Taking a Breather

This post was all written with photos and links when blogger suddenly went insane, it moved pictures and deleted whole paragraphs! I've never had that happen, so I'm going to start over trying to remember what I wrote.

I looked over the last few posts and realized they were totally sans photos! Since we are currently surrounded with so much sad and serious news, I decided to talk about flowers today. Not to diminish the tragedy that Japan and the world face but rather as a little breather, a time out from it for just a bit.

The other day while visiting some of my favorite blogs, I checked in at Posie Gets Cozy, Alicia had a beautiful photo of an orchid she's "plant sitting" for a month. In the comments, one person responded, telling her it was a phalaenopsis. Another wrote:  "orchids are actually some of the easiest houseplants in my experience. usually I kill houseplants with neglect but for some reason my orchids seem to like my once-a-week watering style." 

This made me think of my very neglected cymbidiums on the back patio. Those dear plants are blooming despite my total lack of care! They haven't been fed or watered (except by rain) and haven't been repotted in at least 5 years! Shame on me.

Cymbidiums have always amazed me. I've been growing about 4-6 of them over the last 20+ years. They've lived through major house reconstructions without complaint, a situation when most other plants would have given up the ghost.

When I actually pay attention to them, feed them, water them and repot them every so often, they send up loads of flower spikes. Yet, when I do none of the above they still shine, sending up at least one spike every season! It's quite magical. I don't think they would be this determined in the house though.
I've actually seen a front yard planted with cymbidiums, not grass. They really thrive outdoors in this climate, enduring cold nights (50F/10C) and 100+F (38C) temperatures in the summer. Trader Joe's has them at this time of year for a very reasonable price vs. the garden stores. Their flowers come in an array of colors from burgundies, whites, pinks, yellows, rusts, lime greens to many colors in between. They also have phalaenopsis and dendrobiums pretty much year round at very reasonable prices. I've never grown either of those, because I'm just kind of smitten on my cymbidiums. Very tough little plants that always surprise me with their beauty and durability.
The other plants that have persevered in the face of my neglect are one rosemary which is actually blooming, a potted lily, cymbidiums (one which shares its pot with a volunteer papyrus, and a plumeria which is hanging on for dear life.
The photo above shows one of the cymbidiums sharing its pot with a papyrus on the left and the lily on the right. I read an article today projecting sharp rises in food pricing now through 2015 and it makes me want to dig a garden. However, since I'm renting this house, that's not a likely scenario. What I do have aside from the pot garden is a wee strip of soil by the back porch. Currently it's home to 2 living gardenias and a dead one. I'm going to ask the property manager if the gardeners can move the gardenias to another spot so I have a small planting area for veggies that don't do well in pots. Below is a photo of its current state. On the left of the plot is an old stump taking up space.
I hadn't given much thought to gardening till I read the article. I'm usually pretty happy with my culinary herbs and a tomato plant or two. So I'm going to start researching what I could plant in that little 1.5 foot by 4.5 foot space.
The assorted geraniums need to be trimmed and re-rooted. I planted them over 8 years ago and they really have become woody. I used to just cut them back hard in January and they'd green right up in spring, but not so much this year. The poor plumeria (seen above) really needs some dirt and re-potting. Well, this has been my garden meanderings for the day, we'll see how far I get with all this.

I hope you'll think of something of beauty today and enjoy it's gift to you.

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