benign neglect.Very,very good….
And they bloomed.

We actually divided the largest up and gave one to Erich,the Younger.
He’s a gardener just like his Grandpa.Oh,so very like his Grandpa.

But,after he died three years ago,they stopped blooming.
Oh shit!
What have I done?
It’s been three years,since my Dad passed,and not a bloom….

But,today,on my walk-about thru the garden,and the lanai,I found this….

Merry Christmas!!!!

These days,I’m not very happy………..

After all the rain we had the last rain event we had just over a week ago(17” over 3 days!)
and another 4” sits in my rain gauge,today,
we are due for another round of rain,starting Thursday,
The sump pump on the septic system was over loaded with the last rain go-round and burned out.
(I doubt I need to tell you what that means),
Septic people are overloaded and I’m “on the schedule.”

Even after 3 days of sun and heat,the front and back yards are like swamps,
Seriously,it is.Your feet sink and squish when you walk anywhere.

So I’m left with this….

IMG_2038Yep-that’s a trench.
To drain water from the front yard.
After the past few days,it
still has water running through it.
(whenever the weather changes and cools off,if it should ever do that)
it will be enlarged to become a dry rock bed bed to meet up with this one…
…which does work,but it is totally overloaded with the amount of rain we’ve had.I think hope it just needs more rock added to it.The problem is the ground is so saturated,there is no where for the water to go.
Our lake has over come it’s banks,too,so the water just sits,until either the sun dries it up,or it can sink into the ground.

But there are some bright spots….
An orchid has put out a scape…
It will be a deep purple.

…and the Pine Cone Gingers have been troopers…
IMG_2039 Even though they’ve been totally flooded out.

And I finally gave in,and joined Instagram.I take so many photos with my cell phone,I needed to do something.I added a widget in the upper right,if you’d care to follow along.

Now,it’s time for a glass of wine,and time to ponder all the digging that lies ahead…..


Not tonight…..

I won’t allow it!
…’s predicted to get down to 27* at TheGreatWall.
A hard freeze for hours
Yep,the news people are out in the strawberry fields.
We haven’t seen these temps,in Florida,at this time of year,in four or five years.We’ve been spoiled.But I guess Mother Nature decided to send us a flash back….
not funny,Mother Nature.
Cuttings have been taken of Ti plants,Devil’s Backbone,and the only old-fashioned Impatiens(which for some reason didn’t succumb to the fungus) that is growing on the lanai.
the dining room looks like this….

Too many orchids are in bloom.
These are the ones that are in bloom.
Lc.Gold Digger ‘Orglades Mandarin’

Jewel Orchid Variegated Ludisia-a very cold sensitive ground orchid,but easily propagated

IMG_1839a I bought this one years ago on the promise it would be a red.But it came with no ID.

Thankfully,my dad’s orchids are done blooming,so they’re being kept warm on the lanai.Right up next to house under cover and covered with Christmas lights.Along with some other cold tender tropicals ,ferns and broms.
All of the orchids have inflos on them,so they are hanging on the PVC towel holder and all covered up.

IMG_1851 Yes,those are beach towels-don’t judge…
The only other things I covered covered were the Meyer Lemon,which is covered with fruit,and is way to big to be moved.It’s down by the water,so I’m hoping that there’s a micro climate there to keep it safe,and the Jamaican Wild  Coffee shrub,which is very cold sensitive.Even though it’s in a container,it is also too big to move.So covered it got.
The rest of the garden is on it’s own.
I expect to see plenty of brown,tomorrow…


My Father’s Orchids……….

As long as I can remember,my Dad raised orchids.Cattleya’s mostly.The corsage orchid.Remember those?
Growing up,in Western New York,I remember hanging out with him,in the greenhouse,that he built himself.While he tended his orchids.That greenhouse had all the bells and whistles.An automatic timer that would open the windows when the temperature got too hot.Automatic misters that he created himself.He was an engineer,but I think he was a frustrated architect.
In the winter,if you wanted to find him,you just went to his greenhouse.There he’d be.I’d be messing around.Getting in his way,but he’d tell me all about his orchids.
In the summer,he moved the orchids out to the screened patio(that he also built himself-the man never sat still!).They would be covered in blooms.He had 2 secretaries,so they were always getting orchid corsages.My mother would make these beautiful bows for them.I don’t think that gene was passed on to me me.I’m not that crafty.
When my parents moved to St.Petersburg,in 1973,the orchids made the trip.In the Plymouth station wagon.
Along with my mother’s Hummel figurine collection,but that’s a whole other story.Everything else went in the moving van,except for a few clothes and the orchids and the Hummels.
In Florida,his orchids flourished.He left them outside all year long.Underneath pine trees.The only time he would bring them up to the house was if a freeze was in the forecast.He never fertilized them.They were totally on their own.
After my mother passed away,and we moved Dad to an ALF,I got the orchids.The Hummels went to my sister-in-law.He told me to just put them under the large oak,and just leave them alone.Which I did.And they flourished.
Too well.The largest one had so out grown it’s pot,it was falling over.I asked him if it was time to do something with it.
He adamantly told me
,”No! Leave it alone.”
” But Dad,it’s falling over.”

”Leave it alone!It will be fine.”
But then TheTree went down,taking the pool with it.When the new pool went in,he suggested putting them in a shady spot in the new lanai.But with orders to leave them alone.Which I did(I’m really great at leaving plants alone….),and they flourished.
After he passed away,I finally took it upon my self to divide the largest one.I kept 3 plants and gave one to Erich,the Younger,who now has own garden.
But they didn’t flourish……
They looked like they were dying.
All I could think was that I had killed them.What had I done?
They grew,but they didn’t bloom.
Until this year,and I saw this….

Which,today,became this…..


And another cutting is doing this…..


And Erich,the Younger,has a scape on his,too.

So,maybe I did a good thing.I hope he’s proud…..

After all,he’s the man who taught me that gardening is one big experiment.

Orchids in bud and bloom………..

….first a little history…
I grew up in Western New York.AKA the Snow Belt.But my Dad had a green house-that he built himself.He was an engineer,after all-where he kept his orchids.Every evening,when he got home from work,the first place he went was his green house to check on his orchids-didn’t make my mother very happy…..
To spend time with him,I would follow him and sit on the steps,leading down to the green house,and he would talk about his orchids.Trying to impart a little knowledge,I guess.I know nothing really sunk in,but I love those days.He was always so happy tending his orchids.In 1973,my parents moved to Florida,and all of the orchids came with them.He didn’t have a green house,in St.Petersburg,so he just put them in trees or around his garden.I am lucky enough to have them here with me-a cutting of one of his original orchids is now residing at Erich,the Younger’s garden,in Seminole Heights,in Tampa-growing on my lanai.In their own micro climate.I ignore them,just like he always told me to do.”leave ‘em,alone,girl.They live in the wild.”  In fact,I’m kind of careless about them.If I don’t have their tags,I don’t know their names.But I love them,none the less.
I guess it reminds me of my Dad….


Some of the orchids are blooming!

IMG_1007Paph. Magic Leopard ‘#1’ Hsinying Glory  This one very rarely blooms so I’m not sure of the color of the bloom.


IMG_1009an unknown cultivar of ground orchid

Jewel Orchid-Haemaria discolor

It’s nice to have a connection to those gardeners that have gone before us,isn’t it?

I have been to Heaven……..

Preface:this post is just about the Conservatory at Marie Selby Botanical Garens.I will do another post about the rest of the gardens.

….and it is called Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

…why did it take me thirty+ years to get there?….

Nestled right in the heart of Sarasota,lies this gem.Just a stones throw from St.Armand’s Circle-yep,we ate there-and Longboat Key.
I have wanted to go there,for like forever!
The place is incredible!
But first you have to cross this!


Anyone who knows me,knows I hate heights.
And Bridges.
Especially high bridges.

…Especially the Skyway Bridge…

But I wasn’t driving and I was occupied with my cell phone and taking photos,so I survived.

we got to Sarasota,
and there was Heaven….

The Conservatory…..

I swear the Heavens parted and there I was….

Full of orchids and bromeliads!
Like a kid in a candy store,or someone high on crack,but let’s go
with the candy store thing,shall we?-
I was bouncing around….

Taking photos,like the mad woman I tend to become when surrounded by orchids I don’t have….
I swear I didn’t shove too many people out of the way while I was taking photos…W-e-l-l…maybe a few….but they deserved it….











My favorite,but the only one they had for sale,was $59!Obviously,it didn’t come home with me….sob….




You know I came home with something…

Meet Golden Jewel Orchid,Ludisia dicolorIMG_0961

Already repotted and hanging,in a palm,by the lanai.
Hopefully the orchids that already live at TheGreatWall will make nice and welcome her with open arms….