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01 August 2009

The Orchid Is My Friend

I keep telling myself, "The Orchid is my friend", hoping that if I say it enough it will come true. The deal is, our good friends have gone away for most of the summer. I am keeping an eye on their house and yard and watering the plants. You see, my friend has this Orchid that was given to her as a gift. Notice, it was not her choice to have this Orchid, but since it was given to her, she wants to take good care of it. So she asked that I watch it while she is away.

Knowing that Orchids are high maintenance in my book, I took it home so that I can keep a close eye on it and give it the attention it desires. I had a talk with it while we were walking home together. I let it know that I would do my best, but that I am a gardener of specific tastes. I like natives that adapt easily to the pacific northwest weather patterns and plants that prefer shade and alone time. Of course, the weekly watering schedule is preferred too. But this orchid told me that it had other things in mind. It wanted to be lightly misted each morning and water poured over the rocks at it's base daily. It did not want any direct sunlight but preferred a sunny place to chill.

Ok, that is high maintenance if you ask me. I was just waiting for it to say it would be nice if it could also have a mate. So as a plant lover, I told it that I would do my very best but that it had to do it's part too - not die while I was it's caretaker. In fact, if it flourished, that would be even better.

So, after a day or two of caring for this demanding indivdual plant spirit, I took it upon myself to dote on it. It had one leaf that was not doing well and dried up stems from when it flowered earlier in the year. My pruning shears came out and I clipped off that sad leaf and the dried flower stems. I rearranged the rocks so that it could soak up the minerals from the water better and put it in our sunny office where the sun never shines direct but the whole room is sunny all day long. I mist it daily and be sure it never lacks for water. I am doing my part.

Well, this is a smart Orchid. It is actually holding up it's end of the deal. A few days ago I noticed a teeny tiny new growth. Could this be a new leaf already? Yes, a new leaf it is. I swear this new little delicacy has actually grown almost an inch. I really have no idea what I am doing with this exotic creature but it seems to be working. All I did was put my basic skills to work - talk to the plant, connect with it's spirit and let it show me what it needs. So as my mantra started out as a desperate plea, I say it now with a gardener's pride: The orchid is my friend!

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