January Bloom Day 2012-Or-chid It Be Magic*?

It is another new beginning to the parade of blooms showcased on garden blogs around the world on or about the fifteenth of each month, thanks to sweet Carol of May Dreams Gardens. While there are only a very few plants blooming out of doors, some confused by the warmer than usual weather pattern we have experienced, there is action in the greenhouse/sunroom of the Fairegarden. Paphiopedilum ‘Oriental Mystique’ starts off the party. The full name is Paphiopedilum Oriental Mystique ‘Shan’ x Paph. Alma Gaevert ‘Hageys’.

The orchid collection has been streamlined down to only the lady slipper, Paphiopedilum type and a couple of Cattleyas, from a previously wide assortment of large and small specimens. Getting these to rebloom, the whole point of growing them for me, is the easiest under the conditions inside this special room and outdoors in the warmer months. It has been over ten years now, I believe we are now holding our mouths just right. Paphiopedilum ‘Quasky #3 x Quasky #4′ was one of the first orchids purchased, in 1997. It took many years to figure out the magic words, and potting mixture to get rebloom. This and a couple of other Paphs have been with us for three different houses. How To Repot A Paphiopedilum reveals some of the secret magic.

Paphiopedilum holdenii x P. almenii.

Paphiopedilum (Starr Warr x Maudiae) ‘Pisgah’ x Paph. Dark Spell ‘Wolf Lake’

Pumpkin, Cattleya Slc. (Pumpkin Festival ‘Fong Yuen’ x Naomi Kerps ‘Fireball’), one of two Catts, the other blooms in April, has been blooming since Thanksgiving. Depending upon the number of sunny days, which raises the temperature inside the greenhouse/sunroom, these flowers should hang on another month, at least.

The greenhouse/sunroom is not really a greenhouse, it is a dedicated room with a tile floor and a drain, the old sink from the kitchen remodel, windows on three sides and two skylights. There is a heat/air register in the ceiling that helps keep it to a minimum of 50 degrees Fahrenheit in winter, perfect for orchid growing. Read more about it here.

Many houseplants thrive in the cool, humid conditions in this room. Sometimes seeds are started, always cuttings are taken and always, always always the little primroses from the grocery are kept safely warm until planting time outside in March.

While the orchids are very gratifying, it is seeing the mass planting of primroses that warms a gardener’s heart in the dreary time of winter.

Outside, there are some sad looking blooms, ragged and torn from weather and critters, but at the side of the shed, grasping the climbing rose Veilchenblau for dear life, Clematis ‘Candide’ has bravely held onto this bud since mid-December. There has been harsh wind and bitter cold, but it endures, as does the garden. Onward.


People who know me will faint dead away that I have put Barry Manilow on this blog! Well, I say to them, “HA”!


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20 Responses to January Bloom Day 2012-Or-chid It Be Magic*?

  1. Love those primroses….I need some more indoor winter blooms…the amaryllis is taking her sweet time this year…Happy GBBD

    Thanks Donna. When I see the primroses show up at the grocery, my heart sings for joy. Knowing they can be planted outdoors later and that they will return and be divided even, for years to come, makes a tightwad’s heart soar!

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Those orchid blooms do look like magic to me. Happy GBBD.

    Thanks Lisa. The orchids are other-worldly in appearance, for sure. Happy GBBD to you.

  3. Gail says:

    Frances, Orchids really are exotically beautifully. I love Pumpkin, Cattleya Slc. (Pumpkin Festival ‘Fong Yuen’ x Naomi Kerps ‘Fireball’) and what a mouthful! I am glad you found the magic words to keep them reblooming. Happy Bloom Day my dear. xoxogail

    Thanks Gail. I had to give all the orchids nicknames, a mouthful is what they are. Happy GBBD to you!

  4. The orchids are magnificent! Sounds like your sunroom is the perfect spot. In a previous house I had the same sort of thing and my orchids were never happier.

    Thanks Heather. It is certainly all about finding the conditions that your particular orchids like. Light, heat, humidity, air movement, change of temp for day and night, proper potting medium, they are sort of picky!

  5. The top picture is fantastic. The paphiopedilums are delightfully characterful.

    Thanks Esther. I agree, the lady slipper types have lots of personality and quirkiness. That is what attracts me to them.

  6. Layanee says:

    Oh, they are so beautiful. I must pick up some of this species. Thanks for brightening this winter day.

    Thanks Layanee. They really do help the winter doldrums, to have colorful flowers in bloom.

  7. Larry says:

    Hi Frances… your blooms are marvelous… I’m really becoming addicted to primulas… just ordered four new doubles but they were hard to locate as not many places carry them based on the long search (internet) I had. I love your cattleyas… while many of my orchids are blooming well, the cattleyas have only empty sheathes… I guess that may be normal (I’m new to them) but I also worry that they are getting enough light. I loved your post today… awesome as always… Larry

    Hi Larry, thanks for visiting. I would like to recommend Arrowhead Alpines for the Primulas. They have a wide assortment and I have ordered from them before, a good place of business. The Catts have sometimes done that empty sheath thing for me, too. To be honest, I got rid of the orchids that made a habit of behaving like that. Pumpkin produces blooms with no care, so it gets to stay. If and when it stops blooming reliably, it will be left outdoors in the fall to die the cruel death of winter’s cold. That is how we dispose of them here.

  8. michaele says:

    Your close up photos of your orchids are fabulously fun. If I didn’t know better, I could almost believe I had mistakenly clicked on something that had taken me to shots of alien life forms. Fortunately, they looked friendly and I wasn’t afraid.
    The bright colorful primroses are a delight.

    Thanks Micheale. These flowers are beyond exotic, strange and alien looking. I think that is what I love about them. Glad you weren’t frightened!

  9. Leslie says:

    How wonderful it must be to be in your sunroom with all those blooms! They are just wonderful. I am working on learning about orchids and have a couple a friend gave me…wonder if I will succeed in having them bloom?

    Thanks Leslie. It is like entering another dimension when we open the door to the greenhouse/sunroom. Cool, moist, so full of chlorophyll… Good luck with your orchids. It is all about finding the conditions they like that is doable for you.

  10. Beautiful photos of beautiful orchids. We keep lots of Moth Orchids but struggle with others. Must try primroses as house plants prior to planting out. Thanks for the idea!

    Thanks Green Bench. I can’t grow the Moth Orchids at all, gave up on them even though they are supposed to be so easy. The little primroses are a joy, and since we can plant them out later, seems money well spent to a tightwad like me.

  11. Christina says:

    Frances, your orchids are absolutely spectacular! A greenhouse is a great thing to have :-). I have made it to kill each orchid inside the house that ever entered it and therefore have given up on them. But I can grow cymbidium orchids outside here in San Diego. The climate conditions are just right for them and they are pretty easy going. Mine are just starting to bloom.
    It truly amazes me that you have a clematis bud. The weather must be really confusing for them. I am curious if it will fully open.

    Thanks Christina. How lucky you are to be able to grow the Cymbidiums outdoors! We once had two plants of those, and did manage some rebloom. They were spectacular, but too large to keep in this tiny room, sad to say. The Clemmie bud is a total surprise. We will keep checking it during the winter and if it manages to bloom, there will definitely be a photo shared on the blog.

  12. I am swooning over your orchids!

    Thanks MMD!

  13. Carol says:

    Love your orchids and the play on words. Gorgeous.

    Thanks Carol.

  14. Your orchids are very beautiful. Mine are all resting now and I will have a while before seeing them again. Just like my garden,

    Thanks Donna. Most of my Paphs bloom during winter, that is the best time for me to enjoy them. A couple will bloom in spring, and are not appreciated nearly as much, especially since they have to be put outdoors because the greenhouse/sunroom gets too warm for them.

  15. Rose says:

    Your orchids are beautiful, Frances, but I am most taken with those sweet little primroses. They shout “spring” to me. I do wish I had a sunroom like yours for plants. I thought I had the perfect place last year–a cool back back bedroom with lots of light….then Daughter moved back in:) Ah well, maybe someday I’ll have it back. The Manilow video did surprise me, but I think it’s good to embrace all kinds of music:) Happy Bloom Day!

    Thanks Rose. The primroses are very special, and know that they can be planted outside and live on for years makes them even more precious. Enjoy your daughter, the plant room can wait! HA to the music, you are the only one who commented about it! Happy GBBD to you.

  16. David says:

    Beautiful collection. I love that Cattleya.
    You are indeed magical if you can get those orchids to rebloom. Me? I fear orchids after reading the fascinating books The Orchid Thief and Orchid Fever. I told a friend this and they laughed.

    David/ :0)

    Thanks for visiting David, and welcome. I LOVE those two books, and was already hooked on the orchid addiction when I read them. I have killed many an orchid and been a total failure with getting most of them to rebloom. The collection was whittled down to the reliable rebloomers, which are these Paphs and a couple of Catts. It makes life easier.

  17. Your orchids flowers look like perfect ways to wake up out of the January doldrums outside. The flowers look great and the plants look extra-healthy. Happy Bloomday!

    Thanks James. The Orchids, and primroses, help get me through winter. It is almost like real gardening! Happy GBBD to you.

  18. Balisha says:

    I guess I’m not meant to grow orchids. I have been waiting for a little less than a year for a bloom. I have 7 orchids and only one of them has grown a new leaf. I keep thinking that I’m doing something wrong. Each day, as I give them a spray of water, I see the green leaves and wonder if they’ll ever bloom. I guess I need more patience. (they are growing beautiful roots, however) 🙂

    I know how it is, Balisha, with the orchids not reblooming. I got rid of all the ones that did not rebloom, gave some to friends, left the rest outside in the fall to get crisped. The Paphs are the ones that work well for my conditions and way with them.

  19. Ha indeed!! Barry Manilow? oh dear.
    those Paphiopedilum is almost obsene! Gorgeous.

    HA Janet! The orchid blooms are extremely sensual and more. The botanical name Orchis means testicle in Greek.

  20. These orchids are just exquisite, Frances. And love the charming primroses. Fear they would faint outside here.
    I am new to your blog so forgive me if you have answered the question before but your photos are so stunning. What camera do you use? You certainly have an artist’s eye but the equipment does matter too.

    Thanks Georgie, or is it Georgia? Primroses are very cold hardy, USDA Zones 5-9 for the types sold in the grocery during winter. I do wait until March to plant them out, and find a shady, damp spot to help them survive our hot, humid summers. Thank you for the kind words about the photos. I use a point and shoot, set on auto, Canon Powershot, A720 IS for most images. I also have a Canon Powershot sx1 IS for zooming on birds, etc.

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