Welcome, Sister

“Welcome, Sister”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


I was finally able to spend several hours out in the garden Sunday which was especially nice since it was a lovely spring day.  A little warm, but that was okay.  A late season cold front has come through, and a freeze warning is in effect for tonight, but I don’t think we will get down to freezing though it will probably be in the mid thirties.  It has been about two months since we have had temperatures this cold.  Weird year, huh?




The Nun’s Orchid (Phaius tankervilliae) has started blooming.  This is the only orchid I grow, and it is a terrestrial one.  I have had it about four years now, and it is one of those plants that I eagerly await its flowers.   This is an easy orchid to care for.  It is in a container that I leave out just about year round, protecting only when hard freezes are predicted.  It receives morning sun, average moisture, and an occasionally shot of fertilizer, and it rewards that minimal care with stalks of lovely, fragrant flowers.




Its common name comes from the shape of the flower; it looks like the headdress that some order of nuns (or sisters) used to wear.  The combination of mauve, brown, and white plus the four foot tall stalk of flowers makes this a truly stunning spring time show.  I am so glad that this year it is blooming in time for Easter.


  1. cherry said,

    April 6, 2009 at 5:09 am

    OHHHHHHHH so pretty I saw these at a show back in January and forgot to buy it on the way out the door I was so upset .. now I’m jealous and upset ..lol
    I have to find one !!!
    Thanks for sharing.
    hugs, Cherry

    • Jan said,

      April 8, 2009 at 4:27 pm

      Cherry, I passed them up the first time I saw them, too. The next year, I made sure to get one. I hope you find one this year.

      Janet, doesn’t it look like Sister Betril’s wimple, from that old TV show? I thought of that, too.

      Chandramouli, the fragrance is very delicate and sweet. I wish you could smell it, too.

      Nancy, this is just a stunning flower. You don’t often see a flower with brown, and when the mauve is added in, wow!

      Phillip, they are a real easy to grow plant, and the flowers last a long time.

      April, I never knew they came in white. I have only seen the colored version I have. I bet it is pretty.

      Racquel, cute habit allusion.

      Sherry, it really is an unusual color combo. I know what you mean about the weather. Kind of frustrating.

  2. janet said,

    April 6, 2009 at 5:13 am

    How nice to have an orchid that you can have outside year round. It is certainly a pretty one. It does look like the Flying Nun’s hat.

  3. April 6, 2009 at 6:29 am

    One of a kind and what beauty! It’s beauty suggests its fragrance…. If only I could smell it [sigh]

  4. nancybond said,

    April 6, 2009 at 8:43 am

    How beautiful! Even more so because it is terrestrial. The colour combination is like candy!

  5. Phillip said,

    April 6, 2009 at 9:23 am

    I recently read an article about the Nun’s orchid and now I want one.

  6. April said,

    April 6, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Your nun’s orchid is beautiful! Mine is solid white. I love the colors of this one. I completely understand your weather dilmena. Saturday it felt great here! Sunday was hot and extremely humid, and then today I had to wear a jacket!

  7. Racquel said,

    April 6, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    She’s a beautiful color & I love her habit. 😉

  8. Sherry said,

    April 6, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Hi Jan,

    We are having much cooler weather here today also, even getting some sleet. I hate it when it turns colder after being so warm.

    I love the look of these orchids, they’re so unusual and that color combination is gorgeous.

  9. Mary Beth said,

    April 6, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Are all of those blooms on one potted orchid? WOW!

    • Jan said,

      April 8, 2009 at 4:32 pm

      Yes, Mary Beth, this year one plant put out three stalks. Last year there were five stalks of blooms, and it was spectacular.

      Melanthia, we could use a little rain since everything is dry. I have had to water just about everything.

  10. Melanthia said,

    April 6, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    What lovely blooms. We’re having warm weather, but rain is expected to roll in by Thursday. Must get all the plants in so they’ll get a good soak.

  11. MaX Fulcher said,

    April 7, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Here in Australia we call it the Swamp Orchid. Don’t think it’s possible to attach a pic here but there is a shot at maxfulcher.con in the Orchid Landscapes that you might find interesting. It’s also features in a book, The Enchanted Orchid

    • Jan said,

      April 8, 2009 at 4:44 pm

      Max, I have heard it called that, too. I checked out the website and that is a lovely print of this orchid. Thanks for sharing.

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