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An Exotic, Colorful Celebration

An Exotic, Colorful Celebration

Back in the dark ages when I was a teenager, I babysat for a woman who had a blooming orchid on her piano. It was the talk of the neighborhood. Such exotic beauty! Such long-lasting flowers! She grew this plant in her greenhouse window above the kitchen sink. Everyone knew that orchid plants were rare in the North Country, and we all believed that they were nearly impossible to grow, let alone bring into flower.

Fast-forward several decades to an age when plants are routinely shipped around the world and delivered a day later. Blooming orchids can be found year-round in our greenhouse, and our customers have learned that they aren’t as tricky as people once believed.

When I saw this flower all I could say was "Wow." This Paphiopdilum has a long pedigree...it's Paph (Fever Pitch x Macabre) X Paph (Impulse x Ruby Leopard). No matter who the parents were, this wild child is stunning!

Winter is now a very colorful, flower-filled time in the Country Garden greenhouses. I particularly love the mix of orchids and Poinsettias. The nights are long in December and we need all the color and cheer we can get. A grouping of a couple of orchids, a Poinsettia and an Amaryllis creates an instant, vibrant celebration.

We’ve found that the main place where people go wrong with orchids is the watering. Too much will cause the roots to rot. Too little makes the plant shrivel up with thirst. Unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule of how frequently to water because the potting methods vary so much.

Orchids such as Phalanoeopsis are routinely grown in plastic pots with sphagnum moss around the roots. This keeps the roots damp for long periods of time so watering is needed less often. Orchids that are grown in bark placed in clay pots or baskets dry out more quickly and will need more frequent watering.

Room temperature will play a role as well. If a house is kept on the cool side, say under 70 degrees F, the plants won’t dry up as quickly as they would in a warmer environment.

Adding to the difficulty of making general recommendations is the knowledge that different types of orchids prefer different levels of moisture. What’s an orchid owner to do?

If you’re in the area, come into the greenhouse and talk to us. We have handouts on orchid care and knowledgeable staff members who are happy to help.

Those who aren’t near West Main Street in Hyannis can download wonderful orchid care sheets from the American Orchid Society Website. You’ll need to know what type of orchid you have, but there are photographs on that site that can help you with identification as well.

Orchids may not be as rare as they were in the 1960’s, but they still provide long lasting, exotic beauty. A colorful celebration when you need it most? You can grow that!

Got cabin fever? Depressed about the long nights? Come into our greenhouse at 380 West Main Street in Hyannis. The fragrance of the plants and the colorful flowers are known to lift spirits.

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