Sunday, 9 February 2014

Cooped up indoors

The relentless rain and stormy weather is continuing here in Britain, we are well into the third winter month and the third month of the same pattern of days and days of rain and wind with the odd single day of clear and sunshine. For me here in London, this winter has mostly meant a very mild winter. I have not suffered any flooding like many people have done here in the south. But my garden is so saturated with water that I am wondering if everything will survive or if bulbs and herbaceous plants has started to rot. Every time I lift up one of my several hundred pots and containers in my garden, a flood of water runs out of the bottom. It feels strange after having worried about getting enough water to my garden last summer when we had such a long spell of warm weather. It seems a rather long time ago now, but it is only 7 months ago.


The next 10 days is just same-ol’ story we have seen for months.

So with this weather I am being cooped up in my house a lot more than I am used to, and a lot more than I like. I am getting cabin fever. I thought I would present you with some indoor plants for a change – from my kitchen, this is where I keep my orchids as they would not like the window sill in my living room, right above a big radiator with very dry and hot air.

The only window I have in my kitchen is this one, with this tiny window sill. The orchids are fighting for space here and as you can see, I have too many so they alternate on getting a window seat. Every time I water them, one of those on the work surface get to move up to a prime space and one of the other has to go down for a couple of weeks. I have too many orchids....

....and I have one more orchid than this, but it is on my bathroom window sill, not in flower right now so it will be allowed back when it comes into bud and swap place with one of the other. At the moment I have three orchids in flower, but I hope two more will follow soon, there are tiny signs of that :-)

Most of my orchids are Phalaenopsis’, one is a Dendrobium kingianum and one is an Oncydium. And to the far right on the previous photo, on the work surface is the only plant that isn’t an orchid, a Bromelia.

My orchids have spectacular colours and I never get tired of the intricate patterns.

I can’t think of a more photogenic flower – well perhaps with the exception of some roses!

Some of the orchids produce masses of flowers, some only a few. I am not sure why that is, I don’t think it has to do with their age as this one always produce just a few and it is quite old.

And this one is quite a primadonna, leaving me waiting for ages. It hasn’t flowered for almost 2 years, which is quite normal for this beauty.

But I think it is well worth the wait, don’t you?

But this one on the other hand, flowered for 5 months last year, I think I picked the last flower in May and it started flowering again before Christmas.

You can see why these phalaenopsis orchids are also called Moth Orchids, with flowers shaped like this.

And this one has 8 of these big flowers....

....all nicely colour coordinated with my red kitchen walls :-)

I have plants in my living room too, but at the moment they are not much to show off; in addition to my big house plants I have two amaryllis just started off and some Lily of the Valley I took inside a month ago that has just peeked up above the soil. I will post photos when they come into flower.

I have so many things I want to do in the garden, so many plans! I just need a bit better weather so I can get out there and get started. My next post will be Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th and I fear it will be photo sessions under the umbrella again, but I will do my best - come back and have a look as I have lots of plants in flower, despite the weather :-)
Until next time, take care.

40 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear you're having too much rain! If only rain would come once a week, no more, no less. Your orchids are beautiful. You are much more patient than I to wait two years for a bloom! They are each lovely - I can't pick out a favorite. And I love your red and white kitchen!

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    1. Thanks Holley, I love my red kitchen, that dark red colour is my favourite colour!
      The rain and wind has been pretty tiring and depressing, I hope those pesky jet winds can find a new path soon!

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  2. Hi Helene, wow, almost three months of rain and storm that is tough. I certainly would get cabin fever, too!
    Your orchids are sooo... beautiful. My favorite is the blotched one. I have seen a very similar one here lately and for a moment I was contemplating to buy it, but since I am known to reliable kill phalaenopsis orchids, I didn't want to add bad karma points to my account and passed it up. I am better with cymbidiums and a white and a light green one is flowering for me outside right now. I cut two flowerstalks of the white one and they last forever in the house.
    I am looking forward to your GBBD post and wishing you a nice week with hopefully some sunshine, despite the weather forecast!
    Christina

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    1. I have looked at cymbidiums but since I never take my indoor plants outside and vice versa (too afraid of dragging pests indoors), I think it would be too difficult to grow them indoors, not enough light. Phalaenopsis’ are much more forgiving both in terms of temperature and light but if I had a conservatory I would certainly have a few (many!)

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  3. Beautiful! I grow five varieties of Phalaneopsis on my outdoor wall. Now, the pinky one already bear a spike. I love your last collection, so cute!

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    1. Thanks Endah, I wish I could grow orchids outside too – I could have many more then! A bit too cold here I am afraid :-)

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  4. I still have my reluctant to flower orchid - having followed everyne's advice it still is just green..

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    1. I had one like that too, a good few years ago, and as a last resort I re-potted it, thinking that might do the trick. It didn’t. It died soon after! I have no idea why but since all my other orchids re-bloom sooner or later I am inclined to blame the plant and not myself :-)

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  5. Beautiful Helene. Which is more than can be said for that weather forecast!

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    1. It feels like we have had forecasts like that since middle of December!
      As I am writing this, the news is full of all the villages in the Thames Valley getting flooded. For now, London is not at risk of this type of flooding, but with high amounts of rain we can get flash flooding because the drainage system can’t take all the water away quick enough. With Victorian housing in narrow London streets like where I live, the water goes from street to inside our houses in minutes. I hope I won’t experience something like that ever.

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  6. My heart goes out to all those in the south and a bit of tongue in cheek 'Now they all know how it is to live in Scotland' :) I'll bet you are just stir crazy Helene - especially as you like to get out when ever possible.
    I do hope it dries up a bit for your in time for bloom day - handy you have the brolly to assist though. Enjoy our week and see you on the 15th :)
    Oops, almost forgot to mention the Orchids. They are beautiful, personally I don't do house plants and take my hat off to anyone who can grow anything indoors without it dropping dead!!

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    1. Getting photos for Friday without taking them in pouring rain will be difficult I think, it will most likely be a brolly operation yes!
      Phalaenopsis are one of the easiest plants to grow, if you ignore it most of the time and keep it away from radiators. Most people kill them because they give them too much water, not because they don’t water them enough.

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  7. Beautiful Phalaenopsis photos Helene, they show even more beautiful against the red wall in your kitchen, good idea. I also have Phalaenopsis plants in the window sill but have not made pictures of them. I used to love the flowers but since we live already 25 years between the glasshouses of professional commercial orchid growers of Phalaenopsis and Cymbidiums I am a bit fed up with these orchids. I am a kind of instant gardener with orchids. In December our neighbour gives us every year some orchids, when they are about out of flowers in April or May I return them to our neighbour because conditions in these special glasshouses are much better for the plants than on my window sill. Not my thing, for I like to see plants growing and come into flower, but in this case the circumstances are different.

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    1. Wow, living next door to a commercial orchid grower sounds like heaven to me! But I can understand that after 25 years with new orchids every year, they don’t seem like that special anymore. Besides, they are more special when you have grown them yourself and know that the flowers are a result of you taking care of them :-)

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  8. I so admire anyone who can keep indoor plants going - I tend to think of them as ornaments and don't really notice them till it is too late. The orchids stand out so well against your dramatic kitchen wall colour.

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    1. Thank you Elaine, I have tried having plants upstairs but I have killed too many, I simply don’t remember watering them, but all the ones I have downstairs get watered and thrive and I think they like the fact that my heating is on a timer and off at night so it is much colder here during the night – the plants get a proper day and night as they would have in their native life.

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  9. The weather certainly has been crazy with droughts in some areas, constant rain in others and freezing temperatures and abundant snow like we'be been having here. I can relate to what you are going through and need spring. At least the rain will bring your garden to life with lots of blooms. Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures of your orchids. You definitely have a talent for growing them!

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    1. Thank you, I have grown orchids for many years but have always wanted a better place to have them, like a conservatory or sunroom, I think they all would have liked that better!
      The weather is a constant worry for us gardeners but I feel as if the last 3-4 years has been just a long row of broken weather records. It would be lovely if we could just get some ‘normal’ weather for a while!

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  10. Wow, you have a lot of stunning Orchids! I've only had one Orchid plant, ever, and it hit the dust soon after flowering. But I messed it up by trying to transplant it. Sorry about the constantly rainy weather. It sounds like our weather will soon be more like yours--with high temps around 0C and rain. I prefer -5C, sun, and dry weather. But anything is better than the arctic weather we've had most of this winter. Brrrr... ;-)

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    1. Not sure what weather I would like to have, all extremes are bad I guess….this week the flooding has become much more widespread here in southern Britain and I feel for the thousands of people who have had to evacuate.

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  11. Your phalaenopsis are lovely. They do make ideal indoor plants. If we attach them to trees or planted outdoors in partial shade, they continue blooming for 6-8 months. A really great plant to have

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    1. Thanks, I think the longest I have had one Phalaenopsis flowering indoors was 6 months, but not in this house, my current house is rather dark and dingy downstairs, and having houseplants upstairs is not an option, I keep forgetting to water them!

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  12. Your orchids are lovely! Every year I say I'm going to try growing one, but so far I haven't; I'm afraid I have a brown thumb when it comes to houseplants. As much as I complain about the cold and the snow here, I prefer that to continual rain. Hope the sun comes out for you soon, Helene!

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    1. Thanks Rose, I think if you ever was going to have an orchid, Phalaenopsis’ are the best choice to start with – rather forgiving in terms of most things, just don’t water them too much!

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  13. Despite of bad weather, Helene you have awesome orchids indoors. I love the most the last one --is a queen! I think the nature gives you time to unwind and all your plans will successful.

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    1. Thanks Nadezda, I tidied up in my box of seeds here the other day, itching to start sowing. I don’t sow much indoors as I have no room to put pots – as you can see, my tiny window sill is already occupied! But soon I can start with the half-hardy seeds outdoors, I still haven’t had any frost in my garden (apart from a few hours ONE night in January) so for every week that pass it becomes less likely that I will get any frost at all. Yes, I got so many plans, but have to wait for the right time.

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  14. Love your orchids, Helene! And you're right - too much of any one thing is always bad. You have had too much rain - we have had a lot of snow. Oh well - hopefully soon, Spring will arrive! Then gardeners will rejoice.

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    1. We have another storm today, the worst this winter! They say on the news that we might have the same weather for another month! The flooding is now very widespread and getting closer and closer to London. It started on the west coast but as the rivers get filled up, the water has nowhere to go and will spill into bigger and bigger rivers and flood out onto land. Thousands of people are evacuated from their homes.
      Spring can’t come soon enough for all of us.

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  15. You are worrying about too much rain destroying your plants. I am worrying about too much cold weather destroying my plant. Yesterday also it was -28 degree C. The coldest was about two weeks ago with -35 C. Plants can't handle these much Arctic climate; that's the reason why there are so few plants in Arctic :-(. Oh! your orchids look so beautiful. But I will never have the patience to wait two years for the orchid to bloom. That's why I don't have any orchid.

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    1. I know very well how -35 C feels like, we had weeks like that every winter when I still lived in Norway and I am much more happy with the climate in London – even if this winter has been hard with all the rain!
      I hope your plants manage well, if you have a good snow cover most plants are insulated well. It is the bare ground frost that kills the plants.

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  16. I have half a dozen, mainly Phalaenopsis, on a windowsill where they have been flowering between them without a break for over three years but for some reason they all seem to have stopped flowering together and it looks extremely bare. I have taken the opportunity to re-pot them but am trying to figure out if this is coincidence or something more sinister! On the subject of flooding, last year I had some Meconopsis, which are notoriously intolerant of damp, drowned several times but they were fine so fingers crossed!

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    1. It is interesting you mention this, I have started to wonder if Phalaenopsis’ have some sort of hormones or pheromones that sets off flowering because I have often seen as soon as one is in flower, the rest of the bunch follows. But I also have long periods when NONE are in flower, independent of time of year. I have tried doing some search on the Internet but can’t find any hits on this topic. Just as several women living in the same house usually get in tune with their periods after a while, my orchids seem to have their fertility tuned to each other too. Just a theory and not a very scientific one!

      As for my saturated garden; I think most plants can tolerate a flooding or two, if it dries up reasonably fast afterwards. What I am worried about is the fact that my garden and all the pots and containers have been absolutely soaking wet for THREE whole months - not exactly flooded, there is no surface water, but if you take a handful of soil and squeeze it, the water will drip from your hands. I can only wait and see what will emerge.

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  17. I live in England, so I know how cold it's been. Sorry about your garden getting flooded!

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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    1. My garden hasn’t been flooded, not sure why you got that impression, it is just saturated from all the rain. This has so far been a very warm winter, here in London we have had no frost at all so not sure where in England you have experienced a cold winter...

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  18. Helene, you seem to be bearing up as well as possible with help from your orchids – which have buoyed the spirits of many of us in the wet or cold.

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    1. It is hard to keep the spirit up with the weather we have right now, but I do try. I feel for all the people who are affected directly. So far my house and garden is safe as London itself is not affected by flooding, I hope I get through the next batch of storms too without any major damage. I have just been out in the garden and tied down and tidied away in preparation for tonight and tomorrow’s storm.

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  19. Oh I feel your Cabin Fever pain! The slightest break in the rain & I'm out....I can't bear being stuck indoors. Spring will come I promise, the sun will shine soon I promise & the rain will stop.....one day.
    Your orchids are beautiful especially the last one....quite stunning x

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    1. Thanks Jane, I was out today, it didn’t rain this afternoon!
      It was bitterly cold in the wind though, but at least I could be out for a few hours. Tomorrow Friday it all starts all over again with a new storm….

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  20. At least you have lovely flowers inside the house to keep you company until the weather improves. I admire and appreciate the orchids all the more knowing that I have no knack for growing them. My goodness you kitchen is neat and so spotless looking! I hope things dry up soon so you can put all your plans into action.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer, I live alone so when I tidy up my kitchen it looks like this until next time I cook something – one of the few advantages of living alone :-) I have been looking at my seed packets again tonight, I think I am going to sow a bit of radish and salad this week-end, might just as well use the opportunity of no frost and get some vegetables in early!

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