In praise of... my blooming orchid

Four months ago, in mid-October, one of my sisters gave me an orchid, already in bloom and with several buds. Four months on it's still blooming, and has only just started to shed its first flowers. It has outlasted the normal orchid flower life expectancy of two-three months and will undoubtedly still be blooming as we enter March.

Orchids are quite easy to care for, provided you don't read more than one set of instructions and aren't too obedient to what you do read. I've been told orchids prefer north-facing windows... or south-facing ones; that they prefer certain temperatures, regular feeding and soft water. Well, over the years I've successfully kept orchids facing just about everywhere, generally forgotten to feed them and irregularly given them whatever comes out of the tap. This one has somehow thrived on a chilly westerly windowsill; fine when the afternoon sun floods in, less so on dull or wet days.

But it has somehow thrived and bloomed, all through winter, when I was at my weariest. Maybe it and I are like revolving doors: it has started to shed drooping flowers just as I've started to pep up and get more energy!

I will of course cut it back after it has lost all its flowers, and wait to see if it grows back, as previous orchids have done. Back in 11NG I would put dormant orchids in a basement window and check up on them every so often. Now that I'm minus a basement I'll have to try my luck with other spaces and see if my blooming orchid lives to bloom again.

And in case you're wondering... yes, the poinsettia is still going great guns, too, though the orchid has a two-month head start!