Tuesday, 6 December 2011

6.12. Gorgeous Phalaenopsis

It is a chilly 8 degrees outside and winter has finally arrived in London. No sign of snow yet and we have yet to see any frost on the ground so the start of this December has certainly been very different to last year. I couldn’t be happier though, walking with crutches on snow is very difficult unless you have special ice attachments on them, and even then it is a tricky and dangerous thing just going outside the front door. I would be very pleased if this winter became one of those where we didn’t see any snow at all :-)

I had a stroll in the garden today, just to check on things; not much to do these days except picking up some fallen leaves here and there. My pretty fuchsias Annabel are still going strong, amazing really, because the Bella Rosella seems to have stopped producing new flower buds, but the Annabels are in a slightly more sheltered position I guess. None of the fuchsias have started dropping their leaves yet, another sign of the weird weather we have had, but if the low temperatures we have had the last few days are continuing I suppose they will shed their leaves eventually. They are after all deciduous plants, even called annuals by the garden centre where I bought them….not that that is stopping the fuchsias from surviving the winter and come again next spring, some of my ‘annual fuchsias’ are 6 years old :-)

I have done some work to my blog, added some features which you can find on the left side panel and also added some pages. On the pages you can find photos of my garden and a drawing with all my plants. There is also a plant list with all the plants currently in my garden. I have always tried to keep a record of what I put in and take out of my garden to remind myself, as with so many plants it would be impossible to remember where I put what, and I could easily end up digging out plants I want to keep by accident. My blog is new of this year and I have done it parallel with the gardening section on my web-site, which I started in 2004. You can see the whole record of my gardening experience from my little garden here in London ON MY WEB-SITE.

Last Sunday I put up my Christmas decoration and I thought I just had to post a picture of my kitchen window, it looks so pretty with the Bethlehem star and all my plants. Four of my five orchids are flowering right now, the fifth is just a ‘baby’ still, a Dendrobium kingianum, made from keikis from the mother plant which sadly died, probably from old age or not enough light - or both more likely. I managed to save about 12 keikis and they are now happily growing in a small pot just waiting to become mature enough to flower. Not sure how long that’s going to take as I bought the mother plant as a mature plant with flowers, but I suspect it would need a good few years before I can expect any flowers to appear. Incidentally, keikis is a Hawaiian word meaning babies, so when I said the Dendrobium was just as baby, it literarily is that, around 12 babies :-) I also have three Stephanotis floribunda here, cuttings yet to flower, but I am hoping for a small miracle this spring as they are all now old enough to produce flowers.

But this one is not a baby, it is my oldest Phalaenopsis, 7 years old, and this one, along with the other three I have flowers every 7-9 month or so. And every now and then they all flower at the same time overlapping each other, as they flower for such a long time. Phalaenopsis requires very little effort, in fact, most Phalaenopsises die because they are given too much water and fertiliser. If you have killed one (or several) in the past, try being a bit meaner to them! Give them a bright but not sunny position, but forget to water them frequently, no fertiliser at all when they flower, and only sparingly in between. And give only fertiliser specially meant for orchids; they can’t take fertilisers for general house plants!

Since my last post here I have joined a gardening community called Blotanical www.blotanical.com and if you are in to gardening, this is certainly a place to visit for inspiration and to meet likeminded people all over the world. I can easily see how my nights can get shorter and shorter and my sessions on my laptop longer and longer in the future…Yikes!

OK, that’s it for tonight, I am off to meet some likeminded gardening fanatics on Blotanical, see you next time, take care :-)


  1. Oh, your fuchsias are beautiful - even more so because they are still blooming in December! And they are six year old annuals!?! Well, I've never bought one because I thought they really were annuals - but now I'll give them a try! I've always thought I needed to add a page with all my plants as a record for myself. I'm hoping this winter I'll have time to do that. Love your star - and your orchids are amazing! Yes, I've killed one (or more) of them - now I know I probably overwatered! Thanks for the tips!

  2. Hi Holley, when it comes to whether non-hardy fuchsias survive the winter, I guess it just comes to how cold it is during the winter. Here in London we have had a few really cold winters lately, but 'cold' here is like minus 5-6 degrees Celsius, so for me being Norwegian, that's not really what I would call COLD :-) Where I come from we usually had weeks of minus 35 C every winter. Can't hope to get a non-hardy fuchsia to survive that!

    As for pages, yes a plant record is a really handy tool, thought I would share mine here, and as for orchids...some wise man once said: You are not stretching yourself as a gardener if you are not killing the occasional plant. That proverb is of great comfort to me at times!

  3. Hi Helene, I found you on the Blog Directory page on Blotanical. I am not one for looking for new blogs, but I read your bio and wanted to check out your blog. Love the fuchsia. I too have Phals that I have had for a really long time and they usually bloom around Christmas also, but not this year. I think because I disrupted their schedule by summering them outside the first time ever. I also do much graphic and Photoshop work, a lot that I post on my blog, like my Photoshop paintings of gnomes. I am a long time user of the app.

  4. Hi Helene,
    I've signed up as a follower but for some reason my avatar is not appearing. I'll check back to see if it suddenly pops up! Alice
    aka Bay Area Tendrils

  5. Hi Alice, welcome as a follower, and your avatar is showing, at least here on my blog :-)

    To GardenwalkGardentalk, love your gnomes! Photoshop is the most important program on my computer, it is running every single day and I just couldn't live without it!

  6. Thanks for your recent visit to my blog Helene. Glad to hear that you have joined Blotanical. It is a friendly, caring community where there is a myriad of fascinating blogs to discover :) I expect that the first frost will catch up with London sooner or later but until then you can carry on enjoying those beautiful fuchsia flowers.