Saturday, 13 December 2014

Welcome Stranger

Absent for years, a flower finally emerging in the conservatory - seen only twice during the last 15 years.  She was purchased in full bloom at the exotic flower market on the island of Madeira, then dormant for 11 years until she honoured us with a second visit. Many are the times that it has crossed my mind to abandon her altogether, but her little green leaves always get the better of me, and I assume that where there's life there's hope. Now it appears the virtue of patience is about to be rewarded once more.
Two weeks later and she is taking her time
Another two weeks and this beautiful lady is not going to be hurried
The watch word is "patience" but rest assured she will be worth the wait
It is now 2 months since I first noticed her - it is looking very much as if she will finally say 'hello' before Christmas
 5 more days and suddenly she is almost here
Lady's slipper orchid - Paphiopedilum gratrixianum - she is known to flower at Christmas. During December she is a popular orchid on sale in the Funchal flower market Madeira. I have several orchids but this one is special as she reminds me of the island where I purchased her
I love everything about her - the way her exotic flower slowly emerges from such a small unassuming bud, her unusual colour combination, and her curious  bizarre shape - she will now grace us with her presence for several weeks

66 comments:

  1. Well done, Lady's slipper, and well done Rosemary for caring for her for so long, until she has rewarded you with a magnificent bloom. Certainly an unusual flower both in colour and structure, and what a curiously long time it takes to finally come out. She is saying Happy Christmas!

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    1. I suppose that she takes so long because such a complex flower is developing in the little bud

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  2. Your patience has been amply rewarded. She is beautiful.

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  3. For me, this is a miracle! Your Christmas orchid is your reward for looking after her so patiently.
    Enjoy your weekend!
    Olympia

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    1. You are right Olympia she is a little Christmas miracle

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  4. Dear Rosemary, I can just imagine how thrilled you were when you first observed the emerging spike. How right you were in keeping your Lady Slipper orchid. She is a Beauty.

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    1. Dear Gina - even though I have been watching her develop since the beginning of October, her final emergence is still one of amazement that something so complex should appear out of such a simple bud

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  5. Oh WOW!!!!!!! She is a beauty and so definitely worth keeping her and waiting patiently! I love how you captured the pictures from the first to the wonderful fully open bloom! What a wonderful winter treat to have your orchid flowering now! xx

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    1. Thank you Amy - I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing the photos of her development. When I was away I wondered if I would miss much of her growth, but she is so slow, that is not until the final days that she speeds her emergence up.

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  6. Perfect orchids, love the round pictures again.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  7. What a marvelous thing to have the opportunity to watch. She is just beautiful!!! I hope she doesn't make you wait so long for her next bloom.

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  8. Worth waiting for, she's beautiful

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  9. I am sure you are so pleased that you did not put her out. I know this orchid. I have a friend in S.A who has one.
    she told me about how long they take to bloom.
    I am delighted for you Rosemary. Lady's slipper is just magnificent. She arrived just at the right time- christmas
    Enjoy her prettiness Rosemary.
    val

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    1. Really pleased that at last she has decided to flower Val - I had no idea when I purchased her that flowering would be so intermittent.

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  10. Rosemary, she is a beauty! Your patience has rewarded you with this gem. This reminds me of the time I almost gave up on a gardenia.

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    1. I have enjoyed watching her open Loi but still cant believe that this flower could have arrived via such a small nondescript bud

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  11. Definitely worth the wait! How very beautiful.

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    1. Glad that you find her beautiful too

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  12. Hello Rosemary, What an exotic beauty your orchid is. We have several kinds of wild ladies' slippers in the Ohio woods, but they are simpler than this, most commonly plain yellow. By the way, I am surprised that you could just bring a living plant into England--did it come with some kind of export permit?
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - visitors taking flowers home from Madeira are one of the islands biggest exports. There are no problems bringing them here because we are all in the EU - the same applies to food. I always bring home Parmesan cheese from Italy, and Pâté from France.
      We only have one Lady's Slipper orchid that grows in the wild in England, but it is very, very rare. It has a bright yellow body and the wings are a deep maroon/purple - it is diminutive and very pretty

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  13. So it was worthwhile to wait - as it is often... She looks very exotic and beautiful.
    Do you know the book by Colette, where she tells how her (then very old) mother refuses to pay a visit to her and her husband, because the cactus is going to flower (which did this every ten years once)?

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    1. I quote Britta - "I am already a very old woman, and if I went away when my pink cactus is about to flower, I am certain I shouldn't see it flower again."
      I know how she feels, I am wondering whether I will see this beautiful orchid again, I do hope her next visit is quicker!!!

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    2. Yes, that was the qoute - I love Colette very much (husband is giving a seminar on "Heroes of Childhood" - and when he asked me privately who was mine, I had to name two: 'Robinson Crusoe' - and 'Claudine' - which explains the strange mixture that became of me :-)
      Ten years - that's nothing to people like us, Rosemary!

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    3. I hope you are right Britta♡

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  14. Dear Rosemary,

    It is indeed amazing that such a complicated shape emerges from such a tight, small bud. How nice for you to get a Christmas gift from Mother Nature!

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    1. Dear Mark - I suppose she takes such a long time to appear because inside the bud lots of development is happening, but I am pleased that she has arrived in time for Christmas.

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  15. Hi Rosemary.....
    Good things come to those who wait.....and wait.....and wait!
    Beautiful photography!
    Have a great Christmas!
    Cheers!
    Linda:o)

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    1. Thanks Linda - I know that you will have a wonderful Christmas with Miss V - she is just the perfect age♡

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  16. Sooooo exciting!!!!!! Like magic!!!!!!

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    1. Even though I watched it happen, it is still difficult to understand how such a complex flower emerged from such a simple bud

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  17. Certainly worth the wait Rosemary. Orchids sometimes won't flower each year as you know.
    Wonderful that you could capture it's growing and blooming, thank goodness for cameras.

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    1. This is only the second time she has flowered in nearly 20 years - hope it is not so long next time!
      You are right, however would we manage without digital cameras Margaret?

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    2. I hope next time is next year :)
      Dread to think how i would manage not having a digital camera....go back to the old way i suppose..

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  18. Oh wow, really worth waiting for , not sure I would have had the same patience !

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    1. I am pleased that I hung on to her Jane

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  19. Wow, certainly worth the wait, she is beautiful. Suzy x

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    1. She is not an orchid that you tend to see in our Garden Centres for sale

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  20. You've been very patient. However, you have been rewarded. Orchid bloomed and it is beautiful. Regards.

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  21. I could feel the excitement building. What a wonderful reward for patience!

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    1. I am glad that I recorded her - I have now got her forever!

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  22. So exciting, your patience have been rewarded. I understand you cherish this plant as a memory of the island Madeira, we are fond of Madeira and have been there many times. It is a real gift from nature, this wonderful Paphiopedilum bloom for Christmas!

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    1. You will know why they call Madeira the Island of Flowers, I have never before seen so many Zantedeschia, and Agapanthas growing in the wild.

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  23. Hello Rosemary

    What a beauty and even greater is that you never gave up hope on her. What a delightful post. Thanks for sharing

    Helen xx

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    1. Hello Helen - I am really pleased that I thought to record her emergence. Now I have captured her for ever regardless of how many more years she may take to call again.

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  24. She is a beauty, Rosemary, congratulations!
    Have a wonderful time
    Elisabeth

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    1. I am really pleased with her Elisabeth

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  25. Whoa! This will make me think twice before ditching any plant. What a fabulous surprise. I loved the past post too with all the statuary. I love antique statuary--and I enjoyed your close look at them through words and pictures.

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    1. Thank you - I am delighted that you enjoyed the visit to Aphrodisias, it it a place that will live forever in my memory

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  26. You must be pleased after such a long wait. The flower is beautiful and very special to you. On the same subject of persevering and being patient with plants I must tell you that the morning glory that you inspired me to grow eventually flowered. I did transfer the weedy seedlings that were being munched by slugs outside into the covered yard for protection. When we arrived back from our time in Italy they looked healthier and had started to flower.

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    1. I am so pleased to learn that - I love morning glories and although they grow like weeds in other countries they require tender loving care here to get them established, then they are fine - hope you took some photos.

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    2. Yes, I did! I haven't had the opportunity to post about it on the blog, but I thought you would like to know, Rosemary.

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  27. I love this story, patience and hope do pay off. And that flower is a magical one indeed!

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    1. Thank you - I am delighted with it - it was lovely to hear from you

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  28. There is an extra special award for your kind of patience and dedication - ah yes - that most spectacular flower. Congratulations!

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  29. Your patience paid off it is beautiful. We bought a geranium maderense once from Penelope Hobhouse which never flowered and after a few years we gave up with it. This flower too orginated from Maderia! Sarah x

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    1. I too had a geranium maderense which was spectacular - it was huge, but sadly I lost it in one of the cold winters two or three years ago - I should really have bought it inside

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  30. What a glorious bloom, Rosemary - well worth waiting for.

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    1. Having her here delights us every day Perpetua

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