Washing the dishes with a smile on my face

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace

Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – 8

This orchid plant has lived in my flat since December 2014. It’s doing well isn’t it? One of my best friends (in fact the lady who will be my matron of honour) gave it to me as a Christmas present. It was same month that my father passed away so at the time it should have been a cheery addition to my gloomy household at the time. However for a long time – every time I looked a the plant – which was everyday (because it has been placed on my windowsill), I could not help but be reminded of that terrible time in the days after his death. There was a a weight of sadness and uncertainty that hung over me. I felt like the proverbial rug had been pulled from under my feet. That fact that I and my family knew this was coming did not at the time seem to offer much in the way of comfort. So every time I looked at the plant I felt pain and sadness. I am certain that  was not my friend’s intention when she gave me the gift but it was just emotion by association. However time is a healer of sorts and the plant has bloomed gloriously in the past 14 months and with this has come a level of acceptance of what had happened and hope about the future. Over autumn/winter last year the flowers fell off one by one inslow sensuous fashion and at the same time buds started emerging on the other branches. It was a sight to behold and this year the flowers have been slowly blooming in a way that brings a little thrill to my heart. When it was all happening I was tempted to take a picture everyday to chart the progress in time-lapse fashion but I somehow found it more fascinating to watch it and store the memories in my mind. However now it has got to the stage that they are too beautiful not to share – I have sent a picture to my friend – because sharing is caring!

And so now while I wash the dishes I smile with a new found joy.

*    *   *   *    *

Orchids have long been a symbol of love and with a delicate, sculptural beauty and historical rarity, orchids carry an unrivaled symbol of refinement, exotic mystique, and luxury. Orchids were once a rare and expensive commodity among Chinese, Greek, Victorian and Aztec cultures and were  believed to have healing, disease-fighting and protective properties. In traditional Chinese medicine, the orchid was used to help cure coughs and lung illnesses. In ancient Greece, orchids were associated with virility and male fertility.

The plant derives it name from the Greek word ‘orkhis’ – which means ‘testicle’ which refer to the shape of the tubers. The orchid has long been associated with virility and fertility. Ancient Greeks believed the root tubers could determine the sex of an unborn child, while in ancient China the orchid represented many children.

In the language of flowers, the orchid is the symbol of fervour. Also considered a symbol of love during the Victorian era, it was customary to give a gift of this exotic plant to someone for whom you held great affection. The Victorians were so mystified by their beauty that they collected and displayed them like treasures. It was also common in Europe – during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – to use orchids in love potions.

Popular too in ancient Japan, the orchid was considered a symbol of wealth by royalty, who kept the flowers in their temples, and commissioned them in their painted scrolls. Japanese warriors considered they were being rewarded for their bravery if they came across an orchid, while the Aztecs drank a concoction made with extracts from the vanilla orchid and cacao beans, which they believed enhanced physical strength. In the Christian tradition, spots on particular species of orchid are said to represent the blood of Christ, and often decorate the altar at Easter, while Calayan tribes in the Philippines believe that orchids are the guardians of the forests. Poetically, the Javanese describe jewel orchids as pieces that have fallen from the mantle of a fairy princess.

Orchids are available in many colours.  There is, even a blue toned orchid – they are extremely rare, so they represent rarity, as well as spirituality and meditation.

Pink: The pink Orchid has the honour of representing innocence, femininity, grace, joy and happiness. It also represents the celebration of the 14th and 28th wedding anniversary.

Purple: Purple flowers often represent royalty, respect, admiration and dignity and the same is true for purple orchids.

Red: Red roses have come to universally represent passion and desire, and the meaning of this colour is no different when it comes to orchid symbolism. Red orchids are also symbolic of courage and strength.

White: White orchids signify innocence, elegance and beauty. White also signifies reverence and humility.

Yellow: The sunny, bright colour of yellow orchids is synonymous with joy and new beginnings. This orchid colour is also the traditional symbol for friendship.

Orange: The orange orchid represents pride, enthusiasm and boldness.

Green: Represents health, nature, life and longevity. This gorgeous coloured orchid is also thought to represent good fortune and happy blessings.

Orchids do not bloom continuously. They have a growing season and a blooming season. Each type of orchid has an internal calendar marking these seasons. Some orchids bloom for only a week, others display beautiful, exotic flowers for three months or more! Healthy orchids should bloom at least once a year, some twice a year.

Brassie -bloom in spring or summer 1 to 2 times/year – bloom for  6 to 8 weeks
Cattleya – bloom in spring or autumn* 1 time/year – bloom for 1 to 3 weeks
Cymbidium – bloom in winter to spring** 1 time/year- bloom for 4 to 6 weeks
Dendrobium – bloom in winter to spring 1 to 2 times/year  – bloom for 8 to 10 weeks
Odontoglossum – bloom anytime 1 time/year  – bloom for 6 to 8 weeks
Oncidium – bloom in winter to spring 1 to 2 times/year – bloom for 6 to 8 weeks
Phalaenopsis – bloom in winter to spring 1 to 2 times/year – bloom for 6 to 12 weeks (my ones)
Paphiopedilum – bloom time varies 1 to 2 times/year – bloom for 4 to 6 weeks
Wanda – bloom in spring to autumn 2 to 3 times/year – bloom for 4 to 6 weeks
Zygopetalum -bloom in  autumn  to spring 1 time/year – bloom for 3 to 4 weeks
* Some Catts bloom in summer or winter.
** Some Cyms bloom in late Summer.

Did you know that National Orchid Day is April 16th. Mike and Faith Young were a couple that volunteered at an orchid reserve in Mexico and fell in love with them while there. Faith became pregnant but tragically on April 16, 2014 they lost their precious daughter during labor, her name is Orchid, inspired by the magnificent beauty and unique expressions of orchid blossoms. After looking to see if there was an existing National Orchid Day they was found that there was not. They created one by getting the date approved by the registrar of national days and paid for services to make it official.

After launching a Kickstarter campaign on April 16, 2015 offering pre-orders of their backyard honey (The Humble Bumbles Honey) the campaign brought in over the $1,500 goal in its first day and National Orchid Day will now forever be April 16 thanks to support, generosity, and kindness of a number of people.

Who knew what you can find after a little rambling on the internet…?



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