Thursday, April 16, 2009

Avoiding The Winter Blues

Cattleya, blooming last April. Bought it in Florida and mailed it up in the middle of winter. I love the flowers on this plant. It had two spikes.
This Cymbidium tries to bloom every spring, the trick is getting it in a cool enough spot in the house - (a disadvantage to keeping our house so toasty). Our kitchen window is only a double pane and lets in enough cool air to trigger blooming. My christmas cactuses all flower well in this window too. This photo was from last spring.
This is a phaleonopsis that I've had for almost ten years now. It has been blooming for over six months now. I thought it was done, but it decided to keep going. It has put out keikis (baby plants) three times now and I have one of them that also blooms regularly and is identical to it's parent.

These are pictures of a few of my orhids. At times I've had close to thirty, but since I've had kids I don't have as much time to pamper and care for them, so only the hardiest have survived. Our climate is hard on plants, not just the outdoor temperatures but most methods of home heating dry a place out. Our humidity is really low (we do live in an arctic desert.) Most of my house plants have artificial lighting in the winter. I move many of them outside in the summer where they thrive. The change in temperature and light triggers many of them to bloom going into fall or spring.

These days I don't have much time for boredom, idleness or the winter blues - I have kids. Actually I have always faired well through the winter. My secret? A combination of getting outside when it is light no matter the temperature, greenery and warmth indoors and lots of good cooking and eating. Early winter is easy, celebrating holidays with our own harvests bounty. January is probably when most people start having the winter blues. It's still pretty dark and we have four months of snow left. The only times I've really thought about moving are when we return from Hawaii in the middle of winter. It is just a rude juxtoposition. By February the light is returning to our home and property and we rejoice to have it back and savor it so. February is spent making sure that we are doing whatever we are doing in the sun if at all possible. As soon as the sun is back winter takes on a complete different character. From February until the leaves come out in the second week of May, we get such intense direct sun. The weather is clear and sunny almost daily regardless of the temperature. I think we've had three overcast days in the last month.

By now the pace of Spring is picking up. I'm enjoying the last of the days where there is still not a lot I can do until the snow is gone. Chicks are ordered. seeds are started, more goat babies are on the way. I just have to be patient for a couple more weeks while the snow melts and the mud dries. For now I know to savor the intense sun on snow glare while it lasts. Wrapping up another winter here in the Interior of Alaska, Cheers!

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