Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Orchids Again, but Wrapped in Dog

You may remember my blog from last November, when I picked a sultry warm day and repotted every durn one of my orchids, spread 'em out on the front lawn and about kilt myself bending and stretching and fetching and washing and spraying.

Normally, you shouldn't have to repot an orchid more than once a year. But I had bugs. Lotsa bugs. Tiny white bugs aswarm in the medium and awful awful Boisduval scale and mealybugs around the base of the stem and regular goopy sticky scale all over the underside of the leaves. It was verging on horrible. By the time an orchid starts to look peaked from bug damage (mostly being sucked dry by scale), you had better jump to fix it. Mine were not yet looking peaked, but I wasn't going to wait for that. See, they talk to me and tell me when it's time to intervene.


Last November, I repotted most of my plants in mixed bark medium, and therein lay the problem. Bugs just love living in that stuff. I decided to knock every single plant out of its pot and take a hard look at the situation. Sure enough, the plants in bark all had bugs, and the plants in Aussie Gold, which has diatomaceous earth in it, were virtually bug-free. OK. I had ordered enough Gold to redo almost everybody, and I went for it. Thirty-two times. Sigh. There are thirty-two of them.

There followed three days of futzing around with orchids, capped by a washing and spraying extravaganza. I won't use anything stronger than pyrethrins, which is probably why I continue to have bugs. Fine. I'll continue to have bugs, and I won't croak young.


There was orchid medium dumped everywhere, hoses and bags and trays and was ridiculous. But the weather was glorious for it all--raining and warm--and nobody got sunburned, least of all me. I just sat out there in the rain soaked to the skin and dealt with it. Enjoyed myself, in a painful, back-breaking kind of way.


The sun finally broke through, but by then everyone was potted and taken back inside.
I think the hardest part of any job is cleaning up everything you've pulled out while doing it. Blaa. You want it to be over, and then there's cleanup.


Mether, I get very tired just watching you. You are never still, do you know that? You should nap more. Look at me. I nap all the time and I think everyone would agree I am more lovable than you.


Chet Baker, what kind of thing is that to say?


Forgive me, Mether. It's just that you have been diddling with your orchid plants for three days now and you have barely done anything with me. When will you be all done?


When the last plant is washed and sprayed and potted in sterile medium, Chet Baker, that's when I'll be done. But you know I love you more than all these orchids thrown together. Don't you?

Yes, Mether. And I also know that your readers find me much more lovable than orchids. I am the whole reason they put up with your plant stories. And I would add "hamster stories" to that.


Well, all right, Chet. You've got me there.

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