An interview with a Moth Orchid
Recently, I heard an interview on WUWM-89.7’s Lake Effect, with an 82-year-old chap who raises orchids in a Mequon greenhouse. I paused to listen as I wrote about him several years ago, and yes, it’s true, he really does dwell at the end of a long, winding road running parallel to the Milwaukee River. For orchid devotees, his acres are “God’s Little Acres,” for on them, in a house of glass, are thousands of babies waiting to be born. It’s said that folks come from miles around to visit, buy and sigh over an astounding array of bountiful blooms. The grower says it’s been a tough year for orchids. Not enough light. Too grey. Hey, it’s Milwaukee.
But this 5Q isn’t about the courtly Mequon gentleman who raises orchids. It’s about my orchid, a moth orchid, a moth orchid that came from generic Home Depot four years ago and cost a whopping $1.98. The craze for this variety has peaked I think. At one time they were going for $70 or more. Whole Foods currently has some for just under $20, and I’ll bet if I cared to, I could find another for $1.98.
Okay. Relax. I’m going to interview my beloved moth orchid, a.k.a, “Phalaenopsis.” I’ve yet to give it a name, so I’m going to call it “MO.”
Good morning. It’s spring. How ya’ doing?
Better, now that the light of the sun is hitting my pot. It’s pretty nice here in the west window on floor 17. Just the right amount of what I need. Are you photographing my good side? I don’t want viewers to see the bug chews on my leaves.
I’m guessing you’re up to doing the same thing in 2010?
Uh, oh, I’m not sure. You may have cut back my stems in the wrong place at the end of the 2009 growing season. Some days I don’t feel quite myself. Yeah, I know you added a weak solution of fertilizer. It doesn’t seem to be working. If I don’t make it, it’s your fault. You humans just don’t get it, do you?
Be nice. Can you feel the nice mossy blanket of moss on top of the soil that hides your roots? It’s said to help retain moisture.
Take it easy and stop futzing around so much. I’m no baby! The right light, a little water, but not too much, and then just leave me alone. Okay? And cease changing my pot every year. Hey, just so you know, I heard a cardinal singing this morning …over there, on the other side of this pane of glass.
Don’t get snotty with me. You can be replaced with a lovely bouquet of fake flowers that don’t talk back. Hold it, is that new growth at the core of you, right at the spot where your green glossy leaves begin? Your purple-ish neighbor has something similar.
No big deal. I just do what I do and usually I do it on a regular cycle. Like a washing machine you might say. Where’d you get those wimpy pussy willows?
A friend brought them in yesterday. Oh by the way, you won’t have any competition this year. I’ve decided to NOT plant flowers on my north balcony, instead, I’m arranging an arty Zen garden with rocks and sand. It’s oriental. Are you pleased?
Actually the geraniums you flooded the balcony with last year, were way too showy for my taste. If I had my druthers, I’d be the only plant in here. Are you listening?