"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: orchids

winter windowsill . . .

orchids 1It’s March, the Ides of Spring but it still feels like winter outside. This is the first weekend in a long time where we have not had a snowstorm and we are told that daylight saving time will be upon us next weekend!
orchids with oxalis
As I watered the plants this morning, it seemed like a good idea to capture some of what’s going on there: the amaryllis blooms are heartening since I forgot all about these summered-over pots during the Christmas bustle. Discovered hidden on the inside porch and given a little water, they appear in full regalia. It never fails to amaze me when amaryllis bulbs come back year after year. These neglected late-bloomers are a nice boost during the quiet early months of the new year.
orchids and amaryllis

During this quiet hiatus between the seasons, we are thankful for all the orchids, amaryllis and other plants humming along on our winter windowsill.

no matter what . . .

I hope that I am not boring you with themes and ideas that I pick up from reading the New York Times. Today, there is a beautiful article about creating gardens in very small spaces. It came along at just the right time because I looked around our place early this morning and thought to myself that there’s just too much to take care of. But after I cleaned off the kitchen countertop and put away the stacks of books and other reading material that seems to accumulate overnight while I am asleep, I thought it over again.

While I pondered whether or not to look for a canary to keep company with the lone singer that I have left and after watering the money plant and the gardenia tree next to it, plucking the spent blossoms, I watered the orchids on the shelf beside my computer set-up and marveled once again at the longevity of these flowers. Take a look here at the white orchid, for example–which has been gracing this space for seven months!

On another note, there are boxes of old photographs that need to be consolidated together, a task that I have been avoiding because we all looked so happy and well at the time before misfortune ran into us later on. But I think every family has this up-and-down phenomenon in their midst, don’t you? The thing is to put them in their proper place (the past) and take some photos in the present. The cast of characters sometimes changes and all that we know is that while we don’t know what the future will bring that we will persevere and enjoy our lives.

To quote the aforementioned NYTimes article, the urban gardener says,

“I think two people can live well no matter what and no matter where. . . the idea is to take pleasure in life, and be willing to be pleased.”

” a room of my own” . . .

in a room of my own . . .

After weeks of inertia, I finally found a way today to make some sense of the boxes of stuff in the plant room. Previously, I had been shuffling things from one end to the other because there wasn’t a good place to store things. Last week, I purchased some big plastic bins with snap on covers at Staples. Today, I stored all the CDs (and tapes!) into one, documents in another and slid them under the harpsichord where they don’t look great, but at least they’re out of the way.

I had been thinking for a long time to dig out one of the old 22 inch monitor screens that I had used for work and make up a writing workstation with a keyboard and mouse. Needing a cable adapter to hook up the monitor to my Macbook Pro, I ordered one at which arrived yesterday. I opened the package gingerly in case it didn’t fit, but lo and behold, it did! And it also had a six foot cable, not just the four inch one that would have been so easy to get instead. Then, G. kindly offered up the keyboard from his study desktop and found me the tiny mouse that I had used (and loved) while I was still slaving away at my clinical operations job a few years ago. He found another keyboard which finally worked on his computer after it was rebooted. (When in doubt, reboot, right?)

The orchid shelf needed tending so I washed it off and trimmed the plants, staging them in a way so that there was some work surface next to the early gateleg table I had decided to use for my writing table. A fat and happy Buddha found a place to sit next to the lamp. By this time, I was on a roll, so we put the old Bose system on a stand in back of the table and hooked it up. Soon, sounds of Mitsuko Uchida playing Mozart Fantasies floated through the room. We beamed at each other in satisfaction for cobbling together old computer stuff that was lying around to make this new little space for me.

Golden floss from dross, as they say.

I marveled once again at the endurance the orchid blooms have demonstrated–they first flowered right after Christmas, and here it is now almost mid-June! Just amazing. And how fortunate we are to be able to make yet another place for ourselves in this beautiful old house. Lucky we are, indeed: we give thanks everyday.

spring cleanup . . .

Even though it’s been unseasonably warm this winter moving into spring, I’m catching up on some spring cleaning this week. I’ve been meaning to clean up the plant shelf where G. had brought up some gorgeous dusty rose marble planks to provide a surface for the orchids. They’ve been coming along and their bloom is still approaching its peak.

I had a grocery bag full of clippings and dead leaves from the plants, especially the maidenhair fern which had nasty, dried-up brown fronds.

maidenhair fern after repairs

I also noticed that the overheating going on inside me has abated with the wise treatments given yesterday by C., my gifted Shiatsu practitioner. A levelling and cooling off that feels really calming and steady. By next week, some ceiling repair around the skylights and painting will take place in the kitchen and living area. Benjamin Moore’s “Navajo White” paint is my favorite color and has followed me from place to place wherever I have lived. The storage closets will be cleaned out altogether and organized so that we can find cottage and Christmas things more easily. My plan is to provide a swift exit for anything that we won’t use and that we don’t need. Outdated books and CDs will be donated to the local library. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G that remains will have its place. It has already begun to look more spare and feels as right as rain.

To top it all off, here is a photo of little Josie, lending a hand to vacuum the floor at the cottage the day that we left. Priceless!

seeing green . . .

Even though this winter has been unseasonably mild (hallelujah!) a friend and I went to the Lyman Greenhouse at Smith College, Northampton, MA a couple of weeks ago, a place usually reserved for snowbound winters. I had thought there were more exotic plants–or at least slightly unusual ones but most of what we saw was commonplace. That is, I had seen most of the plants somewhere before. The place was also looking a little rundown but maybe that was my imagination.

In any case, I took a few photos and downloaded them onto my IPhoto file. Then forgot about them. Yesterday, some of these images came onto my screensaver, slowly zooming in and out. And I swear, I could almost smell the fragrant, damp air of the greenhouse. It seemed like an oasis of plants. So, I thought Read the rest of this entry »