FOTD – November 7 – Faith and Flowers

I’m not big on blind faith. Our pastor (the one I liked who left) asked me if God himself came down to visit me, would I ask for a picture ID? I thought about it for a couple of minutes.

“Probably,” I said. I can’t help my skepticism. Regardless, some stuff requires faith and somehow, I have found it. Growing flowers is one of those things that puts my faith to a test every year.

Over the course of this past year, my indoor garden required some serious attention. Both of my Christmas Cacti needed to be repotted. This is probably one of the hardest indoor gardening jobs as these plants fall completely to pieces while you are trying to improve their environment. I feel plants that collapse when all you are trying to do is improve the quality of their lives lack gratitude. You’d think they’d be thanking me for getting them special soil and the perfect fertilizer, not to mention drilling the right kind of hole in the pot to provide drainage. They should perk up as their roots dig into the fresh earth.

But they don’t so that. The cacti break into dozens of pieces, any and all of which can (in theory) be planted. In a perfect environment, each broken piece could be a new plant. Except this isn’t a perfect environment. So I scramble to put as many pieces as I can into the dirt. Water so lightly it’s hard to tell I watered it at all because all I’m trying to do is make the soil a bit more solid.

After that, it’s all faith. When you grow sensitive plants like orchids and flowering cactus, you need faith and a blind, unbreakable belief that patience will make them grow again. Extra water won’t revive them, but will kill them.

The pattern for orchids and cactus tends to be similar. You water them and they go limp. To restore them, most people give them more water. After which they rot in their pots. So exactly when every fiber of your plant-loving soul is screaming “WATER THAT PLANT!” — you must not do it. Do not water. Your best bet is to ignore them as long as possible until the potting soil is dry as desert sand before the rains begin.

And this is where faith truly begins. You need to believe, against all odds, that this wilted, depressed plant will — without any help from you — perk up. It will bud and it will flower if you leave it alone. The nurturing you want to give it goes entirely against the grain, but these are desert plants. A very little bit of water goes a very long way.

I repotted my cactus a year and a half ago. I was rewarded with a scanty bloom a few months back. It was just enough to give me hope that more and better would come. I had faith that my flowers would bloom. And now, the cactuses are budding and this time, it won’t be a few random flowers, but a fully blooming cactus.

Equally, every year when my orchids are done blooming, I know they will go into withdrawal. They will look half or fully dead. Yet gradually, over months, they will start to green up, throw shoots. Ultimately They will bloom. Every year I look at my half dead plants and despair of their ever reawakening to life. And yet, I have faith that keeping them alive, watering them lightly only when their soil is completely dry will end with months of flowering orchids and cacti.

Even those of little faith can have faith. Flowers require faith and I find that growing them has changed my understanding of faith because I know, no matter how bad those flowers look out of season, they will bloom again.

Categories: #cactus, #Flowers, #FOTD, #gallery, #Photography, Anecdote, Anthurium, Cee's Photo Challenge, Christmas cactus, Flower of the day, indoor garden, orchids

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6 replies

  1. Mother nature is a great healer. Beautiful flowers 😀


  2. I love macro images, but I had to look twice to see what the first image was.
    Wonderful photography…


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