There is nothing better than the company of an old friend, and this week I am blessed. My dear friend Dasha and her beau are visiting from San Francisco so I am delighted that I get the opportunity to share the quirky and culinary delights of Portland. I met Dasha many years ago when she was a part-time floral designer in my little shop while working towards her graphic design degree. Having this flower connection, Dasha jumped right in when I suggested the topic of today’s tutorial.
Orchids are one of my favorite flowers, so easy and elegant. . . and I always have at least one plant in my home. For those of you who have a Trader Joe’s, you know how abundant and affordable they can be. Well, I would like to demystify them even further and show you my go-to version of how to take a grocery store purchase and make it look like a flower shop design.
After selecting your orchid you will need to find the right container. In this tutorial I used an old vase that I found at a rummage sale and a black bowl I purchased at World Market. With orchids you can use any kind of container since it does not need to hold water. My only rule of thumb is that the container be taller than the plastic pot that holds the orchid roots. Once you have your container, you will need some twigs, blooming branches or curly willow and something to tie them with. I like to use a green raffia, but twine, ribbon or string can look great too. This will replace the less than lovely stakes and plastic clips that come with the orchid plant. You will need a material to fill the space inside the decorative container and the plastic orchid pot. I often recycle the plastic sleeve that surrounds the orchid then top it with a crumpled baking paper to form a solid base around the plant. If the orchid comes in a terracotta pot, I have often crushed the pot inside a paper bag then used the clay chunks to help fill the space. The last component is a cover for the base of the orchid. I keep a variety of moss and stones to choose from. There are many varieties of moss and most are reusable. You can find great moss at garden stores or a flower shop may sell you some pieces. You can also find some varieties of moss at craft stores. I prefer the moist green moss, and will revive it in between orchids by placing it in a pan of water for 15 minutes. I purchased my stones at the dollar store and they are available in many varieties at any craft store. All you need is a pair of floral clippers or branch cutters and you are ready to design and style your orchid.
When I had my flower shop I heard rumbles that orchids are too delicate and tricky to keep alive. Honestly, the biggest mistake people make with orchids is over watering them. . . or simply not watering them, but usually over watering. All an orchid will need is a splash of water once a week. A great trick (and you can read this on most orchid care labels) is to place 1-2 ice cubes onto the leaves once a week, letting the melted ice drain into the roots. This trick will give the plant just enough moisture and keep your blooms fresh for weeks or even months. So. . . celebrate spring by treating yourself to an orchid plant! ~ Lia