Like people, some plants are givers and some takers.

Like people, some plants are givers and some takers.

My gorgeous white phalaenopsis orchid burst into bloom on the sunny kitchen window ledge this week,  It’s definitely a giver. This beauty, also known as the moth orchid, because the flowers resemble a moth in flight, rewards me every spring with a glorious  spray of blooms on a bare stem that looked hardly alive just a few weeks ago. They are native to southeast Asia, epiphytic shade plants that grow below the canopies of moist and humid lowland forests, protected against direct sunlight.

Mine has three blooms and a trail of unopened buds tantalisingly close to opening.The flowers last and last – up to four months last year. Truly the gift that keeps on giving.  And it very considerately coordinates with the pink phalaenopsis I have tied to the tulip tree I look from the lounge out on to in the front garden, so that when it finishes flowering, the white one begins. A relay of  beauty and I don’t have a thing to do with it, except for a very occasional watering. I even forgot to feed them this year.

I do love it and tell it so, often. And I believe it loves me back. I reflected there are those plants that no matter what love and time you put in with them, respond only lukewarmly, if at all,  while others give their best and better for even the smallest effort you make – and even when you don’t. Plumbago, for example, loves me and so do my potted bougainvilleas, but not sure what I did to the Ixora chinensis in the past, but it seems to sulk and drop its lip now, even with generous feed and watering. I feel the luuuve of my bromeliads and agapanthus,  irisesplumbago and cordylines, but my cape honeysuckle, (Tecomaria capensis) hibiscus, and kangaroo paws  (anigozanthos) and a troublesome potted brunfelsia are damn hard work. I said goodbye to the paws at last. Three struggling attempts and still they withered and curled. I was at screaming point, so I took a gun to them,  sobbing: ” It’s not you, it’s me”  ( just kidding).  There are just plants that thrive with certain people and not others. A friend grew beautiful sweet peas every year and picked bunches  of them week after week. We had several goes in a similar position and soil type with a distinctly inferior result and then the grasshoppers destroyed them.

Is it chemistry, after all?