Saturday, 8 December 2018

The Lady is Unpredictable





Paphiopedilum insigne
I was immediately attracted to this Lady's Slipper Orchid when I spotted her at Funchal's exotic Christmas fruit and flower market on the beautiful island of Madeira. It was over 20 years ago that I carried her home on the plane with great care just before Christmas.
Years past by and no more flowers appeared. Periodically I would peer into her foliage, and wonder whether she should be kept or discarded. Her 8th year without flowering was on the horizon when suddenly I noticed a small bud poking out through the leaves. It was late summer, but as the weeks rolled by I came to realise just how long it takes for her to develop and reach her full flowering glory. She tends to be at her best in time for Christmas.
Is she beautiful? I am not sure that she is! Her appearance, if I am honest, is rather anatomical, but she fascinates and intrigues.
This is a special moment for me as she has only flowered four times in all of those years, but happily this time she has deigned to bring a friend along too. 

43 comments:

  1. She certainly is fascinating and intriguing - and now you have a pair of slippers. A nice reward for 20 years of patience, and just in time for Christmas.

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    1. Oh! I like that Patricia - a pair of slippers.

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  2. Your little plant is so beautiful, it really is. To me all of Jehovah's creation is perfect and beautiful :) However, when it come to plants and flowers I'm hopeless. I buy plants and bulbs for the garden, stick them in somewhere and then they're on they're own and they always seem to flourish without my interference. With houseplants I can never keep one alive no matter what I do, so I only have imitation houseplants now. We are veg growers really. A lot of my posts are about our veg growing. Best, Jane :)

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    1. My houseplants are not looked after as well as they should be but they never seem to die. Some I have for so many years that they seem to have been with me forever. I think that popping them in the conservatory over the winter helps them thrive through some of their crucial months,

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  3. It took its time to surprise you with Christmas! What a beautiful flowers.

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    1. The flower itself is so complex that that must be the reason that it takes so long to finally develop and open.

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  4. Hello Rosemary, I don't grow plants, but I know the thrill of discovering a rare plant that doesn't appear every year. One wonders how they continue to exist! Some plants are biennial or have off years, but some you honestly don't see for several years in a row, and cannot figure out where they hide for all that time.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - this is one of those that I can never figure out. This time it is four years since the last flowering when will be the next time? 'who knows'.

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  5. It certainly is an intriguing specimen you have there. It's beautiful in its own way. I'm not good at keeping orchids so I was happy to hear how you brought it back from the flower market in Madeira and the ongoing story about the rare times it produces a flower.

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    1. I just let her do her own thing and then hope for the best, and occasionally she turns up trumps.

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  6. You have to be thrilled to bits! She has given you two gorgeous gifts for Christmas. :-) You have taken good care of her for a very long time. :-)

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    1. It is lovely when I first spot a bud appearing, but patience is certainly a virtue with this particular lady.

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  7. Just beautiful! I love all variations of lady slippers. Yes, they're anatomical but that's their charm, in my opinion!

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    1. I never see them for sale here, but would love to have one that I have seen on the internet which is a deep maroon/pink in colour.

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  8. Dear Rosemary,
    Your Lady's Slipper is stunning and so is the way you captured it in your photographs. I can tell by the healthy leaves that you take excellent care of your orchid. What a fabulous reward for your conscientious care.

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    1. Dear Gina - I would love her to visit more often, but I am grateful that she does visits if and when she feels like it. Thank you for your very generous comment.

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  9. Orchids usually seem to do everything in slow-motion, don't they? If, of course, they deign to do anything at all. It looks a real beauty to me.

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    1. She is rather lovely, but sadly I have never seen one for sale here. Perhaps you can buy them in some garden centres but I have yet to see one.

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  10. Beautiful orchid and a very patient owner.

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    1. Ah yes Hart - patience with this lady is a virtue.

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  11. Dearest Rosemary,
    Oh, the thrill of taking such an exotic beauty home I know too well.
    We are most forgiving when they pull tricks on us, be it the lack of their optimum environment such as light, temperature and humidity... we cheer them on once they deliver!
    Getting two blossoms is a rare bonus and so glad you share it with the world- Congrats.
    Hugs and happy 2nd Advent,
    Mariette

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    1. I don't know what the secret to her flowering is Mariette as she is treated the same all the year round - I am very delighted though when she does decide to visit.

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    2. Treated by you the same but the environment around, weather influences, pH levels, nutrition and so on, are never in control by humans. We did grow mushrooms in a high tech climate controlled environment and still, the outside conditions were creeping into the system... πŸ’š

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  12. Good morning dear Rosemary,
    Well I know for sure you have green fingers. This orchid is not an easy one to keep alive and respect for you that it brought new flowers. It's a beauty!!! Have a wonderful sunday. Rosehugs Marijke

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    1. Dear Marijke - apparently they grow in the foothills of Nepal and in Bangladesh at high altitudes and like the shade and the cool mists, so they are quite happy here rather than somewhere with a more tropical atmosphere.

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  13. I admire your persistence and patience in keeping her, I would probably have discarded her long ago due to the lack of flowers :-) But you did well and the flowering was worth waiting for.

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  14. I can almost feel your excitement when this elusive little beauty decides to do her thing!,,,

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    1. Yes, I always delighted when she does show her face again.

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  15. Rather a nice orchid, and orchids can be fickle.

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    1. I think that you are right Margaret, but I think this one might be even more fickle than most.

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  16. Dear Rosemary - She is so beautiful out-worldly. By slow-growing and flowering into maturity, she seems to teach you/us the art of waiting… with love and attention. I can almost feel the pleasant surprise when you found the buds. She’d have captured your heart more with a pair of flowers. I’ll see you in the New Year.

    Yoko

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    1. Happy seasonal break Yoko - look forward to seeing you again in the new year.

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  17. I like her, especially her fluted petals.

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    1. I have similar ones in botanical gardens, but not in our shops to buy.

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