Wednesday, April 06, 2011

blooming white phalaenopsis orchid and some thoughts on plants

white phalaenopsis orchid bloom 001

Good morning (if it is still morning where you are) I'm enjoying a cup of re-heated coffee that Joseph had left on the counter for me, although I drink it so slowly that it's almost cold again. I have a white cat purring on my lap and a grey cat staring jealously at me from across the room. The clouds are starting to blow east and the sky is clearing and I know today is going to be a great day. I have a friend (a horticulturist friend) coming over today to help me do some transplanting and balcony gardening. One of my orchids has started to bloom — it is waiting for a bit of sun to come out too.

Having plants all around is a daily source of inspiration and rejuvenation, I find. To see their ability to thrive and flourish in even the most drastic situations is worthy of our respect. When I think of Japan these days I am reminded of the ginkgo tree's ability to survive in Hiroshima after the bomb, after exposure to disease, and after decades of pollution. The Japanese people seem to have a unique love and admiration for living vegetation that you don't see anywhere else on the planet. When I see the cherry blossoms along the streets here in Vancouver I am saddened to think of how such a cherished time of year in Japan was destroyed.

white phalaenopsis orchid bloom 002

Sometimes it's easy to think of plants simply as decor — at best — and we forget that they are alive. They are more than just alive, they are calculating, problem solving, fragile, and yet indestructible creatures. A botany lab that I worked in during high school has been spending years researching a plant's ability to assess competition for food and how to work around it — or against it. There is an interesting article on Dr. James Cahill and his University of Alberta lab and their research, if you would like to read it. Essentially, plants have the ability to think and that is both thrilling and terrifying — Day of the Triffids anyone?

white phalaenopsis orchid bloom 003

white phalaenopsis orchid bloom 004

These are photos of one of my phalaenopsis orchids as it looks today. It took two years to re-bloom, but I waited patiently and let it do its thing. I'm always confused when people say things like "this will confuse the trees" if we get an early or a late spring — surely the trees have a better sense of what's going on than we do? So what if it's April 6? They don't follow a calendar year and it has no bearing on their blooming cycle.

If you need more plant inspiration, I meet my quota over on Belle Fleur de Lis everyday. Lotte, who runs the blog is probably one of the sweetest bloggers out there and she has such a calm and tender love of her plants, it is such a good reminder of how to slow down and take the time to look and listen to our plants. She knows what a healthy effect it has on her life and so she has started an adopt a plant project to try to share the love with those around her. How funny that I can find so much inspiration and common interests from someone who is 8000 kilometers away.

Do you have any plants at home that breathe life into you?

white phalaenopsis orchid bloom 005


elizabeth said...

This is a beautiful post.

My favorite plant is still the jade that you gave me when you were about 8 - do you remember? It's traveled with me to every city and home I've lived in, almost died numerous times and somehow, miraculously, always come back to life. Now it has little babies in the homes of my friends everywhere. I'll keep it till it's old and wise and withered and we'll share our old age together.

Anonymous said...

I also drink my morning tea so slowly that it needs heating up multiple times. I wish I had your green thumb...

Beautiful post and beautiful plants.


Jacqueline said...

I'll be right over! EEeeeee...can't wait for plant love!


Oh my goodness what beauty! This is a wonderful post.... Have fun with Jaqueline give Mingus a squeeze and rub for me. STUNNING! love your blog!!!!

Mary Hudson said...

Elizabeth, I love that your jade has survived alongside you for so long. Plants really do make the best gifts.

Lisa, give it a shot! Buy a sansevieria and only water it every 2 weeks (or 3 weeks). I would be stunned if it dies.

Chrissy — thank you so much for coming! We managed to get some great things done that I had been putting off and now those plants are so happy!

Thank you Helena, we can't wait to see you again!

Jacqueline said...

Oh Little Mary it was my pleasure!! I have been thinking about your Hosta all day!!....he's going to be so happy!