In Love with Orchids

 

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Coming back from vacation has it’s perks. The snow is now gone, and I actually saw a robin in the yard today. It seems like overnight, winter has finally given up and warmer days are ahead.

Returning from vacation has it’s down side also, I can no longer avoid all the things I have been worrying about, and I am still suffering from the time zone differential, a.k.a., I need a nap. A long nap.

For today, I will share our vacation visit to this fantastic orchid greenhouse. I have never seen anything quite like this, an entire greenhouse full of just orchids.

It was absolutely amazing. I could have wandered around in there for days.

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The woman who ran the place, had the most interesting way of organizing her orchids, rows and rows of vertical hanging baskets. Each one was connected to the one above by a simple metal hook. It gave the impression of being an entire wall, but it really wasn’t a wall at all.

Orchids do not need soil, some varieties thrive purely on air and water, others require bark or moss to cover the roots. These hanging “vines” are photos of all the bare roots, just hanging down from their little wooden or plastic baskets. I would love a greenhouse full of these!

It felt like a jungle. 

It was a jungle.

 This particular variety of orchid only blooms every 6 years ( I can’t remember the name of them, sorry!).  These are only 4 years old, and won’t bloom for two more years. I can’t imagine having that much patience waiting for them to bloom would be so hard for me!  Wow, this woman had PATIENCE!

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I especially loved the orchids planted in the wooden baskets. They look so gnarly and rustic, what an inspiration! Don’t you just LOVE it?

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Another wall was covered with wire fencing, then with rows of tiny orchid baskets on hooks. This system was part of how she propagates her orchids, and these were not for sale. Each one was labeled with the latin name, and she knew all of them!

 I would love to learn how propagate orchids, although I guess I should learn to grow them first without killing them. Sigh.

First things, first.

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My son had the best time in this place, he found an orchid to take home with him as a souvenir. This variety, Phalainopsis, is quite common, you can buy them at Home Depot or your local greenhouse. They have the most dazzling blossoms.  Keep your orchid in indirect sun, and evenly moist. The bathroom is a great place for them, they love the humidity. You can put them in the tub with a bit of water if you have to go out of town, they will be happy until you return.

I must say, I really don’t know that much about orchids, I killed one once that I had been given as a gift. Fortunately, my son is very good with plants and I am hoping we can keep this one alive for a while. Forever, actually.

Next time we are on vacation, I am bringing home a dozen of them, at least!

Jung’s Garden Seed Giveaway

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I love gardening.

I love the feel and smell of the earth and the plants. I love looking at other people’s gardens, and learning what makes them work. Gardens never cease to inspire me. This time of year is when I dive into books and catalogues looking for such inspiration.

Today, I am diving into my photo archives, planning my garden and dreaming of spring. These photos were taken at our local botanical garden last summer. I still love them. They make my imagination run wild.

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I imagine sitting by this reflecting pool, listening to the water bubble from the fountain and smelling the fresh earth. So peaceful.

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I imagine early spring, feasting on rows and rows of fresh lettuces and greens from my yard. So tasty.

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I imagine a garden filled with spring flowers like these pansies and snap dragons. So beautiful.

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I imagine petunias over flowing their containers as summer begins to roll in. So lovely.

I have a very vivid imagination. Perhaps you do, too.

It’s time to order seeds and get them started in the greenhouse. I am please to announce that having a beautiful garden is not just a part of your imagination this year.

I am partnering with Jung’s Seed company to give you the garden you have always wanted! Jung’s is graciously sponsoring a seed give away here on my blog! Can you say AWESOME????

You can drool over the Jung Seed Catalogue here.

Jung’s is a Wisconsin based company and is known for their exceptional seeds! I love working with companies that are local!

There will be two give aways for the garden season, the first one for those early season seeds will begin Feb. 14th.  Jung’s will choose a fine selection of flower and vegetable seeds for the garden of  your dreams! The winner will receive 6-10 seed packets valued between $25.00-$50.00! The second give away will take place in April, so if you don’t win the first time, don’t despair there will be another giveaway for those heat loving plant varieties!

Mark your calendar, you won’t want to miss it!

White Christmas

It’s a beautiful clear morning here in Wisconsin. The last few days have brought us quite a bit of winter weather. A layer of ice and 8 inches of fresh snow make for a lovely view on Christmas Eve Day.
I have always wanted to go skiing for Christmas. I pulled out my vintage skis and took them for their maiden voyage around the cornfield behind our house. Skiing is one of my all time favorite things.

Come on, I’ll lead the way….

I love how the trees are covered in ice. They sparkle in the sunlight.
I can hear the ice crack in the wind. Nothing else, just the sound of the wind in the trees. All my lovely song birds are long gone to warmer places.
I follow the path of the deer along the edge of the field. I know they are there, I wish they would show themselves to me.
More tracks………I am still waiting for that big buck to visit our yard. I just know he is going to waltz up to my deck and drop his beautiful antlers there for me. He knows how great they would look above my fireplace mantle. 
We saw a TV special recently on how the deer camouflage themselves in the trees. You can be standing right next to them and not know that they are there. After I turned my back from taking this photo, two does ran across the field. I knew they were there even though I couldn’t see them.

More snow is on the way, I hope you have enjoyed the tour of the field. 
Time for some hot cocoa!
Merry Christmas Eve!

Apple Picking

It was a beautiful fall day here in Wisconsin. Temperatures have suddenly plummeted and we are all breathing a sigh of relief in the cool weather. We are ready for fall. It is a welcome change from the August heat. 
We have made picking apples a family tradition for many years. Apparently it’s the “in” thing to do as the orchard was certainly full of people today. 
I must say we were the only family with high schoolers that were there. Have I mentioned we love home schooling? All the other kids were about 2 years old.
 It seems like it was just yesterday when our boys were that age. But now, they are much more fun to take to the orchard.

That’s because they are tall and can reach the juicy red ones at the top of the tree that other people can’t reach. 
Age has it’s advantages. The hardest part of our trip is deciding what to pick first. We finally settled on the Earliblaze and Johnigold varieties. Have you ever heard of Earliblaze? This is a new variety to me.

A single apple that fills the palm of your hand is definitely part of a great crop! Night and day difference from the super small apples we had in our area last year with the lack of rain. The other difficult part of this trip is knowing when to stop picking. We brought home 75 lbs. of apples today. Do you think that’s too much?
I don’t think so either. It is a long time til next year, you know?
One of the other draws to this particular orchard is that you can pick your own grapes.

Wow! They too were beautiful! There was just one problem with them.
You weren’t supposed to pick those. Are you kidding me? This is so unfair! The grapes we did pick were small and not very impressive so I didn’t take any pictures of those. But at least they were fresh and we can make juice with them and the apples. The wine will have to wait for another year. Sigh.
There will be much more cooking to come in the near future. Apple butter, apple sauce, apple pie, apple jelly, cider and so much more! 
Stay tuned!

Summer Bucket List Round Up

It’s time for the Summer Bucket List Round Up! Sorry I haven’t gotten to it sooner, it has taken me FOREVER to get around to writing this post!
For all those who were following our Summer Adventures and may have missed one, now is your chance to catch up! Click on the link below the teaser photo to read the posts that you may have missed!
Week one: We visited the local Botanical Garden.
Week two: We visited the Carnival.
Week three: We visited the Beach.
Week four: We were Hiking in the Rockies
Week five: We visited the Farmers Market
Week six: We went back in time at the Renaissance Faire.

Week seven: We checked out the County Fair.
Week eight: Found us on an Alaskan Mission
Week nine: We had a Fire Station Tour
Week ten: We went Bowling for Free.
Week eleven: We had a World Cheese Tour.
Hope you enjoyed the round up!