The Resurrection of an Orchid: Ode to a Questionably Colored Thumb

5 Aug

I am the giver of life. 

Nearly two weeks ago, I stood over my kitchen trash can, ready to finally toss away the once beautiful, bright purple, smile-inducing orchid that David gave me early spring last year.  Now withered, dry, and depressing, it was a constant reminder of my inability to keep anything whatsoever alive.

I’m sometimes startled to find my cats alert each day.

I’ve never been sure about the color of my thumb.  My mother kills anything green she looks at, while my father is currently nursing a bonsai seed in their fridge.  My grandmother on my mother’s side is a gardening beast.  She turns rotted tree stumps into nests of flowering glory.  She cans, jams, and exhibits other stereotypical grandmother qualities wherein she toils in the earth and then harvests the fruits of her labor.

The fruits of her labor are delicious.

show offs.

I tried to blame a terribly dry winter for the downfall of my orchid.  Though I read in a multitude of articles that they’re one of the hardest plants to kill, I couldn’t help noticing the flowers fall to the dirt below.  Apparently that’s pretty normal too, as they have a regular blooming season just like any other flower.  I tried to tell myself it was okay until I started noticing people’s orchids blooming brightly around the office.  

Yes, my office has people who keep office orchids.  Spider plants just don’t cut it for this highbrow corporate society.

But soon the stems began to turn brown and the leaves began to wilt.  No amount of watering, sunlight, or plant whispering could restore its former glory.   So there I stood in my kitchen, ready to call the whole thing a bust and never invest in plants again.  Until I noticed what I thought could be a tiny, little, shiny green leaf at the base of the other wilting lost hopes.  

It was a pioneer in a desolate land: a sole carrier of dreams.

I got a bag of fresh soil and transplanted it to a more spacious planter, my hope renewed enough to fuel a second attempt at checking the color of my thumb.  I put it right by the window and have shown it love and adoration as absolutely often as possible.

One might say we’re intimate.

And in the time that I’ve given it all-my-lovin, all-my-hugs-and-kisses-too, that tiny little leaf has grown an entire inch, upwards and outwards into the great wide open.   My days are spent with moments of great hope and joy juxtaposed against absolute fear of failure.  What if it’s a fluke? What if it just grows a little leaf and nothing more?  What if I start to grow the plant back and my terribly dry, terribly enraging apartment chokes the poor little life out of it?

I suppose I can always take it to my Mr. Miyagi’s for advice. 


10 Responses to “The Resurrection of an Orchid: Ode to a Questionably Colored Thumb”

  1. egills August 5, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    My dad and sister-in-law grow orchids and once they’ve flowered they mysteriously dissapear off to a well lit sunny room to be starved for a few months and then coaxed back to life to be brought down some months later in full luxurious bloom…
    I however have managed to kill about 5 plants just by looking at them. I swear I’ll look at them in the shop and they visibly wilt under my gaze!
    Congratulations on passing the green fingered test!


    • pegoleg August 8, 2011 at 10:14 am #

      I have had an orchid that is still flowering after 4 months – the longest I’ve ever kept anything alive. Now it is a matter of honor for me to keep this plant going. How often are you supposed to water? Are you supposed to stop watering after a while?

      Help me, egills, Jackie, and the rest of the blogosphere!


      • Jackie August 10, 2011 at 12:28 am #

        I water every other day, personally. And I’m trying to be careful not to overwater because I think that was one of my major follies the first time around. I don’t do very much. Some people suggest 3 ice cubes a day to keep the amount consistent.

        But you’ve managed to keep it flowering for 4 months. Whatever you’re doing must be working. Keep in mind that mine is at death’s door.


    • Jackie August 10, 2011 at 12:35 am #

      Oh I surely haven’t passed yet. Not until I see a flower on that sucker. My leaf is growing though! Tell your dad and sister-in-law to help Peg 😉


  2. Jessica August 5, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    You are not alone. I once killed an ivy which is, according to some, the most impossible plant to mismanage and kill. Ironically, my current employment requires me to keep plants alive. Truly, it is one of my responsibilities to regularly water 12 plants (half of them ivy!)that my boss likes to keep in the office because the green atmosphere makes her feel warm and fuzzy. It has forced me to develop somewhat of a green thumb.

    I can’t believe I work in a job where watering plants is part of my job description. Lord help me make it till our next transfer.


  3. thesinglecell August 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Oh, I don’t know whether to be inspired or frightened. I’ve toyed with getting an orchid for my bedroom for months, but I kill everything (see post on same, from April). I’m not brave enough to re-pot… but despite my best efforts at completely forgetting to water my balcony plants in a summer of insufferable heat, they’re hanging on… so maybe there’s hope for both of us!


    • Jackie August 10, 2011 at 12:33 am #

      Do it! DO IT! Do it and tell me about it. We can get through this, single. We can.


  4. Jules August 5, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    R.I.P Noriyuki “Pat” Morita


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