Monday, December 17, 2007

Orchids and Stuff

Lately, the orchid tree has burst into one of its most profuse blooming episodes ever. This weekend my neighbors D&D (across the street) told me they'd been checking out other orchid trees in the neighborhood. They say mine is the healthiest one around. --Why?, they ask. --All that micronutrient and stuff you use? --Heh! Nope. I dunno, really. I haven't *happy juiced* that tree in eight years.

Orchid trees get messy. They drop leaves all over, and flower petals too. Bugs chew the leaves up. Before they drop off the tree, the leaves get yellowed and icky looking.

Walter and kdad most decidedly do NOT like the orchid tree, for precisely those reasons.

But boy oh boy. If you like a lot of flowers, and a tree that grows fast, shading your house in just a few years? Lovely arching branches you can train to hang over a path? You can't beat a Hong Kong orchid tree for all that.

Not to mention: This particular tree has a heart to it, one that just won't quit. After Wilma destroyed so much of our vegetation, this tree became a quiet neighborhood talisman. It didn't look like it could possibly survive the damage it took. But it not only survived, it grew back so fast, and burst into such riotous bloom, that people would walk their dogs down this street over and over just to look at it - sometimes with tears in their eyes. It meant something to us, watching the orchid tree come back amidst the devastation all around us and others.

So I decided to post some pix of this tree from its tiny childhood, through Wilma, and today. But first, I'll take a little walk around some of the flowers in bloom now.

The bamboo orchids are blooming, sweet faces and postures on these. I've branched out here: before the last few years, I could never grow orchids in the ground. The epiphytes, the ones you put on the sides of trees or mounted on bark, were the only ones I could manage to grow. Now I have several terrestrials, and so far they're doing well. One yellow ground orchid that I planted just before I left last spring didn't survive my absence - my bad, there. It was one of the few plants I lost. I should have left it in a pot until I could tend it better.

The desert rose is in bloom. Behind it, to either side of the base of the triangle palm, are more terrestrial orchids showing purple flowers. These are from our old friend Burke.

The orchid in the middle, here, is a very splotchy-colored one. I got this at Home Depot or Walmart, one of the cheap *no-names* they sell there. It's not pedigreed. But it sure is pretty.

This is not an orchid, but another Euphorbia lactea of some sort, a hurricane rescue. It's blooming. Profusely. Yes. Those little yellow things are its flowers. They're the silliest looking flowers around. Every time I look at them I have to laugh.

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