Orchid Love


Orchids can become an obsession. As one who possesses that obsessive type of personality by nature, one who doesn’t just skip lightly into a new interest but rather jumps feet first and whole body and soul into it, the orchid-mania hit me around 1996 with the first purchase.


Needless to say, there were more purchases, many of them. In between collecting every orchid we could find, we moved twice, from Tennessee to Texas and then back to another area of Tennessee, where we now reside. The orchids were brought along each time in the back of the vehicle with a clever system involving plastic bins and wood shelves.


A greenhouse/sunroom was built specifically to house the orchids over the winter at this house, more information about that can be read about by clicking here. Immediately it was discovered that there was not enough room for all the orchids and other peripherals that needed sunny, humid shelter during the cold months. Something had to be done.


It began, that something, by leaving the orchids outside that had not bloomed or rebloomed for me, except the Paphiopedilums, my favorites. Waiting ten years for certain paphs to rebloom had been a lesson of stubborn patience. These were the easiest, so it had been written, and if their exacting needs could be met, rebloom should happen. It finally did.


All of the Paphiopedilums were kept since they were small and somewhat attractive even when not flowering. One by one, the other orchids were left outside to freeze to death, the only way I seemed able to do the deed. Hidden out of sight in the corner, covered with leaves, they perished. But one Cattleya continues to resist my efforts of eradiction, Pumpkin.


Pumpkin, full name Cattleya Slc. (Pumpkin Festival ‘Fong Yuen’ x Naomi Kerps ‘Fireball’) is large, unruly and has ugly foliage. It should have gotten the death sentence long ago, except that is keeps producing new blooms. Not only does it bloom unfailingly, it blooms soon after being brought indoors each September.


So it is, the greenhouse shelves contain the nicely budded Paphiopedilums that will bloom well into March, giving us the flower fix in the coldest and frostiest times, and Pumpkin, among other odds and ends of cuttings and succulents. It melts this hard heart.

Frances

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19 Responses to Orchid Love

  1. You have a beautiful collection of orchids. They are interesting even when they are all green. They are lucky to have their own accommodations. It is no wonder they bloom in appreciation.

    thanks Lisa. Not all of the orchid species enjoy the accomodations provided by my greenhouse/sunroom. Lucky for me, the Paphs are thriving in there.
    Frances

  2. gail says:

    Your orchids are lovely…Even though Pumpkin has ugly foliage that flower is wonderful! I remember the first time I went into a greenhouse filled with orchids. It was cold outside but, sunny and humid inside and filled with the most incredible flowers. Tiny little butterfly like beauties dangling over head and and giant over the top and in your face flowers covered the shelves. You would have been thrilled. I know I was. xoxogail

    Thanks Gail. You should go to Carter and Holmes in Newberry, South Carolina. That is the place where my addiction got started. As you say, little dainty flowers hanging like butterflies. I will never forget it.
    xoxoxo
    Frances

  3. Layanee says:

    They all look so happy on that shelf. The flowers of ‘Pumpkin’ do make up for the less than stellar foliage. They are gorgeous and so vibrant.

    Thanks Layanee. Those colors really do brighten a winter’s day, and fall, too.
    Frances

  4. James Golden says:

    I no longer have the right conditions, or life style, for a large orchid collection. But I recently got a pretty green Paphiopedilum, which remains in our unheated house in the country–unheated because electricity has been out almost two weeks. With temps out there about to do down to 28, I’m wondering how this plant will make it.

    Hi James, thanks for adding in here. Taking care of many different types of orchids proved to be too much for my lifestyle, too. The paphs are relatively carefree, once their needs of temp, light and humidity have been met. I hope your new Paph can survive. If the room it is in can stay 50F or above, it should be fine. That is as cold as my greenhouse gets in the winter, no extra heat in there, and the orchids love it. I don’t know about much colder than that for a long period of time. May your electricity come back on there soon.
    Frances

  5. Robin Ripley says:

    Your orchids look very happy! I cycle mine in and out of a light garden in the basement, which seems to work. I envy your greenhouse!

    Hi Robin, thanks for joining in about orchid care. I have never grown the orchids under artificial light, only seedlings. Since this is not a real greenhouse, more of a sunroom with skylights, the light is lower in there, perfect for the paphs.
    Frances

  6. This is a timely post for me. I have received several orchids for my mother’s funeral. They are beautiful and I am scared to death of them :) I’ve never had one, not sure what to do with them, and had heard they are particular. Should I re-pot them? They are in small pots and the orchids are very tall. Do you use a special potting mix? thanks for any info. Brenda

    Hi Brenda, thanks for visiting. I am so sorry about the loss of your mother, please accept my condolences. As for the orchids you received, it depends on what type they are as to the care they need. I would not repot them right away, and be careful to not overwater them. The potting mix depends on what type of orchids they are. Most like the Eastern exposure window light, humidity and some air movement. You might contact the florist or place they came from for better instructions. Good luck!
    Frances

  7. My Kids Mom says:

    “Pumpkin” is named well for the time of year in which she blooms, but her color appears to be red. Am I wrong? And I understand the killing of a plant. I just can’t do it. Even the removal of annuals for new annuals is tough on me! But I agree that she should stay- blooms win over foliage every time.

    Hi Jill, thanks for visiting. Pumpkin is not orange, more like a reddish pink that fades to be less red over time. The name might come from the time of bloom, nearly always on Hallowe’en, or from a parent in the cross.
    Frances

  8. Lola says:

    You have a wonderful array of orchids. I love orchids but don’t have the proper place for them.

    Hi Lola, thanks. Many orchids are offered cheaply now, even at our local grocery. I would buy them like cut flowers that last a really long time, enjoy them wherever, then toss them.
    Frances

  9. Leslie says:

    Oh, your sunroom looks really nice–and your orchid collection is lovely. My mom always grew orchids in the bathroom. It was pretty funny, how crowded our little bathroom was with fussy, pampered plants. But it was nice when they bloomed; the bathroom became a tropical paradise.

    Hi Leslie, thanks so much. I love imagining your mom’s bathroom as a tropical paradise. She was a good gardener!
    Frances

  10. Cindy says:

    Pumpkin is doing her best to keep you enthralled with her! She’s quite a beauty even with tatty foliage!

    Hi Cindy, thanks for those kind words about dear Pumpkin. Her flowers are very much appreciated, even if her foliage is not. She is ignored the rest of the year and seems to thrive on the lack of attention.
    Frances

  11. Have three, two from Carter and Holmes (made the short trip over to Newberry to get see their place) and another from a friend………….none are blooming, but they are alive. Maybe one day………………. ;-)

    Hi Janet, lucky you to live close to Carter and Holmes. Depending on how long you have had them without blooms, C and H are very helpful over the phone.
    Frances

  12. Rose says:

    I haven’t caught orchid fever yet, which is probably just as well. But you’ve got to admire the tenacity of Pumpkin–now that’s the kind of indoor plant I might actually keep alive:)

    Hi Rose, thanks for stopping by. Pumpkin has proven much easier than any other Cattleya we have had, and there have been a few.
    Frances

  13. Carol says:

    Pumpkin? It sounds like a term of endearment more than a plant name for an orchid. I’m happy you are letting Pumpkin stay, she has a good looking bloom!

    Hi Carol, thanks for visiting. Pumpkin is endearing with those ready blooms, she is very pretty.
    Frances

  14. Wow, good for you! I fell in love with orchids when I was a teen, and later in my 20s, included them in my bridal bouquet. That’s a beautiful collection!

    Hi PP, thanks. There is something magical about the orchids, how they bloom and stay in flower so long. I am addicted, but have it sort of under control. For now.
    Frances

  15. I have had the orchid bug for a really long time. It is unexplainable in that it is such a different plant than I would usually prefer. The beauty of them puts a spell on people I think.

    Hi Donna, thanks for adding to the conversation. It is unexplainable, for me as well. I don’t do houseplants, but there is something compelling about the ugly foliage and amazing blooms of the orchids. A spell, for sure.
    Frances

  16. Balisha says:

    I’m so envious….but I see that your orchids get a lot more sun than mine do.
    Balisha

    Hi Balisha, thanks. These get the morning sun and filtered southern exposure with the screens on the windows, plus the dirt on the glass. HA The orchids seems to like it.
    Frances

  17. commonweeder says:

    What a wonderful collection. Pumpkin reminds me of the corsages we all longed for, and sometimes got, when I was in high school a century or two ago. My daughter who isn’t much of a gardener has a gift for orchids. All her friends give her their ‘worn out’ gift orchids and they all come back into bloom for her time and again. I don’t think she bothers with names, and just enjoys the magic.

    Hi Pat, thanks for adding here. I loved hearing about your daughter’s orchid growing prowess! It is a gift and so nice that her friends have a place to send their plants, too. Magic, indeed.
    Frances

  18. No orchids here . . . yet. I was glad to see the conundrum of Pumpkin’s name discussed; it had perplexed me, too.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for visiting. Pumpkin is not orange, although maybe in the right light it is a reddish orange, or not. Perhaps the parent was more orange.
    Frances

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