Monday, December 28, 2009

The Unofficial Flower of New York City

By Father Tony

According to this 2007 press release from the Mayor’s office, the daffodil is the official flower of New York City. The “Daffodil Project" is a fine way to beautify the city, and an economical one, considering the fact that daffodils return and multiply with every spring.

That said, the orchid would have been a better choice.

Explanation and photos of some of our orchids, after the break.

Orchids grow indoors (although there are some that grow wild in Central Park). They prefer humidity but will tolerate a wide range of daytime and nighttime temperatures. They prefer shade but will work with whatever light comes into the window you give them. Bugs do not notice them. If you leave the city for a week or two, they won’t like it but will forgive you when you return. They don’t need the fertilizers that are marketed for them. They will last for many years and will bloom frequently. We have one that is 25 years old and will often produce a single branch that throws more than 30 blossoms.

The only real maintenance needed is replacement of the mulch every few years.

Most folks throw out their orchids once the blooms are gone. We found orchids in the trash on the sidewalk on a cold late November evening, adopted them and then waited to see what color they would be when they rebloomed which they have done several times since then.

The phalaenopsis  or moth orchid  is a good choice. They are for sale in grocery stores, at the Home Depot and at your local corner bodega. I once spent $75 for a particularly beautiful spotted variety that caught my eye in the window of a dry cleaning shop on Columbus Avenue , but really, you shouldn’t spend more than $15 for a moth orchid.  The plant wholesalers on West 27th Street have a huge variety of mature plants for cheap.

And, you won’t need to walk them twice a day with a leash in one hand and a plastic bag in the other.

Here's my expensive orchid, our trash orchid and a Valentine's Day orchid from my husband.

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