Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"American Style" Leslie Codina ~ The Great Orchid Divide

"America, for me, has been the pursuit and catching of happiness."
~ Aurora Raigne

American Style Magazine self-describes as a "lifestyle magazine featuring contemporary art and artists, galleries and collectors." Each issue is rich with up-to-date opportunities for arts tourism in the United States. The current issue has an advertorial I collaborated with photographer Gene Sasse for ceramics artist Leslie Codina. 

Among her avid collectors is the legendary rose hybridizer Tom Carruth, named earlier this year as curator Curator of the Rose Collection at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.  Tom declares "I am a fan."   He particularly likes the versatility of how the totem structures can reassembled to fit in  a garden full of growing plants. 

However, her biggest fan may be her husband, Steve Brown. He likes to tell people when he met Leslie "It was love at first sight. Just like in the movies- everything else went dark and all I could see was Leslie."  He has competition for best fan now that 3 year old Corbin is on the art show circuit with mom and dad. Leslie adores that their son likes to show the other children how to gently touch the ceramic pieces. 

Meet Pat Welsh. The Grand Dame of Garden Writers. A personal hero. She recently taught a packed house at Roger's Gardens about orchid care. As dividing cymbidium orchids should be finished by the 1st of July, let me focus on that part of the demonstration.

With cymbidiums, forget everything you ever thought about orchids being dainty little things. If you can't pull the overcrowded plants apart

Take out the hatchet. Put their roots to the saw. Do what you must. Throw out anything soft or squishy.

Inland gardeners- Ms Welsh advises mixing in 1 part soil mix to 2 parts bark.

Remember- orchids are social animals. They don't want to be alone. Try to re-establish in too large a pot and they will sulk for a very long time. However, if you have quite a bit of one variety- fill a barrel and get ready for oohs and awes for a decade.

With my green notebook filled with advice, my car trunk filled with fresh bark and amendments - and my autographed copy of Pat Welsh's Southern California Organic Gardening on the front seat

I came home to pull the orchids out of their pots- though this was not their desire.

A bucket filled with bark, worm castings and water soaked until I got some cooperation. (Don't tell Gerry- there is one less finely pointed steak knife in the cutlery drawer).

Shriveled roots were sent away to the dump. The old disintegrated bark was hauled off to the compost heap.

And so the process repeated. Next year will be the reward for this work.

Right now, it is time to enjoy the roses.

I hope you enjoyed the quote at the top of the page. It took awhile to find something not cynical.  It embodies my American experience.

For whatever reason God blessed this girl who was born within eyesight of  LA City Hall with an abundant life. One filled with family, friends, interesting work and flowers. Lots of flowers. 


  1. Lydia this is making me miss all my many orchids I had in patio in Torrance. Probably had more than 50 potted and several in the ground.

    Used the potted ones all around an antique camel back trunk that was strewn with fine white meline (bridal veil material)and ribbons/bows and I filled it with the wedding shower gifts that were brought for the bride. Boy with those orchids around it, it was the oh and ah of all things Victorian that day!

    A friend that raises orchids is moving here into LW and she's going to give me a few soon. I can't wait cause I had to leave the old ones in Torrance as part of the sale of the house.

    Enjoy this today as I used to whack the heck out of my orchids, too with a big butcher knife! Sterizled first, of course.

    Judy in Seal Beach.

  2. Dear Judy- MUCH better to whack the orchids apart than an ex-anyone.

    Have fun with the new orchids. My orchids are jealous of your soft beach climate.

  3. So it's no longer whack-a-mole, it's whack-an-orchid!

  4. It's fantastic that you got to hear Pat Welsh in person! There's nothing like seeing a live demonstration by someone who really knows. Like watching a vet handle my cats ;-) Lovely to see you in your gorgeous garden.

  5. Lydia,

    I so enjoyed this blog. Not because I am interested in orchids but because your pictures were featured! Great photos of you! Girl, you look 20 something in them! Love your hair that way! Terrific!!

    XO Trisha

  6. Trisha- LOL- You nudged me to put more images of me up.


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