This past month we had a staff retreat at the home where we traditionally have our Christmas luncheon. Every year I take my camera with me, except this year. I decided I was not going to. There are only so many things you can take in the garden. Mmm, maybe not my best decision. Out in the garden was an enormous amount of orchids and all I had was my cellphone
Orchids remind me of my dad. My father used to grow orchids. He initially started out with this really small orchid house. Perhaps 100 orchids, maybe a few more. One day we came home to visit and my father was in the process of building a bigger and better hot house for his orchids which I might add took up half the garden.
My dad died in 1995 but the memories are still so vivid. Dad loved that hot house. Each day he would go outside and make sure that the sprinklers were working. Each orchid had to get it’s nutrients. He would spend hours in the hothouse, pottering around. He would split up the orchids, trim the roots, make sure the potting mix was the best he could make up. He tended his plants with love and care.
My son loved to go into Grampa’s flower house as a toddler. Grampa on the other hand, watched him like a hawk. Cameron had a habit of beheading flowers.
I spent a lot of time trying to find different orchids for my dad. I specialized in the unusual. In his orchid house he had Dendrobium orchids, Cattleya orchids, Dancing ladies orchids, Paphiopedlium “Slipper” orchids, Encyclia Orchids, Oncidium orchids, Phalaenopsis orchids, Vanda orchids and some whose names I do not even remember.
I remember one year an orchid flowered through the bottom of the hanging basket. It produced these large plastic looking flowers. The flowers were stunning. My dad brought the plant into the house to display and we all looked at it with admiration. And then we went to sleep and the next morning we thought we were going to die. The whole house stank something awful and the plant was quickly removed outside again.
Cymbidium orchids were the trickiest and the hardest for him to grow. Living on the coast we had a much warmer climate. Cymbidium orchids need a cold snap to produce flowers .
I remember the 2nd last week of his life. He was still able to get up and move around. I was spending the week with him knowing it was going to be my last week. Each morning dad and I would make our way through to the orchid house and he would take care of his flowers. I asked a lot of questions in that week telling him he was going to have to teach me more about his hobby, yet knowing full well, that time was so short. By the time my dad died the following week, he had managed to accumulate over 4000 orchids.
My mom’s green finger was like mine – we tend to replace rather than grow. Orchids hold a special place in my heart. When I see them I see my dad, and I see his brother Robert who was another orchid hobbyist.
I hope you enjoy the beauty of nature’s creations.
Thank you for joining me for this month’s 10 on 10. This is a circle blog. Please take time to visit my good friend Ceri of Ceri Herd Photography and see what she has for you this month. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their pages.