Monday, April 27, 2009

Of Eyeglasses and Orchids

A while back, I noted that I had just gotten a new pair of glasses after a long wait. What I didn't mention was that they were a "loaner" pair from the store due to all the problems they had successfully filling my prescription. The whole saga was long and drawn out, involving a lot of waiting, frustration and false starts ... when the "loaner" pair finally came in, they were not up to their quality control in terms of how they were fitted to the frames (optically they were fine) due to the thickness of the lenses. In short, I ended up needing to get a slightly larger frame style to accommodate the lenses correctly, but in order to help me out, they gave me the "loaner" pair to wear until the permanent ones came back from the lab. Yesterday I got a call from the wonderful woman who has helped me through this whole lengthy ordeal, letting me know the "real" ones were finally in and I could stop by today to pick them up and get them fitted.

So, on yet another rainy and stormy Sunday afternoon, we headed out today to get my new specs. While I was waiting for my representative to finish up with another customer, both Fernymoss and I had noticed all sorts of people walking by in the mall with really pretty flowers. Of course when you get two gardeners out on a rainy day and they see flowers parading by, there will have to be an investigation. So, while I waited, Fernymoss took off in the mall to seek out where these flowers were coming from ... what he discovered was that an orchid society was having a flower show and sale off in another part of the mall. While I got my new glasses fitted and took care of the last of this epic transaction, he was off slavering over orchids, unbeknownst to me!

I was waiting outside the store, having no idea where he was off to and wasn't about to go wandering off to find him (I know better than to do that now), I grabbed a nearby seat and kept an eye out, until I saw him coming my way with a box with a lot of something purple in it, two new orchids. Quite a few years ago we had a relatively successful try at growing orchids for about two years before we got sloppy and they died (a Dendrobium and a Phalanopsis). This time, however, we vow to do much better with them, because these two specimens are just drop dead gorgeous ones!

This one is an Oncidium (I'll be researching this one) and has about 10 blooms going right now, and with any luck they should last at least another month or so. Both of us have always been bowled over by the diversity of color and "design" of orchids and this one really struck his fancy chord hard, so it was soon Casa IVG bound....

Here's a slightly wider shot of the bloom stalk revealing even more flowers ...Fernymoss didn't get a whole plant shot that he was happy with, so these will have to do for now, but he's going to keep experimenting with shooting these new beauties.

This one is a Paphiopedilum (I'll have to look it up) or "Lady's Slipper Orchid," unfortunately not one of those native to Iowa, but it will make a lovely house plant. Apparently this one on puts on one flower at a time about every six months, but wow, no wonder, when it's as complex as this bloom is! (As always, click through to the large version.)

Here's a wider shot of the whole Paphiopedilum plant and the base of the Oncidium next to it ... they both appear to be incredibly healthy plants, so we'll be giving them extra pampering and give them a place of honor in the north windows of the dining room (where we have a plant ledge). I'll probably have some more photos as Fernymoss experiments with shooting them in different light (these had to be flash due to the lack of light on a late rainy afternoon), so stay tuned!

Puppy cuteness overload time again! Stop and sniff the flowers ...

After the eyeglass and orchid extravaganza, I needed to pick up a few things at the grocery store, where one of my weaknesses took over as I gazed around in the floral department, landing on a couple of different bouquets of one of my favorite flowers, Alstroemeria (aka: "Peruvian Lilies"). Since they were reasonably priced and last an incredibly long time in the house (over 3 weeks usually for us!), I sprang for those in a heartbeat. So we decided, since we were getting flower pictures tonight, to give Hanna a chance to check them out ... and since she loves to sniff absolutely everything, these were no exception! We'll get some better shots of these, because they are truly gorgeous ... all my favorite fiery colors rolled into two bouquets ... what more could one ask for, but MORE???!

Totally unrelated to gardening in any way, but still very relevant to this blog:
I was surprised to see this headline on my USA Today module on Yahoo tonight, but very pleasantly surprised. Check it out:

No plans here just yet, but nice to know that finally, plans can be made!!


FARfetched said...

Ferny got you some flowers? Awwww, how sweet. :-D So are y'all planning to plan?

I got Mrs. Fetched a dendrobium a while back, but a couple months later I had a brain-fart and watered it. Bad move. Bye bye orchid. She's kind of orchid-shy… not had good luck with them. (Didn't help that I hosed the dendrobium for her.)

Roses and Lilacs said...

Those orchids are stunning. I'm way to lazy to try them. Then there are the cats who eat (or try to eat) every house plant I've grown. I would love to go to a sale and just look.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Beautiful orchids.......I have a phalonopis that has had either a bud or blooms on since last Mother's Day, currently it is throwing 3 spikes. I have always wanted to try the lady slipper orchids.........I may have to take the plunge one of these days. The Phals are so nice because their flowers last forever.

Hannah indeed is a full cuteness :).

I was happy about the gay marriage ruling also but it won't be long and the neo-cons will get their way.

Gail said...

Gorgeous orchids and they will be loved by you guys...I would of course neglect them! gail

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR,
LOL, I don't think he got them for me, but I get to share in the enjoyment and care. No plans on planning just yet, but we'll let ya know when we do. (Especially where the gift registry is, lol.)

I thought the Dendrobium was impossible too, it started dying right after it quit blooming. The Phalenopsis we did get to rebloom for a couple of years.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Not a good idea to try orchids w/cats in the house, that's for sure! Way too expensive to become cat food. :-)

You could try the artificial kinds ... we actually found some silk ones that look pretty real, but not quite the same excitement as seeing your own bloom!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Thanks, we're quite smitten with them too! I should try a Phalanopsis again, because our mistake was thinking it would do well outside in the humidity of summer, but the sun fried it! The lady slippers are simply gorgeous ... we've always wanted one of those and would love to have the wild ones in the garden. And yes, after all the work they put in on the flowers, it's great they last so long!

Hanna truly is the joy of the house now and came into the picture at just the right time too! Even my sister says so and at first she was discouraging us from getting another pup so soon, but has changed her tune now. She adores Hanna and brings her a toy every time she comes over, lol.

Somehow I'm confident that this marriage ruling will stand (hopefully not too optimistic)because I feel the tide is somehow finally turning in this country. Now if Culver would just grow a pair ans support it publicly, I might even vote for him again. But right now, if he has a primary challenger, that's who I'll vote for (just like last time).

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail,
I think you, like Marnie, are destined to be orchid-less with cats in the house. We're going to do our best with them this time and will of course keep them posted here when they bloom.

Dog_geek said...

I've never been brave enough to try orchids, although they are beautiful. (Like Marnie, we have house cats that would probably demolish them.) And congrats to Iowa - hopefully more states will follow suit!


Oh my stars and garters!! These are totally amazing. Gorgeous. I recently bought two phalanopsis, a purple one and an almost white one. I had never tried them before. I have a cousin who has about 60 orchids so I have a reference if I run into trouble. They sure are beautiful. I love your choices.

Be sure to keep us up to date on any plans to plan. :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Dog Geek,
I guess you and Marnie will just have to admire them from afar, but if you do happen upon a show, definitely check them out. They're all gorgeous, I think!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Coneflower,
Actually we found the Phalanopsis fairly easy to grow, just don't make the mistake we did and put it outside because we fried ours (even where we thought it was shady!) They do like an occasional feeding (you can buy orchid food for them) ... you should ask your cousin how often she recommends. I need to get our reference books back out and look that up again.

Will do on the plans, but nothing in the works just yet!

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