Orchids are a dream to grow.
The plants on my kitchen windowsill require nothing but a little water once a week, and while some people think that orchids are a bit untidy and random – which mine are – they can be dramatic.
The burgeoning flower stalks extend at half an inch a day sometimes, although like a kettle refusing to boil, a watched orchid will stop thrusting its flower stalk and pause for weeks, with flower buds tight and green.
One day, when you’re not particularly looking, having lost interest, you’ll see, out of the corner of your eye, a bud opening. The next day a flower will be open in all its fascinatingly complex glory and there’ll be another and another so that by the end of the week, you have a cascade of exquisite exotic blooms.
They will remain lustrous and beautiful for months and months – I think the record for flowering on my windowsill is about three months.
I never cut the aerial roots but just tuck them in if they threaten, triffid-like, to capture a saucepan off the draining board. I try in a haphazard way, to control the flower stalks as they are growing up, but they have a mind of their own and unless you are a strict disciplinarian, attending to and tying up the stalk every day, it will do it’s own thing. But that’s no problem… they look best when they are arching naturally as they would if they were growing on the branch of a tree in a tropical jungle.
I was messing about with a couple of desk lamps and the camera this evening to attempt to capture their flawless perfection.