Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Trying something new

 Photo by Terri Kramzar

I have spent last few days working on my indoor garden. Among all the indoor plants I have, orchids in particular have caught my attention this past year or two. I always thought they were difficult to grow, and them being so expensive, at the nurseries, I never even gave them a second look. What if I kill it? All that money would go to the compost bin. Instead of learning about them, the fear of wasting my money and failing always stopped me from trying. 

It all changed when a friend brought a white orchid as a 'thank you' gift. That orchid stayed fresh, in bloom for months! On top of that, now that I live close to the Longwood Gardens, I have had many chances to go their annual orchid extravaganza show and be inspired.

But having a gifted orchid and all those inspirations still did not change a thing! After the orchid was done blooming, I did not know what to do. I did not go on line or purchase a book on how to take care of an orchid. It seemed too boring to watch that plant grow at a snail's speed and wait for it to re-bloom. So it sat where it was, neglected for a long time. Generally, I talk to my plants! Yes I do, I watch them very closely... every new leaf, every new stem, every pest and every flower - nothing goes without being noticed. But this poor white orchid became an orphan. It dried out and at some point, after two years of not flowering, I considered tossing it in the compost pile.

Last September another friend, who I don't get to see often enough, brought me a gift. It was a complete random act of kindness on her part. She came at my door step, totally unexpected and brought me an orchid!

Now I had two orchids to watch slowly growing. This new one had so many buds still waiting to bloom, it excited me enough to look up on line on how to take care of it. I learned to water, fertilize and find a perfect spot in the house for this new member. It bloomed until I started putting Christmas decorations out! That was almost four months! I had made this orchid live for four months! Not only that, I notice what looked like a new shoot for the next bloom! What? I could actually make an orchid live in my house and rebloom? That was almost impossible! So I watched it grow, watered it once a week and fertilized when I remembered, a new leaf came and then that shoot grew buds! I left for Canada and when I came back, it was blooming!

A success!
This is how it looks this week! It's second time blooming within eight months being in my home!
I couldn't be happier!

Now here is the problem. Well, some would call it that but I think it's a blessing! Our local produce center sells orchids for next to nothing!
Since I have gained confidence in growing them, I bought few more!


I figured, I am learning as I go and they are fun to grow. They were so rooted in already, I decided to re-pot them. I read on American Orchid Society's website that it's best to re-pot them in early spring or summer. I bought clay pots from local Walmart for $1.99 and special Orchid-mix from the hardware store. 




Before 

After
 Check this out, it has freckles!

This one already started budding a new shoot! 
Isn't this a beauty?


I had an antique plant stand I picked up a while ago from a Goodwill store for $4.95 - which became a perfect stand to keep them up right. Now there is enough air circulating around them.


 All happy in one place!


My poor white orchid, was re-potted last fall just when the temperatures were about to dip.



I have learned that orchids are easy to grow as long as you keep them away from direct sun, near north facing window, don't let them dry out and keep the potting material moist but not soggy. Watch for the new buds just below the spent flowers. I made a mistake of cutting the stem back all the way down on my white orchid. I am still waiting for a flower stem to grow.


It is a little slow at growing but I have a feeling it will survive with it's new roots and leaves. Especially now that I have started 'talking' to it.

I hope I have encouraged you to try something you thought you would never do.

I know you are also wondering what is that first picture for? Check out my friend Terri's post today. It will inspire you to try something new in that area too. I know I am and can't wait to try it myself.

Have a happy day you all!





Monday, April 21, 2014

The wedding

Time flies when you are having fun and lately I have been doing just that! My nephew got married couple of weeks ago in Toronto. My mom and brother's family flew in all the way from India, as well as my kids from all over to attend the wedding. Although, professional pictures of the ceremony are weeks away, if not months, I thought I would give you the glimpse of the day.

I must warn you, this is a picture heavy post.



My nephew, Chintan and his bride to be, Lisa  


I got to see my kids all dressed up for the occasion.




Yes, that's frozen lake in the background! Burrrrr....It was so cold and windy, we were trying so hard to fight off the wind!



We got to experience both, Indian and Jewish ceremony. Lisa looked amazing in both outfits. Can you tell her dad is a big Elvis fan? He also performed as Elvis after the wedding, I must say, he was pretty good!




Happy couple!
 The knots were tied, literally :)


My sister, Kalpana and Lisa

My contribution in the wedding was to design the containers for the return gifts for the henna ceremony. I put my age old henna drawing skills to work and my sister in law glued the beads. We had fun catching up with each other while working on them.

I will come back with more pictures on that ceremony another day.

Henna design by a professional artist.
After the ceremony and dinner it was time to party! No pictures of me dancing here but trust me when I say this, my sisters had to drag me out from the dance floor. I am the only self appointed dancer, designer and the photographer in the family since the beginning of time! 

Us three sisters with mom and sis-in-law, Heena. 

Whenever I visit India, days are too short with many people to visit and places to be, we hardly get to sit down and just talk! I can not tell you how good it is to have mom here in north America again. Glad I stayed back extra days at my sisters' to spend some one on one time with her. She talked about my dad, my grandmothers and her childhood like it was just yesterday! I wish her stories stay in my memories forever so I can pass on what I have learned to my children.

Kavita with her baa
By the way, Lisa loved the quilt! It was a perfect gift to welcome her to the family.

It has been a very busy week since I got back entertaining family members and guests. No time to sew or even to think needle and thread!

Not for long though!