It was mid-November as I recall and Matt and Erin brought me a beautiful orchid in full bloom. Now, Matt, having known me for thirty years, knew as well as anyone that I have a brown thumb. The only thing I ever grew successfully were philodendrons. When I got tired of watering them I tossed them outside and told them it was sink or swim time. They survived, twined up tree trunks and grew huge leaves. They are probably still alive today. I have killed Christmas Cactuses, Easter lilies, poinsettias and azaleas. I water too much or not enough. My philosophy toward outdoor gardening is, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”
I had always assumed that orchids are delicate and require lots of care. Matt insisted that this orchid was easy to care for.
He was actually right about that. I named my orchid Fern and hung her near my front door. I set her out in the rain from time to time. I spritzed her with orchid fertilizer and replanted her when she seemed to outgrow her original container. I was super proud of the fact that Fern survived for three years. But she never bloomed.
Matt and Erin got engaged and eventually started planning a wedding, something many who knew them weren’t sure would ever happen. At least they were making progress and moving forward. But my orchid, while surviving, was stagnating until…
I visited my friend Kellar who has a way with all things “plant-y” and I noticed an orchid blooming on her front porch. I shared Fern’s tale of woe with her and she said, “With orchids I’ve found it’s all about the light. You have to keep moving them around until they find a place they like. When they do, they’ll bloom.”
Hmm. Seemed simple enough. I removed Fern from her perch near the front door to a table on the other side of the carport. When nothing happened, I set the table outside. Still nothing. My neighbor gave me a wreath hook so I used it to hang Fern from the edge of the gutter.
Each day I checked but those buds held tight, loosening only a little at a time.
Matt and Erin have known each other since their teens but like Fern, their love never really bloomed because they weren’t in the right place. Or perhaps it wasn’t the right time. Maybe they weren’t getting enough light. At the beginning of Fern’s relocation process there wasn’t a place that was just right for her. Like Matt and Erin, she had to keep moving, finally being up high and closer to the light before she found her happy place and shared her beauty with the world.