Friday, January 14, 2011

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day ~ January, 2011


It's not actually as brrr as it looks but it's most definitely not gardening weather.

This is always the hardest month to be chipper on Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. 'Cause I just know when I visit my southern blogging friends they'll be inches away from springtime. Or, worse yet, showing off first blossoms.

What? Me? Jealous? Okay, maybe just a little. I'm 5 months away from digging in the dirt.

I have nothing to show for myself outdoors though it is quite colorful indoors...

Orchids, Cyclamen, refugee Poinsettias (everybody gives me theirs after the holidays) jockey for position in the sunny window.

Velvety Amaryllis are showing off a 2nd round of blossoms. I had terrible luck with bulbs this year though this late bloomer has certainly made up for her slow-as-snails performance.

Red Birds are bursting at the seams, climbing out of their tiny pots.

Loves me: White Hydrangea. This is probably cheating 'cause I didn't grow it. She was a Christmas gift. But, she's very happy in her new home. PS: Pay no attention to that can of dog food in the picture. Sheesh! I'm quite the professional photographer, aren't I?

Loves Me Not: Darling Kalanchoes are 'sort of' blooming. I have pink, yellow and orange but the yellows are so covered with bugs I was embarrassed to show them. I wouldn't want you to think I'm a lazy gardener or anything.

Most of my flowering favorites are in the 'coming attractions' teasing phase. I've got tons and tons of Butterfly Orchids that are ready to pop.

And, I just know they'll all burst into bloom on February 1st, the second I hop a plane and hit the road for an entire month.

Scoot on over and say hello to Carol at May Dreams Gardens. She's the smart cookie who hosts Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

PS! And, last but not least...

So, things aren't completely barren outdoors...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rebellious Bright Blossoms

Inspiration for this post came from my blogging friend, Jodi, who recently encouraged us to give Moth Orchids a try. Reading other women's blogs often encourages me to gamble with new flowers. In the case of Phaleanopsis Moth Orchids, I've discovered it's surprisingly easy to get them to re-bloom.

Over the weekend, I noticed a whole bunch of buds on the Moth Orchids. (I've been raising them for a few years, now.) It's anniversary time for them and for me, too.

I'm celebrating 10 long, lovely years of working from home, doing a little bit o' this and a little bit o' that. Started out as a marketing consultant. Evolved into a freelance writer.

You'd think after a decade I'd have it all down but just yesterday somebody called me up, begged me to do a project for free.

This happens all the time. I think it's rude and I didn't wanna do it. So, naturally, I said yes.

Clearly, I'm not the most cutthroat of businessmen women. Plus, I know they all mean well. They just assume I'm unemployed. I'm not in an office. Most mornings you'll find me working in my jammies. Therefore I'm not really working.... right?

 Cymbidium Orchid
This slacker died a slow death in the compost pile.
They don't bloom often enough and were therefore kicked to the curb.

So, it's been 10 years, but I still can't get through a week without someone offering me career advice. You'd think they'd have given up long before now.

Has this ever happened to you? You make a monumental decision and it doesn't come lightly. Something in your life is broken and it needs to be fixed. You fret about it. Lose sleep over it. You wiggle your way through every worst and best case scenario.

Crunch and re-crunch those infernal numbers...

I killed this one, too. Dendrobium, another fussy variety.

Essentially, you do everything in your power to insure it's a wise idea. This is, indeed, a gamble you'd like to take. In my case: I decided to become self-employed and work from home.

Happy with this decision, I announced it to my friends. I was excited for the big group hug.

To my surprise, all hell broke loose.

One negative observation after another. How will you survive? How will you pay your bills? Here. Here's the number of our human resource dept. They'll give you a temporary job until you come to your senses.

Feed me! I'm hungry.
Moth Orchids get soaked for 30 minutes once a week.
 Water + leftover tea leaves + a highly diluted organic fertilizer.
Seems to do the trick.

Sheesh! I understand that failure is a scary thing for lots of people. I fail so often I don't even think about it anymore. Can you train yourself to be different? Doubtful. I suppose that comes from somewhere deep within.

But, I will say that there are certain instances when failure should absolutely be an option. And, such is the case with Moth Orchids. It's just a plant. Give it a go! If it decides to die then toss it in the compost pile and do it again.

* What worked for me might not work for you. That's half the fun of gardening.
* Flowering really took off once I decided to stop coddling them.
* Mine live outdoors in the summertime. They get direct sunlight in winter. Every Sunday, I soak them for 30 minutes. The leftover tea leaves gives them lots of nitrogen, for which they are eternally grateful.
* From my perspective, the biggest mistake you can make with Orchids is over-confidence. :) Moth Orchids are easy peasy. Other varieties, not so much.

Friday, January 7, 2011

'As I Lay Dying'

Two things have always perplexed me about exercise classes:
1) Why we even bother.
2) Why we suffer in silence.

I started my new workout routine this week and I seem to be the only one crying out from the back of the room: Hellooo, I'm dyin' here!!!

Admittedly, it was a long, busy holiday but as I was passing out drinks this morning, I noticed my poor houseplants have been screaming the same dang thing. Rest assured, I'll show more compassion than the perky little brat teaching my body sculpt [as if that is even possible] class.

In 3 short weeks, I hop a plane. Off on an adventure that's been on the 'wanna do' list for quite some time. When I get there, I'll be meeting up with Little Miss Never Gains a Pound. Or, should I say Missus (nearly newlyweds!)

Oh, how I have missed our coffee chats. She is one of my dearest friends. Though I will confess that after a 60 minute torture session with weights and bands and God only knows what's next on this workout agenda -- all in a grand effort not to slow her down once I arrive -- I started wondering... Just how hard would it be to make some lazy friends?

Now, this, of course, is all in jest. She's a wonderful person. But, I'll bet less active people (preferably ones who still know how to make homemade donuts) are wonderful people, too.

Thought for the Day.... If dry furnace air is making your skin feel all itchy and miserable, your houseplants might be unhappy, too. Plus, they're probably freezing their little tails off if they're sitting on a cold windowsill when you turn the heat down at night.

Unhappy House Plant Warning Signs:
  • Yellow leaves - Too much light, fertilizer or water.
  • Yellow spots - Dripping water onto the leaves. (Water from below.)
  • Brown leaves - Not enough water.
  • Dry leaves - Lack of humidity.
  • All of the above - R.I.P.
  • The darker green the leaf, the less light a plant generally needs.
  • Most indoor flowering plants do better in cooler temperatures.

* As I Lay Dying is a brilliant novel of human suffering, written by William Faulkner.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In With The New

Utah Penstamon

Wasn't that kind of the calendar to give us two weeks of holiday celebrations landing on Fridays? More time to celebrate friendships, old and new. A less hectic schedule for finishing out a can't-say-it-was-all-that-great year. Onward and upward.

Been thinking a lot about native flowers this weekend as that's high on my list of things I'd like to embrace in this new year - more flower power, more water conservancy.  (These pics are three I find in plentiful supply along our hiking trails and three I'd like to grow.)

Dusty Maiden

As long as I'm thinking in 3's here are my top 3 holiday observations:

1) Roasting chestnuts is not nearly as cool and romantic as it sounds. They explode! In unison! Roast them a bit too long, drag them out of the oven and when they hit the cooler air: BAM! It's like 4th of July all over the kitchen.

2) As I took a quiet moment to admire Sandy's lovely Christmas Eve buffet, I spotted a pretty platter beneath the ham. Hey! That's mine! What's the statute of limitations on the return of serving platters? I'm thinking... never?  ;-)

3) What price peace of mind? $214.00. As we suffer through the deepest of deep freezes (sub-zero temps are soooo not what we're used to,) I hightailed it down to the cowboy store and bought winter coats for both horses.

Do they need 'em? Who knows? More importantly, who cares? I slept well, knowing they'd be toasty warm while these frigid winds continue to blow...

Wild Something or Other

I hope you got everything you wished for this holiday season. I got closer to my daughter. We've always been pretty tight so I didn't even think closer was possible. We are now Siamese Twins and she's the better half.

Oh! And, I got a ticket to Innsbruck. But, that's a story for another day.

* Plant ID:   #1 ~ I know is correct. #2 ~ I think is correct. #3 ~ is clearly a wild guess.