Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Orchids -- Gotta Love'em

My sister, Deberah gave everyone a great tour of the Hills and Dales Gardens in Lagrange, Georgia, the Crossroads Garden Club visited, May 5th. I knew she would share a fantastic blog and take  pictures, so anyone blogging could join our walk through the gardens. I enjoyed every step and every view into each different type of garden spot. But one section I enjoyed the most was the green house and the magnificent orchids in bloom.

One of the most prevalent orchids, I recognize, as seen above, is the "Cattleya", named after, William Cattley from Barnett, England, a collector and botany patron, who lived around 1832. Today there are sixty plus varieties ranging in colors from whites, creams, pinks, violets, purples and even in darker shades of each. This variety is a favorite of American florists and garden centers due to price, availability and color schemes. Florists use them in corsages and arrangements, retail garden centers use them for pot and hanging basket sales.

The "Cattleya" orchid originated from Central and South America, introduced to England in 1818, but other genus of orchids have wide spread origins from Spain, China, to Australia and even a cousin, the slipper orchid from Cyprus.

Although, I have tried in the past to grow this gorgeous plant, I have never had success. Maybe it was my ignorance or maybe a certain fear and belief that a green house was needed to maintain and grow an orchid. After, a little research, understanding the steps to care for this orchid doesn't seem as hard as I thought. Grow in a five to ten inch pot which has excellent drainage (one of the keys), use commercial orchid soil or use a mixture of course peat (size of a pea), ground bark and charcoal. Water regularly during the growing season (blooming), sparingly during winter. Maintain at 70-80 degrees, mist to maintain humidity at 50 percent (another key element) throughout the year and keep in a window with good non-direct sunlight. A humidifier placed close by, plus misting should solve any humidity problems. Use a weak fertilizer, once a week during the growing season and consult the internet or knowledgeable grower, if you have questions or problems.

Regardless of whether you want to take a challenge to grow orchids -- you "Gotta Love'em" because the flowers are magnificent and bring a beauty to our earth to enjoy and share with anyone in your life!

I tried to share the photos with Tia this afternoon but she wasn't interested and took a nap....she can enjoy the blog later.

Next time I'll give you an update on the two sister's garden. Until then......

Happy Gardening 2012!

Posted by Wilma Smith

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