Category Archives: African Violets

The Orchid Whisperers

For years I admired orchids but had never gone so far as to purchase one for our home. Then a little more than six years ago my mother died and one of the flowers we received was an orchid that we still enjoy today. I have had several people tell us that they love the plant, but cannot keep them alive or get them to bloom. My wife and I have developed a skill I suppose with all of our growing experience and now some people are calling us Orchid Whisperers.

I won’t claim to speak Orchid or that by any means we are experts, but over time you begin to understand what it takes to make a flower thrive. Our showcase for these exquisite beauties is a window in my wife’s hair salon. It is on a east facing side of our home and gets very little direct light. Another person shared they were only able to enjoy blooms for a month at most. We have had blooms last three months or more.


In all I think we have about eight plants in varying stages of growth. This usually means at least three or four in a good bloom cycle, which means we get to enjoy some downstairs in the salon and one or two upstairs in our living area. To me colorful blooms are like medicine lifting my mood and putting me in my happy place.

The final two are pictured in our rehab area upstairs, a south facing bay window that holds a variety of flowers including Amaryllis, African Violets and whatever orchids have finished their bloom cycle. Usually within a short period there is a new emergence of growth on an orchid placed here and following that new buds appear.

Tell me about your orchid experiences in the comments.

Can you say anticipation?

For me there is just nothing like the entire process of a blooming plant. From the first signs that the bloom time is near all the way through the sometimes painfully slow bud process, this wonderful treat of God is such a natural high for me. Of course each plant has its particular process, but just the promise of the color and beauty of the bloom set makes it all worthwhile to me.

As I author this particular post there remains the remnants of two USA centered winther storms, #Octavia and #Pandora that combined to drop almost a foot and a half of snow on my area, which is in the mountains of Virginia. Our elevation is abour 2,300 feet above sea level, but the snow we get might toal 5-6 inches per winter. This year has been exceptional and should have put me into a mental tailspin. You see I suffer from a form of the Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is directly ties to lack of sunlight and being couped up due to weather. But, thanks to our love of plants for one part, i have something to keep my mind satisfied.

Seven or eight years ago we enclosed a carport to make a den. When doing so we installed a south-facing bay window. As it happens it was a genius idea as it relates to the indoor plants we favor. In particular our Orchids and African Violets seem to thrive here.

You can see the idea of Battleground Farms to encase the bulb in wax is not a great one.

You can see the idea of Battleground Farms to encase the bulb in wax is not a great one.


We baby the Orchids here until they get to the bud stage then we relocate them to my wife’s hair salon which is in the basement of our house. They are a wonderful conversation piece and thrive due to the light conditions there, benefiting from northwestern exposure.

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With floral reinforcements like this to buoy my mood i am in good shape until the wide canvas outside thaws. I invite you to return for the series I publish about the innumerable varieties in my outside landscape. Also look for the 2015 A to Z posts where i will showcase at least 26 plants I love.