It's that time of year again - The Annual Jewels of Winter Orchid Show at Riverside Gardens in beautiful Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, Ohio. The show runs until mid-March, so you have plenty of time to get there. You'll fall in love with these beauties.
My own orchids at home are not in bloom in late February for the first time in ten years. The alternating warm and cold days affected them in the sunroom. Also, the more I travel, the worse all my houseplants look, even though I have a house sitter, dog sitter, plant sitter person.
But the blooms at this show were exceptional and did not disappoint. There didn't seem to be as many as usual this year, but judging from my own plants at home, I understand why.
The Jewels of Winter Show is not just an exhibit. It is an educational forum. There is literature available on proper orchid care and propagation and usually you can find someone to answer a question or two.
I've grown African Violets for years, but there is a special joy in keeping an exotic orchid plant alive from year to year, seeing it send out new shoots, and actually bloom! And the blooms will last for months with the right care.
Contrary to popular belief, orchids are not hard to keep alive, but there are a few very important rules. Most orchid plants die from one of two major causes: extreme fluctuations in temperature, or over-watering.
I add two ice cubes to the flower pot once a week, three if it is a big orchid plant. That is it when it comes to water. They do not like to be sign or sit in water. Use pots made especially for orchids that have holes in them.