Admire orchids

This is the golden age for potted orchids such as the Paphiopedilum. We all used to think of these as hothouse prizes, but one of the benefits of central heating is that they can quite easily be grown on a north-facing kitchen windowsill. Pour rainwater weekly through the open compost, and stand the pot on a bed of grit kept moist, although never wet. The flowers command attention, emanating an alluring, foreign beauty, and occur about now, for a fortnight or more, making an unbeatable centrepiece for the breakfast table.

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