Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sunny again!

Now that the sun is beginning to creep into my patio once again, I shifted all my sun-loving portalucca into the sun-lit areas so that I can enjoy colourful pink and yellow blooms again.

For the first half of the year, my patio is completely sheltered from the sun as it lies in the apartment block's shadow. I like it this way because it is so bright, cool and comfortable, the green foliage plants do really well here. Unfortunately bougainvilleas don't flower in my patio because of the lack of sun.

Then as the sun shifts (due to our earth's movements) in the later months, the patio starts to receive more and more sunlight, to the delight of the sun-loving plants like portalucca. I tend to have more success growing vegetables during this period too.

My dendrobium orchids are starting to bloom. Growing up in an orchid nursery, I had never paid much attention to orchids and could never understand why people can be so passionate about them. I guess I had always taken them for granted.

When I moved into this apartment, the previous owner left some behind. I threw away the sickly ones and tossed the rest carelessly beneath the bamboo grove. Despite the neglect, they still reward me with several blooms a year. I'm beginning to appreciate them more.

This particular one has been at this flower-bud stage for the longest time, I keep wondering when the buds will finally open up to reveal pretty purple flowers.

Now I understand why mum gets so upset at some of her picky customers. We're in the business of exporting orchid stalks, but mum obliges and sells her plants to walk-in enthusiasts at wholesale prices (half of what they would pay at retail outlets). The customers would scour through the 4 acres of our nursery to pick the best ones with the most blooms. They know they're getting an excellent deal, yet they would bargain so hard like they're at a flea market.

They should understand the amount of effort that goes into nurturing an orchid plant. Most gardeners would agree that orchids are not the easiest plants to care for and their productive life (for export quality) is rather short.

Whenever I buy anything from the farms, I appreciate the time and hard work that go into the produce, so I would never bargain unless they are priced out of range. I have seen how hard a farmer's life is and I have a lot of respect for them.


  1. BlurTing, my orchids were given by my neighbour's mum. Her orchids were brought from her hometown. I have not seen the flowers before. One plant was given to me more than a year ago and the other two months ago. Still no blooms yet. Also I remember when I visited a nursery who grows orchids for export, the owner told me that it takes a number of years for the orchid to grow/mature from seed. So, I totally understood what you are talking about! Normally I don't bargain also.

  2. Stephanie - Orchids like shady areas and they get their nutrition through the roots. To make your orchids flower, perhaps you can try spraying liquid fertiliser. Honestly, I had never fertilised the orchid plants in my patio yet they are constantly flowering.

  3. I used to plant orchids and spray them alternate days with liquid fertilizer. They bloomed beautifully. But most of them died on now.

    I agree with you on bargaining with the nurseries farmers. Usually if a plant is beyond my budget, I would just walk away. I am not a hard-bargainer too coz I believe in being fair to the other party. I prefer walking away knowing that we had win-win deal.

    So usually I go to nurseries that I trust would give me a fair deal. Then I don't even need to bargain. :o)

  4. J.C - Most farmers are honest folks who do all the hardwork. The retail stores are the ones who do the mark-up.

  5. Agreed, on a lot of counts. There are some places where the prices are really cheap while a lot of hard work has been done by the farmers, yet people try to bargain like crazy. Those who do so are those who drive really expensive cars and all, as if they were rich. Ironic, yet extremely annoying.

  6. Casey - So true! We get loads of people like this coming to the farm to drive a hard bargain. Ironically, true gardener appreciates the hard work that goes into planting, that's why they don't bargain!

  7. Ting, yeah. Exactly that! It's those who stand by the sidelines and think that the world revolves around them that are the most ah-soh of them all. If they would get their hands dirty (oh no, they won't) then I don't think they'll bargain so hard.