on gardening

good morning ladies and gents

a lot of you think i am a real gardener because of the name of my blog.  i'm here to set the record straight.  the name of my blog comes from that fact that real gardeners used to live here.
now this place is stuck with me. 

i really don't know what i'm doing when it comes to gardening.  i just keep at it and nature, forgiving as it is, just happens.  it's really quite lovely. 

i stick things in the dirt and water them and pray and most of the time something will bloom.  sometimes not, but i never let that stop me.  mostly i like working in the garden because i love being outside.
 like the lyrics from a favorite song of mine..."we don't notice any time pass, we don't notice anything."  honestly, i get lost in garden chores.  it's usually my aching body that tells me when it's time to quit.  it's a wonderful feeling.  there is so much to do and never enough time or money to do it. 
so i keep at it and overall things stay green and alive in a sloppy sort of way.

recently, something wonderful has happened under my care,
my orchid rebloomed.  
i can't tell you how exciting this is for me.  i've always thought that people who grew orchids were real gardeners because getting them to rebloom has been a mystery to me.  i can't count the number of orchids that i've killed or given up on.  but not this one. 
this one is holding on for dear life and its blooms are beautiful.

my neighbor, terry hemstrom at kimberly crest mansion, who is a real gardener, gave me some advice on getting this thing to bloom again.  first he told me that they love morning light, so i stuck it outside where it gets great eastern light and then shade for the rest of the day.  he also told me to water it every now and again with diluted coffee.  i guess orchids grow on trees and trees produce tannins and tannins are in coffee.  so about every couple of weeks i give it a weak cup of coffee. 

i promise to not let this go to my head. i'm sure something is dying outside as i type...
be right back.



  1. Congratulations on the orchid - I will file that advice away in the gardening files in my head. I've only tried one orchid and it lived about 6 weeks.

    I am the same way - I can get totally lost in my gardening. I'm counting the days (months) until I can get back at it.


  2. It's beautiful, Janet!

    I'll have to try that; I too have never been able to get an orchid to rebloom. This one is very pretty.


  3. People think the same about me. But mostly I just put it in the ground or pot and see if it grows. I didn't know that about Orchids, I have a few and they do rebloom. They don't look as pretty as they use to but my thought is if you bloom you should be here, even if it's just a small single sprout. Are you suppose to cut them back?
    Enjoy your day~KarenSue

  4. That's beautiful. They say that orchids thrive on abuse.

    Very interesting advice. We had one at my office that rebloomed three times before we killed it and it did indeed get about an hour of morning sunlight.

    Your house always looks so clean.

  5. I think your description of yourself is the spirit of a TRUE gardener ~ it's the love of being and playing in the dirt.

    Your orchid is gorgeous...I didn't realize they had so much greenery. That's because, like hydrangeas, I can't grow orchids either. I don't think they like the crazy NE weather.

    I love how your dining room table is front and center for all your flower arrangements ~ always beautiful.

  6. claudia - wishing you and early spring.

    sue - thank you lovely.

    karen sue - i think you cut off the blooming stem when it is done. i think.

    steve - i've abused quite a few of them in the past and they never thrived but this one is persistent.

    sarah - thanks sarah, the house is so tiny there is nowhere else to put that table.

  7. Your orchid is beautiful! There are many types of gardeners; I believe you to be a gardener of beautiful things. And, you freely share. The idea of living in "The Gardener's Cottage" makes me think there are many wonderful stories to be told within it's walls.

    I love the coffee advice. What (who) doesn't preform better with a good shot of coffee.

  8. I love your orchid! I really want one, but I was afraid to get one. I do ok with outdoor plants, but I tend to kill the poor indoor plants put in my care.
    I'll have to get one and try your tips.

  9. Ahhhh...Your Sunday morning orchid post reminds me that spring is almost here, and that, in itself, is such a miracle. When we stop and look at all that is alive, it is enough to fill our hearts to the brim! What a lovely orchid thriving so well...and what a lovely keeper of it. -Suzanne in Illinois

  10. Hi Janet,

    You are too modest! I think gardening is alot of trial and error. (based on my experience!) Looks like you know what you are doing to me! Thanks for the orchid tips...my step-mom used to grown cymbidiums but I was too young to appreciate them.

    Last year I started putting my orchids that were done blooming in the garage on a table, they get more southeast sunlight but hey it's working! I just brought back up an orchid that has re-bloomed. It is exciting isn't it? :)


  11. I must admit, I saw you as a green thumb. Ah, another shattered myth. Your home is a prime example of staging to live. You're an inspiration, Janet.

  12. bonnie - you are too sweet and you are right, who doesn't feel better after a shot of coffee.

    paige - try one and report back, ok?

    suzanne - thanks and i don't know why my emails are getting to you w/o the body. i'll keep trying.

    linda - glad to hear you had the same results which makes me think mine wasn't a fluke.

    daryl - thank you. what is staging to live.

  13. I stick things in the dirt and water them and pray and most of the time something will bloom. sometimes not, but I never let that stop me

    That is the definition of a "real" gardener.

    Your orchid looks gorgeous...

  14. Hi Jannet,

    What a beautiful and stylish home you have. It sort of matches the way you dress!

    Congratulations on the orchid. It always makes me happy when the reflorish as well!

    Enjoy your sunday!

    Lieve groet, Madelief

  15. I am so happy to have this advice. I have two white orchids I was given about three years ago. After their flowers were gone I stuck them in another room ('that' room, the office/storage area/junk room - at least it has a window for the poor orchids). I forgot to water them most of the time and now... one has seven huge beautiful blooms on. The other has a couple of green leaves. I will try morning light and weak coffee. Fascinating. Thank you!

  16. Janet,

    Your orchid is lovely, wonderful that you have nurtured and tended it so lovingly...it's no wonder that it's happily reblooming.

    You have captured the essence of how I too feel about my garden...never enough time or money to have it all tickety-boo....and stopping when my achy body tells me I have done enough...

    just imagine if we spent a day working together...we'd get so much done .
    Don't forget soaking in the tub filled with epsom salts to relieve those muscles of their aches.

    Your sunny posts make me happy, thank you.

  17. Congratulations! It is beautiful! I have inherited an orchid and am waiting very impatiently to see what will happen with it. Thanks for the coffee tip - I'm off to make some coffee for my orchid right now! Karin

  18. Will espresso work too? Maybe the blooms will come faster....

    I have never gotten an orchid to rebloom. I keep them around until I can't stand it anymore, then I sneak in a new one from the shop.

    Hoping you're enjoying a lovely Sunday. We're about to have a bowl of pasta for lunch then I hope,several hours of quiet time.

    xo Jane

  19. Wow! The orchid is beautiful but I can't take my eyes off the table/desk...which is it and where did you find it? Love it!!!

  20. adrienne - aww, thanks, i do try.

    madelief - you think so? well thank you.

    fiona - i sounds like your method is working just fine!

    leslie - i would love to spend the day in the garden with you. although we may spend the day just talking.

    karin - try it and see what happens.

    jane - somehow knowing you couldn't get yours to rebloom either makes me feel better. enjoy your day.

    dianne - the wicker table dates from 1910, i'm told and i got it at an antique store when it was going out of business. i really need a bigger table for this area but i can't part with this one. and there is nowhere else in the house it would fit.

  21. Dear Janet, What a wonderful Sunday morning post. You are a super, real gardener, look at your roses and your whole front lawn, and grounds, Beautiful! The Gardeners Cottage is so lucky to have you, you brought it all to life. Thank you for the orchid tips. Hugs, Joyce

  22. Good for you! I'm afraid of orchids. They look so fragile. It's so cold up here I would kill it just taking it out of the shop.

    I love to garden though, just the same way you do.

  23. stop it... you ARE a gardener. The only qualification to be a gardener... that you love your garden and you do!!
    love the tip about the coffee! I just watered mine in the pantry (the ones that are waiting to re-bloom) and they do indeed love the morning light. I've never had luck in getting them to re-bloom either, but every single one in there (about 4) have little buds on them! Happy, happy!

  24. Dear Janet, You are absolutely right...real gardeners do keep Orchids alive.... and professionals enable Orchids to rebloom! Congratulations Janet!!

    I have failed miserably with Orchids for years and have now given up!! I have never tried the coffee trick though.......

  25. I love to garden but if people saw it in real life they'd be surprised because it doesn't look that flash en masse- the little bits that make it up look pretty but the whole effect is a bit underwhelming.

    I love your house. xxx

  26. Congratulations! This is an accomplishment to be proud of. Just this morning I was looking at my orchids thinking they are so sad, and are they worth watering and the real estate they're taking up if they only bloom once a year... I have a hard time throwing something that's alive away though. I'll try the coffee trick--that's news to me.

    Enjoy the beautiful blooms.

  27. I so wish I had taken more notice of my uncle's ramblings while visiting him and his orchids. No kidding he grew hundreds. Alas I was quite young and not at all interested in growing flowers and he's passed away.
    Congratulations on this beauty Janet for I do remember they need great care to flourish.

  28. Your orchid is beautiful, and I agree, people who grow them are gardeners! They are a mystery, like African violets, also beautiful and for me, difficult to grow. Thank you for sharing your tips, I have filed them away! Have a great day, and take time to "smell the flowers!"

  29. Oh how lovely!!! So glad I found your blog! Be back often!

  30. getting orchids to bloom again is a special time. I remember my mum handing over the not-yet-blooming orchid she had been taken care of for momths. They left for their summer vacation. 9 weeks later she returned to a blooming orchid.
    Janet, I did know you are not a gardener but I wondered if you still practice as an aestethician? Do you own your own studio or work in a salon? I would love to get to know more of this part of your life!

  31. Janet - I had NO idea! Coffee?? Really?? I'm with you - I'm not a gardener and I really really wish I was. Although I really do think your a bit further ahead in the game than I am. : ) I have an orchid that I bought at ikea for $12 last year. I gave it a lot of attention for the first few months and then I just stopped taking care it. I thought it was completely dead (I haven't watered it in MONTHS!) and yesterday and new bloom started appearing. So now I don't know whether to start taking care of it again or just keep neglecting it! Anyways - your orchids are beautiful and I do think you qualify as an official "gardener!"

    xo Melissa

  32. I am seriously impressed Janet because I really don't think I would be able to get an orchid to flower.. THank you for the tips- your orchid is so beautiful and congratulations - you ARE a gardener for sure! (from Semi Expat XXX)

  33. Beautiful re bloom and it looks wonderful in your home. I am no gardener either but find if I stick with lavender, succulents and orchids I can't go wrong. My best cymbidium bloomers are the ones I ignore the most. Go figure...but now they will be getting a little "coffee break" from time to time, thanks to you.


  34. Hi Janet, just found your lovely blog through Daryls at Vermont Cottage - her post shows your lovely home!
    How I wish i could keep my house as tidy as yours, and as beautiful - it does get tidied, freqently,daily, but then just as quickly family and pets trash it!
    Well done with your orchid, thats amazing - your care has paid off, and what a wonderful knowledgable neighbour you have! Would never have thought of coffee.

  35. I have just had the luxury of a whole gloomy afternoon spent reading your delightful blog - yep, all the way back to the beginning! May I say what a pleasure it's been!
    Originally English/German, I have lived in Switzerland most of my life and now also in a cosy cottage that used to be a washhouse for the mill next door. It was built in 1770 and the town has grown up around it, though it remains surprisingly green. Only the youngest of my 3 daughters lives at home, now, and I love having my little grandson over!
    Your black/white vibe is beautiful, though my house dictates light oak, so my colours are cream/red/gold but we still have a lot in common... anyhow, thanks, I will enjoy following your blog from now on!
    ps our climate is a little different though!! LOL

  36. Janet,

    I have never had an orchid re-bloom. Your looks gorgeous and very healthy. I have one now that I received as a gift from one of the lovely ladies I am sponsoring in NCL and it's so beautiful...but I had no idea how to take care of it properly. I'm going to give it a drink of weak coffee right now! Thanks for the tip.

    xo annie

  37. Janet,
    All I can say is Yay! I have had only one orchid re-bloom for me.
    My husband put up a green house in the fall, perhaps I will try again (as Adrienne encourages!).

  38. Dear Mrs. Greenthumb, I've seen pictures of your garden, you are gardener! That varity orchid is the best orchid. You buy them at Trader Joes, bring it home, take it out side under tree, next year more flowers. My yellow is blomming, but not my white. Maybe I need the coffee trick, thanks for the tip.

  39. J...I'd like to think I'm a gardener....nothing so glamorius around here...it's called "yard work"...but I like to do it, I feel great when it's done, and I think it looks pretty......
    Thanks for leaving a comment at my place...I've been following you for a while now. ......you have a beautiful home.....I'll be back...k

  40. I know this isn't about gardening, but it hit me hard today that being a vegan is not so easy either. What in the world can I take to work for lunch that is simple to prepare, able to be heated (comfort food factor), and is NOT a soy cheese sandwich with Veganaise and spinach leaves on wheat bread...????? Arrrghhhh....
    -Suzanne in Illinois

  41. suzanne! what the heck is going on with your email? i've sent lots of emails and everyone is getting them except you?

    what about a baked potato with veggie chili in it? pasta leftovers? sauteed veggies and rice leftovers? soup with crusty french bread?

    we have to try to get your email working.

  42. Love your blog and was cracking up about the "gardener" use to live here! Halarious! I am your newest follower! xo, Caroline

  43. Sadly, I've killed a few orchid plants..and a few Home Depot plants..and a few plants from OSH.. The only ones that have survived at my home are the ones that were there even before we moved in. Nothing else. I will try again this spring and hope for the best!

    You're more than welcome to let those flowering orchids get to your head! That's an accomplishment!


kindness is never out of style.

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