Since we bought our little house, Robb and I have been frequenting local estate sales. Estate sales are fascinating, and always a bit sad. You can "read" a great deal about the people whose possessions are being sold off at these events. Travels, interests, aging -- it's all evident in the unwanted contents of a now-unpopulated home.
On Saturday, Robb and I stopped by an estate sale in Alameda. The owners had clearly been adventurous gardeners, but as they had aged, they seemed to have ability to care for their plants. Many beautiful specimens had split their pots, and grew roots between patio paving stones, burrowing into the earth. Among the heaps of neglected plants were a massive pile of cymbidium orchids, being offered at a shockingly low price. I bought the lot, filling Robb's station wagon to bursting.
We live in a climate where many orchids can over-winter outside (I did bring the entire orchid jungle inside last week, due to a long stretch of hard frost). Cymbidiums are local favorites, because they're both unfussy and dramatic. These particular plants are giants, that have long ago outgrown their pots. In one case, the plant in one pot helped itself to space in it's neighboring pot, fusing the two containers together. Most every pot has disintegrated, and there doesn't seem to be much potting medium left in the mass of strangling roots.
I'll re-pot these orchids in the spring, after they've finished blooming. For the moment, I don't want to stress the plants. I fear that will disturb the development of their bloom spikes.
To see what other gardeners are up to, mosey on over to Daphne's weekly round-up. It's always fun to snoop around in someone else's garden.