Tag Archives: orchids

Turtling with rugs and flowers.

As I was ironing some springtime trousers in the morning room, my eye caught the color on the orchid nearby. It’s blooming! Sometime in the last months I’d moved this long-ignored plant into my new space, and started giving it a little water more regularly. The response is heartening.

What I did to the neglected orchid was never conceived as a task to write on a list. It was just one of those many little things that we do, when we are “puttering” about our homes. Small tasks add up to make an increasingly homey space.

Only recently I found these rugs that seemed just perfect for my morning room that I hope will also be a sewing room. One of the reasons they appealed was that the turtle had not long before become an important symbol for me, after I heard a woman about my age speak about the practice of moving forward, no matter how slowly, when one is feeling overwhelmed by decisions and tasks. She said we must “keep turtling.” I had never heard “turtle” used as a verb before, but immediately I began to feel an affinity with those creatures, and to think of them as elegant and wise.

It seems there are other slangy meanings for to turtle, and one of them, “To defensively hide in one’s shell,”  has long been part of my survival toolkit. Ideally, I like to enact both meanings, as on the days when I get to stay home all day and get homey things done.

Bright Monday afternoon I truly lazed about the garden, quite worn out from the festivities and staying up late many nights for Holy Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday services. Then there was Pascha itself, when many of us didn’t get to bed until 4:00 a.m. I was pretty loopy, and really happy about many things, including the sunny day. I think you could say that I turtled, too, because I phoned my sister, and also invited a neighbor over to sit a while. I moved forward in catching up with people I love.

In the picture below of the orange helianthemum, you can see in the distance a box of panettone and a jar of lemon curd. I was having friends for dinner and took those items out of the freezer kind of late, so I was defrosting them in the sun.

As we enter the last day of Bright Week, I wanted to be sure to show you these garden beauties that show their understanding hearts by their uplifted and shining faces.

To be like that orchid.

This morning I helped make Communion bread at church. The only pictudough risen 8-4-15re I took this time was of the big bowl of dough before it was turned out and divided among us four bakers. It was just so symmetrically bulbous and gaseous.

When I came home I noticed the lovely rose, as I had noticed yesterday, too, and I thought I really must take a picture of it. But I forgot, and was eating my lunch when rain began to fall! It was only a few drops, and it didn’t spoil the roses. I went out even while it was still coming down and captured two roses. This may be the last season for that rosebush  – I don’t know that tea roses fit into my xeriscapic visions. (Just so you know, xeriscapic is not a legitimate word, but what form of the word could I use for the idea of “visions of xeriscape?”)


watered plants

Many more pretty and colorful flowers are blooming in the garden right now, though I must say I’m mostly noticing the unkempt parts. It’s less than a week now until the pool will be broken into pieces that will be dumped into its own hole. I had to call the mosquito control man to come and spray that little swamp at the bottom that the electric pump couldn’t extract.



Because I’ve had to mIMG_0273ove pots and firewood and steppingstones and all manner of things out of the way, the yard front and back is in great disarray in addition to being drought-stricken.

I’ve decided not to keep some plants, after I watered them for weeks with water from the pool; miniature roses in pots are also not waterwise gardening. But it feels like euthanizing old pets merely because they’re too much trouble. All of this upheaval is unsettling.

unwatered plants

The ornamental/cherry plum tree you can see sticking up purplish next to the house in the pool picture will be removed shortly after the pool, and the pine tree thinned out and shaped. My shady part of the garden will not be so shady anymore.

The wisteria is telling me  she has no idea that there even is a drought. And she keeps me busy cutting off those wild stems that weave in the breeze. If you don’t recognize her, she is the green frizzy mop on the arbor next to the purplish plum.


In the house, I can hardly believe it, this orchid is still blooming, a condolence/memorial gift from March. When I came home from the mountains one branch had wilted and dried, but after I watered it it revived completely. I’m sure I’ve posted its picture here before, but I can’t help sharing again, it’s so wonderful. I would like to be like that orchid.

On the table by the orchid is a little Jubilee tomato from my front yard. Those tomato plants do not like where they are planted, not one bit. The fruit is almost all small, tough, and/or tasteless. I now regret that day of tomato-hole digging, as I don’t really need any tomatoes at this time of my life anyway, but I did learn some things from the experience.

This week is lots of cookie-baking at church for our food festival in September, and also the the bright and blessing Feast of the Transfiguration. I’ve had house guests of the easiest sort coming and going, and a couple of them who I hope will stay a few weeks as they are on an errand of mercy. They are taking me out for dinner this evening, and I think I will end this mélange on that cheerful note.

I lighten up.

My favorite-ever Christmas lights are the ones that form a star on Gumbo Lily’s barn. The star shines in the spirit of Advent, I think, reminding us of the magi who journeyed, seeking the Christ child and following a star.

It’s very bright and bold out there on the dark prairie…who knows who all sees it? All her blog-readers can, and once I saw its picture my imagination was captured, and the thoughts and images in my mind have included it for three Christmases now. It’s perfectly simple and elegant, a bold yet humble announcement.

A week ago neither the Christmas spirit nor the Advent spirit could make a crack in my darkened mind. I had forgotten the inspiring prairie star, and the houses in my neighborhood that started lighting up before Thanksgiving accused me of being unchristian.

Last year was the first time we had ever put up lights outdoors, on a bush in the front yard. I was so happy! But since then we have cut down that bush, and until last week I never gave a thought to how it wouldn’t be there to hang lights on again. We are lazy decorators outdoors as well as in, so coming up with a new plan for showing our faith with lights was likely to take another 20 years.

I was ashamed of the darkness of our house. So I went to a big store and bought a star to put in the window. It’s much more humble than Gumbo Lily’s star; as people drive past our house at night I wonder if they will even glance up to the second story and notice it. At any rate, I have made my statement, however minimalist.

Now my excuse for low spirits is the increasingly daily ban on wood-burning. We are heading into the fourth day in a row of the law standing against us and our wood stove, on the side of air quality and healthy lungs. How petty that I would be in a funk about this, but there it is. I dug around in my candle drawer and discovered this oddly tall and bent red taper that I must have snatched from some grab bag years ago. I thought it would be o.k. to “waste” it tonight to make a little fire on the table near my computer.

Now I’m noticing how it doesn’t really coordinate with the orchid in the background….wait, did I say orchid? I did! I’ve been wanting to tell my orchid story for a couple of weeks but it never would make its own blog post so I’ll stick it in here where it doesn’t quite fit.

People have given me several orchids over the last couple of years, and when they stop blooming I try to put them in a darker place, if not exactly dark. Other than doing that, I forget what all I am supposed to do, to nurture them into blooming again.Three of these were sitting in the garage for several months, and when Spring came I took them outside so I could mostly ignore them on the patio all summer long. They don’t need much water so they didn’t die.

At the end of summer, though, along about October, I was sweeping leaves and generally cleaning up the back yard when I spied those three languishing orchids, and as I was in a ruthless mood, I decided to just throw them out. Whoever gave them to me would not want me to be burdened and annoyed by plants I don’t know how to grow.

BUT — as I grabbed the first one, I noticed a new leaf and a shiny green bud. The second one had a long shoot coming out horizontally, but it was obviously a flower stem with buds! And the third plant also had new growth. I was immediately convinced of their will to live, so I tidied them up and put all three on a plate that I can keep on a table somewhere in the house.

Quickly the one plant bloomed, and by this week it had three flowers. The other orchids are coming along nicely. I haven’t yet got some Christmas color in the house of my usual berries-and-greenery sort, but when I remember to look their way, these flowers cheer me up.