Late last October right before my sister moved, she gave me a beautiful orchid plant. It had eight big white silky flowers, with bright orange centers that provided a burst of color amid the milky petals.
I carefully transported the plant home and set it on a table in a window where it would receive optimum sunshine (although mind you, I live in a suburb of Chicago, so optimal sunshine can sometimes be a dicey concept).
Since I am not an orchid girl, I googled CARING FOR ORCHIDS and learned that: 1)orchid leaves do not like to get wet 2)orchids like sun, but not much direct sun 3)orchids don’t like their roots too wet and 4) orchids love humidity.
Given that orchids apparently seem to have water issues, I carefully hydrated mine, monitored its sunlight (or lack thereof), and did nothing about the humidity level (sorry orchid, I hate humidity, it makes my hair frizzy).
Initially my new orchid seemed to be doing fine. But in the middle of November I noticed that some of the petals had fallen off one of the flowers. So I checked the moisture level and then gently adjusted the pot position (meaning I turned it counter clock-wise a bit. I’m not sure this actually did anything for the orchid, but it made me feel better). After that, the plant was fine.
Then first week of December, we got our Christmas tree, which we placed in the front window near the orchid. During the ornamenting of tree, the orchid got knocked over onto my light colored carpet (Child #2 was responsible for this, even though she vehemently denied it. Now I absolutely know she knocked it over, because I saw her do it, and for a moment, the orchid laying on its side became a non-issue as I was too busy being incredulous and yelling at Child #2 for lying). I picked up the orchid, inspected it, and decided it was in much better condition than my carpet, which was now littered with numerous red pollen dots, thanks to that colorful orange center (The dots by the way, are still on my carpet, taunting me like some unfortunate drunken tattoo adventure, because I keep forgetting to buy carpet cleaner. I tried cleaning them with water, but that did absolutely nothing, except make my right elbow sore).
The third week of December was uneventful, at least plant-wise. The tree stood in the window near the orchid and everything was hunky-dory.
Then about a couple of days before Christmas, I approached the orchid with plans to water it, and literally watched in horror and fascination as the petals of the orchid fell off, right before my unbelieving eyes. Plop, plop, plop, they came down, one at a time. I watched in amazement as one last petal clung stubbornly to the stem, imagining its near death petal siblings beckoning it to join them in their suicide pile. As I reached out my hand towards the pot, the lone petal finally relinquished its desire to live and fell to its end. I have to admit that although I was completely shocked to witness the end of the orchid flowers, I was also a little impressed by both the timing that orchid displayed and its keen ability to draw out its agonizing flower death.
After giving it much though, I decided that ultimately the Christmas tree was the cause of death for the orchid (well technically the orchid plant is still alive today, but it has no flowers, so really, what’s the point?)
My logical Christmas-tree-as-cause-of-orchid-flower-death theory is as follows: after weeks of holding court in my front room as the most beautiful object, the orchid became totally jealous of the attention the Christmas tree received and decided it needed to outdo the Christmas tree in a flamboyant final gesture. I mean obviously, the orchid was able to adjust to its new spot in my home, as it flourished for two months without issue. It tolerated my root watering techniques, accepted its muted sunlight, and understood that humidity in November was beyond my control. While I imagine it wasn’t too happy to get knocked over by a nine year old, I also believe it silently applauded my yelling at said child. And yes it’s true that every now and then the cat would jump on the table to take a sniff of a flower, but mostly she was disinterested, as cats tend to be. No, I think the coup de grace for the orchid was the actual Christmas tree itself, for how possibly, could an orchid compete with the grandeur of a lighted and fancified tree, which towered feet above it and infused the room with a mild scent of pine? The Christmas tree stole the orchid’s spotlight! How else can I possibly explain that the plant waited until I approached it and then dramatically lost its petals, one by one? It was a final, desperate act of showmanship. It was the plant equivalent of the Liza Minelli All The Single Ladies scene during the Sex and the City 2 movie.
And it worked too, because for the next three weeks, I carried a small measure of guilt every time I looked at its flowerless form. (I should tell you that my husband didn't buy into this jealous Christmas tree hating orchid notion at all, based on the fact that twice he bought me expensive gardenia plants, and both times before they bloomed, the buds turned black and fell off. Oh, and one gardenia became totally infested with aphids, which to this day, I maintain was so not even close to being my fault).
Anyway, I don’t think it was ever meant to be, me and that orchid. I have a low tolerance level for diva behavior, and even though it was silent and well, a plant, that orchid was a diva. I mean really, a plant that doesn’t like its leaves to get wet? Or a plant that needs a lot of sunlight, but not direct sunlight? Or a plant that likes it roots wet, but not too wet? Who has time for that nonsense? Not me.
The other day my sister called and asked how the orchid was doing. And since she doesn’t read my blog, I told her it was doing great (Well it is. It’s not dead or anything. In fact, I’ve actually been trying to kill it by not watering it, but it’s still sitting on my table near the front window, all bald and pissy. It reminds me of a crotchety relative that I don’t want to invite to the family gathering, but have to anyway, all the while hoping to hell he won’t come, but of course he will because he loves free food and booze, and with him he brings all kinds of bad juju thus causing everyone else to walk around in a bit of a funk. And let’s not even get onto the topic of why my sister doesn’t read my blog, I mean I thought family members were the few folks that bloggers were supposed to be able to count on as being avid readers of their blog, but that is just not my case.)
So here I am in May, orchid-less and debating whether I should get a violet plant or heaven forbid, another gardenia. Maybe my best option is a silk plant, but then again, silk plants? If I am going to get a silk plant, then I might as well put a big sticky note on my forehead that says I CAN’T GROW PLANTS ERGO THE FAKE THING IN THE CORNER.