That’s no fragile hothouse flower

Dsc_3741That’s one tough orchid.

Two years ago I brought a Lc. Cynthia ‘Model’ AM-FCC/AOS home from Madeira. This lovely orchid bloomed for me last winter, but we moved and life in our new home was not easy for a sun- and heat-loving plant. The summer was dull and rainy for the most part, and the morning sun through our window was filtered by a heavy cover of trees. In May I hung the obviously struggling plant on a tree outside, in the hope that it would get some more sun. It was definitely on the decline, and to be honest, I had already given up on it. Every once in a while I’d look over at the neglected orchid hanging on the tree and notice with a pang of guilt that it was still green, and still alive. But I’d shake my head and move on, knowing it was just a matter of time before it died.

In late August, I took a closer look, and was surprised to find that not only was the damned thing still alive, it even had some determined new growth. I decided then that this valiant orchid deserved a better home than I could give it. I cut off the new growth, potted it up, and gave it to my friend Christian — a kindred spirit with a sunny south window. I threw the two remaining shrivelled backbulbs and rubbery leaves onto the compost heap under the bushes.

Fast forward to late October. Chilly nights, and chilly days. Even a smattering of snow. Leaves were falling, and the green of those discarded backbulbs contrasted mightily with the brown leaves all around them. “Geez”, I thought. “That thing just won’t die. I might as well give it a chance, it can’t do any harm.” I picked it out of the pile, plopped it into a pot with some medium, stuck it into a plastic bag on the back of my bike, and cycled off to work. I put it on the sunny windowsill beside my desk, in the corner of the office that is starting to resemble a jungle. One plant at a time — that’s the secret I learned back in Toronto to bringing new plants home without arousing the suspicions of the spousal unit. Or in this case, good natured colleagues.

Said colleagues were alarmed by my squeal two mornings ago, when I found a new knob of growth at the base of the bulbs. The damned thing is starting to grow.

Like I said. That’s one tough plant.