Sometimes you just totally surprise yourself.

I remember when one of my best friends gave me my first orchid years ago. It was a purple spotted phalaenopsis she had picked up at Home Depot. I thought to myself, “I will probably kill this in a week.”

To my amazement, it bloomed continuously in my studio for at least six months.

Since then, I have been amazed how I have had orchids bloom continuously even for years. I am not quite sure what my secret is – if I did, I would probably write a book or give seminars. I could offer you various theories.

Here are a few of my theories:

  1. I think if you really love someone or something, it will tend to thrive under your care.
  2. There is no substitute for paying attention. I don’t read orchid manuals. I just watch my orchids and pay attention to what they need.
  3. Environment is the most powerful factor for both plants and humans. I think my orchids love my studio, with its giant glass windows, hours of natural sunlight, view of my outdoor fountain and tranquil energy.
  4. That’s about all I know, as I have orchid fertilizer but seldom remember to use it.

I have many favorite orchid babies, but the chartreuse cattelya orchid may actually be my all-time favorite.

I purchased it at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It was closed up in a bud and I purposefully picked an orchid that would be a surprise color for me. I didn’t want to know until I brought it home and it actually bloomed.

When it finally opened, I was completely amazed that something so beautiful could actually be living in my home.


I felt so honored.

Then, as doubtful as I am about my own abilities, after the initial blooms faded, I thought, “Well, that is it for me. I guess that is the best I can hope for!”

You can see that I need to work on my positive thinking.

I kept it on my shelf and kept watering it when I would think about it.

Then low and behold, it bloomed a second time.

“Maybe this is it,” I wondered to myself.

You can see I still needed to work on my positive thinking.

The second set of blooms faded. I wasn’t sure what to do, as I have never had the guts to repot an orchid even though I have once taken myself and a few of my orchid babies to a workshop, only to decide that repotting felt terribly intimidating.

But I left the pot on the shelf and kept watering.

Then, to my surprise and delight, a new bloom appeared in early December.

I was just getting ready to go on a trip. I could hardly believe that I had a third set of chartreuse cattelya orchid blooms, only to have to go away and not stay home and enjoy every moment.

I came home and the flower was still blooming.

It bloomed for about six weeks, and then just this past week I ceremoniously set the fallen blooms outside, as if laying a dear friend to rest at a funeral wake.

I am not sure what I have done in my life to be honored by the presence of such sacred beauty, but I am so thankful for it!