Where had all the orchids gone?


With a compound name like Pondok Anggrek (Orchid House, or rather ‘hut’ but that’s a quibble) any visitor to our place would expect to see some of these lovely flowers. It was the name we decided on after all, we didn’t inherit it. In the early days we purchased orchids at every opportunity, and for a while they were as lovely as we hoped they might be. But something went terribly wrong and for the past few months, maybe all year if truth be told, there has not been a flower to be seen.

What we should have done earlier was call in orchid whisperer Ketut Alit. It wasn’t as if we didn’t know him. We had been to his place and bought orchids from him several times. And we had caught up with him at the annual Ubud orchid show. The crunch came when we attended a meeting of fellow orchid lovers, listened to the sage advice, looked at each other and said in unison: ‘time to call in Ketut’.

And so we did. He arrived on Sunday morning two weeks ago. The rain had eased a little and he immediately set to work. A walk around the garden, ruthlessly pulling down plants without hope, dividing those that had some. Positioned to better spots, tied high up on some trees, lower down on others. Cutting, trimming, up the ladder and down again. The 12 new plants he had brought were unpacked and their positioning carefully considered for their needs and the shape they would give the garden. A master at work and a wonder to behold. All this took no longer than 90 minutes and now our place was beginning to live up to its name.

Ketut came back again last Sunday. He will come every week until he is happy that all is well, then reduce the number of his visits. Just 30 minutes this time, enough to fertilise and trim, and position four new plants. The rain had returned but Ketut worked though it. He needed to head off to another client nearby. There are quite a few of us in town who depend on Ketut’s magic.

It took us a while, but now we needn’t make excuses for our misleading house name, now truly ‘Pondok Anggrek’. Thanks to our orchid whisperer Ketut.





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