Holiday Memories: My Namesake Orchid for the Christmas Season
This week, as we continue with our selection of encore posts from seasons past, here is one about a very special plant. This blog was originally posted on December 12, 2013.
I'm having an important holiday dinner party, and my staff has been scrambling to get the house decorated and in shape for the occasion. Whenever I entertain, I love filling the house with the many beautiful plants that thrive in my greenhouse. This blog is about moving a very special orchid in sub-freezing temperatures.
1 This spectacular Cattleya orchid is blooming right in time for the Christmas season. It just so happens that its botanical name is Laeliocattleya Martha Stewart, an orchid named in my honor!
2 The Cattleya is more commonly referred to as the corsage orchid. It was presented to me several years ago on my TV show by Art Chadwick Sr. and his son Arthur of Chadwick & Son (http://www.chadwickorchids.com) Orchids, a famous orchid farm in Powhatan, VA.
3 I wanted this beauty moved into my house as part of the holiday decor. Ryan McCallister, my gardener, faced the challenge of moving it from the greenhouse in bitter cold temperatures.
4 Just a minute in the freezing cold could ruin the blooms of this tropical plant. There were 17 fragrant blossoms and more to come!
5 The plant was too big to fit into a bin or carton, so after some pondering, Ryan thought that wrapping it in a sheet of painter's plastic would offer enough protection from the cold.
6 The sheet of plastic was slipped beneath the orchid.
7 He then lifted the plastic around the orchid, being careful of those amazing flowers.
8 To secure the plastic around the plant, Ryan reached for some little orchid clips.
9 Just as hair clips, orchid clips are spring-loaded and are commonly used to secure orchid blossoms to their stakes.
10 Gathering and clipping
11 The clips were a good idea!
12 Next, Ryan hefted the plant and carried it through the greenhouse.
13 And rushed it through the cold
14 A heated car was waiting to transport the orchid for the brief drive to my house.
15 Ryan hurried from the car across the terrace to the house. That's Chhewang, draping burlap over the hedges.
16 The door was held open while Ryan kicked off his snow-covered boots and brought the orchid into the warmth of the house.
17 I wanted the orchid to be the centerpiece of the servery. Here's Ryan unwrapping the plant.
18 And here it is on the marble-topped table in the servery.
19 The leaves of the orchid were spotted with lime and other mineral build-up from watering.
20 This build-up is a common if you have hard water.
21 Ryan did some investigation and discovered a good way to remove that build-up. Here he is pouring some distilled vinegar into a container.
22 He diluted the vinegar with an equal part of water.
23 He rubbed each leaf, top and bottom, with the diluted vinegar. This helped to break down the build up.
24 Next, he used another common kitchen staple - mayonnaise!
25 He rubbed the leaves gently with the mayonnaise.
26 And wiped them clean.
27 Shiny perfection!
28 The next challenge was to elevate the orchid, placing it higher than table level. To raise it to eye level, Ryan used two nesting silver bowls. He sandwiched the bowls with bubble wrap.
29 And he sandwiched the orchid pot in the bowl with bubble wrap, as well.
30 He then used Spanish moss to cover over the bubble wrap.