Episode 13- Demystifying Orchids

Host J Schwanke shares what you need to know to experience the joy of orchids. Visit an orchid farm, create an orchid wreath, and most important: learn how to care for your orchid plants.

*Bonus Content In Blue

Orchids are a favorite- whether it’s a decorative houseplant or fun flower to arrange- or even for special events like weddings or birthdays. Orchids are long lasting- and there’s such a wide variety- I think that’s why they are so mystical- and magical.  This week on Life in Bloom- I take a few steps to simplify orchid care and also share a couple of my favorite orchid projects.

Join J on Life in Bloom for tips and tricks for growing and caring for- blooming orchids!

Join J on Life in Bloom for tips and tricks for growing and caring for- blooming orchids!

Many years ago- I had a Web-based TV Show called “JTV”… that was kind of a cross between – Pee Wee Herman’s Playhouse and Flower Arranging School- I dressed a little differently- and I crazy “friends”- like the JTV Tiger and the Flower Shoppe Gang…  it was a weekly web-based TV Series- and the complete archive is still available on my website uBloom.com for our subscribers-

Inspired by J's Friend Mandy Majerik- J recreates this wreath with orchids and calla lilies!

Inspired by J’s Friend Mandy Majerik- J recreates this wreath with orchids and calla lilies!

(Subscriptions are $3.99 a month- or we offer 20% for an Annual Subscription – $38.40 per year- and for our Life in Bloom Viewers- I have a special discount code FIFTYOFF – put that in the discount code field when you sign up for an annual membership at www.uBloom.com/Join/Annual - you’ll get an annual subscription for $17.20 – and if you check AUTO-RENEW- you’ll pay that rate forever… it’s a great deal)

J uses decorative corsage pins to attach the orchids and callas to the wreath!

J uses decorative corsage pins to attach the orchids and callas to the wreath!

We used to hold contests at uBloom.com and our viewers would submit Arrangement Ideas- and could win a chance to fly to the JTV Studios in Grand Rapids Michigan and appear on JTV- with me- and recreate their Flower Genius! This week’s flower project- is one of those projects- from my Talented Friend Mandy Majerik- from Hothouse Design Studio in Birmingham Alabama- Mandy – entered “It’s Hip to be Square”- wreath in our Special Event contest and won. She came to Grand Rapids and re-created the project on JTV… you can watch that entire show here!

Phaleanopsis Orchids- also known as Butterfly Orchids appear on Life in Bloom!

Phaleanopsis Orchids- also known as Butterfly Orchids appear on Life in Bloom!

Today- Mandy is one of the Leading Wedding and Event Designers in the World- and a great friend- and I thought it was fitting to bring her project to “Life in Bloom”- created from a Square PERMANENT Hydrangea Square Wreath- it features Green Cymbidium orchids and Calla Lilies with a unique twist for attachment- Designer Corsage Pins… it’s a fun project- and one that you can do with orchids because they are so long lasting…

Blush Pink Cymbidium Orchids are featured in this week's Craft in Bloom!

Blush Pink Cymbidium Orchids are featured in this week’s Craft in Bloom!

I also feature my Favorite Design Master Color Tools- Just for Flowers and Tint-It- that are great for color shifting- permanent or fresh flowers- In one of the earliest JTV episodes I share how to use Just for Flowers to Color Shift Orchids- you can watch there here!

Toine Overgag and his father are orchid growers at Westerlay Orchids in California!

Toine Overgag and his father are orchid growers at Westerlay Orchids in California!

When it comes to growing Orchids- my friend Toine Overgag- at Westerlay Orchids does it on a HUGE Scale- We visited Westerlay Orchids for the CA Grown Experience on uBloom- You can watch the full tour here! I highlight my visit with Toine in California on this show. The Most amazing part of growing orchids is the TIME it takes and the dedication to keeping all the climatic elements just perfect for 2- 4 YEARS. It’s a long term process- and it can go wrong in just a day- but the Crew at Westerlay have it down to a TRUE Science- and they grow both Phalaenopsis Orchids and Cymbidium Orchids with Perfection!

Once blooming the orchid plants at Westerlay are shipped all across the country!

Once blooming the orchid plants at Westerlay are shipped all across the country!

Orchids are just as fun to grow as they are to arrange- and Toine gives us a bit of his insight and the process- plus you get to see – 100′s of thousands of orchids- growing in his greenhouse- it’s a spectacular sight. Watch through to the credits to get to see our challenges with FOGGED up Lens- and also a brief encounter with Toine and his dad… at Westerlay Orchids.

Toine shows the progress of roots on the orchids that are grown from clones at Westerlay Orchids

Toine shows the progress of roots on the orchids that are grown from clones at Westerlay Orchids

Care of Orchids- can be intimidating- but when you break it down to simple steps – it’s a bit more manageable… Since Orchids are Epiphytes: (a plant that grows on another plant but is not parasitic, such as the numerous ferns, bromeliads, air plants, and orchids growing on tree trunks in tropical rain forests ) they need Light, Water, Fertilizer and Air- to survive.

A Tablescape is easy to create using blooming orchids plants!

A Tablescape is easy to create using blooming orchids plants!

I created a Fun with Flowers and J episode about orchids- and share my favorite tips about caring for orchids as houseplants- and and create a tablescape using Orchids plants and candles- you can watch it here!

J shares his easy tips for keeping orchids happy inside your home on Life in Bloom!

J shares his easy tips for keeping orchids happy inside your home on Life in Bloom!

Many Orchids experts will tell you that Ice Chips ARE NOT the way to water your orchids- but with my busy schedule- I find this technique especially helpful- and actually using the ice chip method- finally allowed me to have orchids survive in my home- so I’m not going to argue with progress. hehehe!

Orchids grow well in Wood Chips vs Soil- as this helps keeps water from sitting on the delicate root system!

Orchids grow well in Wood Chips vs Soil- as this helps keeps water from sitting on the delicate root system!

The Fertilizer I use in this show is from Chrysal – and I use it on all my orchids- including the Lady Slipper you see in this show. I purchased the Lady Slipper Orchid for this show- and I’ve been attempting to get it to re-bloom and fertilizing is part of the process… right now- the (Non-Blooming) orchid is getting new leaves and living outside in Michigan summer- but I’m hopeful that this fall it will return to my Greenhouse Window and maybe share a bloom or two! You can purchase the orchid food at this link- www.uBloom.com/BuyChrysal

J shows the step by step process for taking a stem of orchids and creating a composite orchid!

J shows the step by step process for taking a stem of orchids and creating a composite orchid!

One of my Favorite Flower Projects is a composite flower- making ONE Large flower out of several flowers- there’s a JTV Episode about Composite Flowers- a Fun with Flowers Episode about a Composite Calla Lily- and another where I make one with Alstroemaria – but in this episode of “LIFE IN BLOOM” I make a Composite orchid- using cold adhesive- (it’s basically rubber cement)- this special Flower glue is available from local wholesale florist supply houses or you can buy it at OasisFloralProducts.com . Taking one stem of Cymbidium Orchids and using the petals individually- I use a ribbon back from one of www.myribbonroll.com ribbon bolts and glue the petals to it… creating a stunning composite orchid flower. I also use this beautiful matching burlap ribbon in rose’ to accent the flower.

Perfect for a wedding- the composite orchid can be a wonderful wedding bouquet alternative!

Perfect for a wedding- the composite orchid can be a wonderful wedding bouquet alternative!

This project would be great for a wedding bouquet- or even bridesmaid bouquets- you can do so many creative things with orchids- because they are so darned durable and long lasting. Believe it or not!

Using Vanilla Flavored Vodka- this #flowercocktailhour recipe is a perfect dessert libation!

Using Vanilla Flavored Vodka- this #flowercocktailhour recipe is a perfect dessert libation!

#FlowerCocktailHour- features an orchid ingredient- many people don’t realize that Vanilla (and the actual vanilla pods) are the fruit of an orchid variety- and this delicious dessert cocktail features Vanilla Flavored Vodka- White Chocolate Liquor, and Peppermint Liquor- it’s finished with heavy cream- and it’s dreamy- check out the recipe here!

Create your own relaxation potion using orchid essences and bath salts!

Create your own relaxation potion using orchid essences and bath salts!

When it comes to relaxing- or gardening- I’m into epsom salt- it’s so beneficial to garden flowers- and it’s also great for my sore muscles after I’ve spent a few hours in the garden. Using some orchid essence – I create my own bath salt soak recipe- and show you how easy it is to create your own relaxation potion… you can use the same steps to create just about any “flavor” you want. Check out this easy recipe here!

Featured flower- the Lady Slipper Orchid - on J Schwanke's Life in Bloom!

Featured flower- the Lady Slipper Orchid – on J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom!

Orchids are exciting- and hopefully this episode (our Final show in Season 1) about orchids will take a bit of mystery out of Orchids plants or blooms- and have you creating projects comfortably and enjoyably. You can catch all the Episodes from Season 1 here- on the uBloom Website- and rest assured the Life in Bloom Crew and I are busy at work on Season 2 of J Schwanke’s Life in Bloom- for release in 2020!