Sunday, January 7, 2018

Winter Blooms

Orchid 'Scent of a Woman'

The mid-winter doldrums are upon us, a prolonged cold snap has brought unusually low temperatures recently. Evidence of the snow flurries that came down on the last days of the old year is still on the ground in my back yard; there is very little else to see out there. What better time to enjoy the blossoms of my house plants indoors?

Brassidium in bloom

The orchids in my bathroom are at it again--this lovely Brassidium hybrid  has bloomed faithfully around this time for the past four years. Some years there are more flowers than others; this year one spike opened before Christmas, and two others are still developing. The flowers should last till about mid-February or perhaps later.

Another hybrid, the Oncidium Ruffles 'Scent of a Woman' put out one flowering spike. This orchid is more unpredictable, it usually flowers in early spring, but this year it started to bloom much earlier, and is flowering at the same time as the Brassidium.

Bearss lime tree

My lime tree was laden with fruit when I brought it inside this fall--I counted nine limes. Two have been harvested so far, and there are about seven or eight more, with more blossoms setting fruit. It seems the frequent feedings are paying off. I don't recall ever having a lime tree as prolific as this one, despite the constant attacks of ants and accompanying scale insects.

Tabernaemontana divaricata

Other exotic plants are also blooming--I've been growing this small tree known as Butterfly Gardenia (Tabernaemontana divaricata) for a couple of years, and it bloomed last summer, but this is the first winter it has bloomed. The flowers are lightly scented, but relatively short-lived, lasting about 3-4 days before fading.

Yellow hibiscus

I almost left the large yellow hibiscus tree with a braided trunk that my sister Silvia gave me a couple of years ago, outside to perish with the first frost, because the huge plant seems to attract mealybugs like a lightning rod. It's a constant battle with them both indoors and out, and the bugs tend to spread to other plants. But the flowers are so beautiful, I decided it was worth keeping. Spring seems so far away at this time... a little indoor cheer is welcome.