I’m sorry

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In January I wrote how I thought I got the hang of growing phalaenopsis. At that time my purple phalaenopsis gifted me with eight beautiful flowers. I was overjoyed. How well would the plant next time, I mused. Maybe eight flowers again? Or even more? Well, I can answer this question now: Three. Three measly flowers. Three! To say that I wasn’t disappointed would be a lie. And I thought things were going so well! The flower stem grew long and strong. Roots were everywhere.

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That was the state when I left to spend some time away. When I returned I saw how the spike began to grow some buds again. Right now it looks like there will be three buds. It’s still less than I was expecting. However, there is a new spike forming so I’m hoping for a better flower count again.

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The Minho Princess look-alike is in spike, too. Last time it took four months for the first flower to open. The plant can take its time but I expect a marvellous flower display!

Phalaenopsis Purple Martin

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As you know from my post here I’ve been dreaming of getting a Phal. Purple Martin. So one weekend I finally took a trip to the local orchid nursery, Orchideen Rehbein, which is run by an elderly woman. The room where Renate Rehbein sells her orchids is tiny, equipped with a few tables on which the plants are displayed. I remember seeing a lot of phalaenopsis, a couple of paphiopedilums and a few masdevallias. There were quite some pretty flowers but my eyes zoomed right in on the Purple Martins. I wanted the strongest plant which means: lots of healthy roots, spikes and buds. Funny enough, after I thought I made my decision, the owner brought out another plant that she kept separate for decorative purposes. It was the best plant out of that bunch. So I bought it.

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The color is amazing! It reminds me of Milka chocolate, that kind of shade. And the dark purple lip is adorable. It does look as if the flower is pouting. Flower size is about 3 cm. One reason why I wanted this hybrid so much was the fragrance. It smells like herbs and a bit spicy but you need to get really close to notice it. On sunny days the scent is stronger but this isn’t a flower that will give you a headache.

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I really want to grow it well so that it will be strong enough to produce lots of spikes and flowers for me. I’ve seen pictures of older plants and they are amazing! Phal. Purple Martin is capable of flowering on several spikes at the same time which is a huge plus in my books.

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Right now I need the plant to adjust to my growing conditions. It sits in a 10 cm clear plastic pot potted in bark, inside a clear glass vase on my windowsill with my other phals. In the picture above you can see that there is  a second spike forming buds which really makes me really excited. And just like my other phalaenopsis root growth has kicked in.

Put a needle in my hand

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How often have you found a garment that you liked but didn’t buy because something was off? A bit too long, too loose – it just didn’t fit right. I think that we all have been there. I know I’ve been there with this blouse. The print is lovely, abstract but not loud. And it was the first time I’ve seen cufflinks for women. I have to admit I didn’t know how to do them at first. It’s such a nice touch to the blouse. So are the pintucks on the shoulders.

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The sleeves, however, they were way too long. I’ve never encountered that problem before but there was at least  5 cm fabric that shouldn’t be there. Even so, I took the blouse with me. I was confident that I could fix the sleeves. At first I thought about removing the cuff and then cutting off the excess. But when I consulted my mother she suggested going an easier route: Since the fabric is so delicate it would be easier to fold in the excess fabric and sew it in place. This way there would be no cutting involved an therefore no hemming. I’m glad I took her advice because even then it was difficult to get the sleeves even. Now that this problem is solved I’m thinking of taking in the sides to make it fit me in the waist…

Phal. Minho Princess look-alike in full bloom

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The Phal. Minho Princess look-alike is in full bloom now. Doesn’t it look absolutely stunning? When I bought the phalaenopsis last summer I knew it would look really pretty in full bloom. But as I wrote before that didn’t happen. So this is the first time I’ve seen it with every flower open and it’s better than I could have ever imagined. I love how the flowers cascade down and create movement for the eye to follow. I will definitely stick to not staking the spikes.

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The back is really pretty, too. At first the color is a faint green shade which later turns into a soft pink. The striping is much more noticeable from the back, too. This flowering taught me that you don’t necessarily need a fancy setup like growing under lights or RO water or special fertilizers in order to get a nice display of flowers. Just a windowsill, plain tap water and a basic fertilizer.

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When one of the buds opened up I was surprised to see that the flower looked different from the others. There was much more striping! I’ve seen such irregularities on orchid forums but never in person. It’s quite  interesting, isn’t it? At some point the plant got a bit confused, I think.

Battling the blazer blues

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There have been a couple of days in April when it was warm enough to ditch the coat and bring out my beloved blazer. It’s quite surprising how much I like this garment because blazers aren’t really my thing. I usually feel really weird wearing them: as if I’m costuming as an older business woman.  It doesn’t feel right and it doesn’t feel like me. In addition, the lapels and the low placement of buttons make me look even more flat-chested than I am, which isn’t flattering at all. That is why I stayed well away from them while the other girls (and boys!) were rocking blazers during school. One particular summer white blazers were all the rage and everyone was wearing one. It didn’t look good on many people but then again, that’s fashion and not style.

So fast forward a few years to last summer and I was facing a huge task. Well, in my eyes it was huge. My jacket for summer, a casual sand denim number, wasn’t doing it anymore. It somehow acquired large yellow stains in the back which didn’t come off. So yeah, new jacket. Besides shoes I hate shopping for outerwear because I have lots of requirements. It should be comfortable to wear, easy to clean, keep me warm. Make me look nice, able to be worn for years, match with my wardrobe,  and not be boring. You see, there are a few boxes to be ticked off.

Unenthusiastic is the word to describe my state while I was browsing through every clothing store in vicinity. Luckily, you don’t need a changing cubicle to try on a jacket. Otherwise it would have taken me much longer because I literally tried on everything that somehow resembled a jacket. Usually, I look at the garment on the clothes hanger and decide whether it’s worth trying on or not. But if I had used that approach that time, I would have left empty-handed. I needed to keep an open mind. So I put on everything. Even blazers, though I didn’t have high hopes. Last summer seemed to be the year of bright, colorful blazers. They were everywhere. Emerald, bright red, neon yellow. Not my thing.

Well, in the end I bought a blazer in blue and black. And you know what? It took some time but now I love it. I like the colors: just blue would have been too much color. Only black too severe. Instead, it looks modern but still classy. And no lapels! It did come with a low placed clasp but I added a clasp higher up which is much better. Now it’s perfect! I’m glad that I overcame my prejudice against blazers. Sometimes you just have to give things a few more tries.

No more buying bottled water

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That’s it. I brought back the last returnable water bottles to the store. No more. No more lugging heavy bottles back home. No more empty bottles in the corner to be returned. No more returning bottles. Instead, all I need to do if thirst strikes me is to pull out my reuseable water bottle filled with tap water and I’m good. So why did it take me so long to convert from bottled water to tap water?

I did start drinking tap water years ago. At home. But when I’m not at home, for instance, at the university,  I then rely on bottled water. I thought about getting a reuseable water bottle before but what stopped me was the fact that I couldn’t find one that pleased me. Most reuseable bottles have a sporty look which isn’t my taste. Or they want to be super innovative products with lots of special features which I don’t need. The Bobble one is a good example. I don’t like the bright cap colors but I could deal with them. What I can’t deal with is the carbon filter which needs to be replaced regularly.

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All I asked for is simple bottle that is easy to use and nice to look at. Minimalistic Design. And who does that better than the Scandinavians? There is the Retap bottle which I find very pretty, almost like a perfume bottle. Unfortunately, it’s not leak-proof. But the Eva Solo one is! That’s the one I got in the end.

The Eva Solo bottle is made of a material called tritan, which looks very much like glass. You can’t tell the difference until you actually touch it. The cap is steel and comes with a strap attached to it. At first I wasn’t sure about the strap. But it’s really convenient to hold the bottle with it, especially if your hands are occupied. The bottle holds about 570 mL if you fill it almost to the rim.

There is a story about how I came to this bottle. I saw it listed in several online stores but I was reluctant to order because I wanted to see it in person first plus I didn’t want to pay for shipping. Therefore I contacted Eva Solo to find out where I could purchase this product in Hamburg. The Eva Solo team’s response came quickly and was helpful, they gave me names of several stores. And one of them turned out to have their 50th anniversary and offered a 20% discount on everything. Everything! How great is that? That sealed the deal with the Eva Solo bottle. I love coincidences like that

First rebloom of Phal. Minho Princess look-alike

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In 136 days the spike went from being a tiny nub to a fully grown spike with ten buds and one bloom. Those were 136 days well spent because I fell in love with this plant all over again.

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The flower is gorgeous. Cream background color with faint and bold purple stripes, which look like brush strokes. Yellow splashes on the lip. So gorgeous. I can see why someone named a similar looking hybrid “Minho Princess”. It’s definitely a princess.

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It’s the first flowering since I bought this plant which is always interesting. When you buy a phalaenopsis in bloom it’s usually the very first flowering of the plant which means the flower count, size and shape can change. In addition it has been grown in a greenhouse with better conditions than you could ever achieve at home. Due to young age of the orchid and the change in growing conditions the first flowering at your place will be different.

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Compared to the first flowering the flower count is lower (11 vs. 14). However, the flower size improved (8,4 cm vs. 7,7 cm) which is great. Next time I’m hoping for a higher flower count and more branching. That would be nice. I didn’t stake the spike because I like the unstaked look better. There is something utterly elegant and breathtaking about a branch of blooms arching away from the plant. I can’t wait to see the plant in full bloom, it will be a beautiful sight.