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.
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.