As last week’s polar vortex subsided east of the Rockies, the weather was predicted to warm up significantly for a few days, which it did. For most people this wouldn’t really affect their lives, but as an orchid grower who has to ship plants, it was a big deal. It meant that dozens of plant orders that had been sitting around on hold for weeks suddenly had the green light to travel. My assistant and I spent all of Friday and Saturday packing plants nonstop, assembly-line style, and my poor husband Michael had to transport them all to the post office on Saturday, where the avalanche of “live orchid plants” packages was quite the center of attention. There was another batch to pack and go out on Monday, but how quickly things can change!
Sunday afternoon it started to snow here, and it continued to snow through noon yesterday. Sunday night the temperature dropped into the 20s F and last night into the teens F! (It should be teens C this time of year). It has not been above freezing since the snow started. Fortunately I had seen the weather forecast, which as a grower I check obsessively, usually with regard to shipping, but our own forecast looked alarming. On Saturday afternoon I watered the greenhouse, turned the water off and allowed it to drain, turned the heat in the greenhouse all the way up, sealed every opening with bubble wrap, closed the door, and crossed my fingers. The greenhouse has been in lockdown mode since Saturday, and will continue to be until the weather warms up. Luckily there has not been a power outage here, although many people did experience one.
Yesterday and today classes at the university have been cancelled. I haven’t been able to go anywhere except on foot, and I have gotten an amazing amount of work done at home. This episode has once again made me realize how weather-dependent anyone who grows plants is. I knew this already, but periodically go into denial when a particularly choice orchid blooms. The thing about perfumes is that they are (mostly) not weather-dependent, so they fit my scattered lifestyle much better.
I have definitively decided that I want to sell the orchid-growing business, for a number of reasons. First, it has grown by leaps and bounds, and is now to the point where I need a much larger greenhouse facility if I want to take it to the next level – which is where it’s going, like it or not. Second, I don’t like to be shackled by plants that need care at certain times and have to be protected from weather extremes. I’ve learned that I’m just not cut out to be a farmer, even a farmer of plants that need minimal care like orchids. In case you wondered, Michael takes care of the regular garden.
I’ve been thinking about selling the orchid business for years, but it’s come to a critical point now, so if you know anyone who would like to become an orchid grower, please send them my way. They would need a greenhouse, but everything else is in place for someone to have a turnkey business.
[All photos are mine except for the last one, which I grabbed from the local ski area webcam - always a good source of snow pics!]