May 2021: Naples Botanical Gardens: Part 7

I walked in the Garden of Eden and found the serpent. Oh yes, I did. We all know the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent and the ruin he created. Today’s walk is through the orchid garden at the Naples Botanical Gardens. A place that I could have spent more time and money in if Richard had not been edging out. Added to that to buy plants and take them back to the hotel to care for may have been a bit too much.

A little bit about my love for orchids. Orchids have been a hobby in my family for years. My father had a huge shade house full of orchids, of which the more exotic ones were probably purchased by me. I loved to find the different looking orchids. This is my happy place, that keeps me close to my father. When Richard suddenly got sick my office sent me the most beautiful orchid that was in full bloom. It has lasted from February until this past weekend. Slowly the blooms are starting to die. But added to that a whole bunch of my orchids started to bloom and I felt like my dad was just wrapping his arms around me and hugging silently in his way.

Not only did my dad, grow orchids, but his older brother had a huge shade house and my favorite orchids to find there were the slipper orchids, of which you will see a few in the bottom. I do not have one but I am on the look out. My cousin has fantastic green fingers as well.

In addition, another of his brothers and his sister pottered around with their orchids as well. My mom also had a cousin that lived near to me in my first home and grew the most beautiful Cymbidium orchids. He provided my orchids for my wedding bouquet many years ago.

Recently I have begun to develop my own collection of orchids. We live on a small piece of land so there will be no big shade house, but I love seeing their beauty in my home.

The first three orchids remind me of Hippie orchids and I know that I have to buy at least one of them in the future. Apparently they are called Miltonia orchids and are often referred to as “pansy” orchids. They require moderate temperatures and bright indirect sunlight

The orchid below is called a Grammatophyllum orchid. These orchids like early morning sunlight and grow well in moderate light intensity. This species is normally yellow and brown.

Oncidium Orchids, or otherwise known as the “Dancing Lady” was another one of my favorite orchids in my dad’s shade house. Oncidium orchids bloom in the fall and usually prefer a cooler environment, although they do like moisture and humidity. I think that when I get one I will be keeping it inside the house. That is about the only place that is cool-ish.

The orchid below appears to be an Encyclia orchid also known as a “cockleshell” orchid. They have an octopus like shape and will bloom for several consecutive months.

I will confess I could be wrong here but I believe this is an Dendrobium orchid and one of about 1800 species. The tend to prefer cooler temperatures and less humidity.

I believe that this may also be part of the Encyclia orchid family.

A variety of Vanda Orchids to choose from. I have an orange, a brown and a yellow Vanda in my collection. Vanda orchids are well known for their fragrance. They require lots of light and humidity but my tag said no direct sunlight. I have just hung them on the fence in the shade. Hopefully they will grow well.

And I mentioned that while in the Garden of Eden, or the orchid house, I found myself face to face with the serpent. Yes, there I was photographing the flower obliviously, when I happened to look down. You have to know that snakes are not on my favorite list of things to run into. But here was the serpent and I did not hesitate to photograph him. I do believe that this snake is known as a Black Racer. And while the web tells me that they are non venomous, a snake is a snake and really not my friend.

Once again, I believe that this may also be part of the Encyclia orchid family.

I have read that the Black Racer can get quite large and I am glad that this was just a wee little snake, or I might have been running in the opposite direction. Like my father, I do not like snakes. Only problem is that my mother is not around to get rid of them like she did for my dad. I hear you laughing, but it really was no laughing matter, if my dad spotted a snake, the first person he called on was my mother. The poor snake did not stand a chance.

Cypripedium Parviflorum or the commonly known yellow slipper orchid, is what I think this is. What I love about this orchid is that I can clearly see a face in the body of the orchid. I do see faces in all sorts of things and apparently that is called Pareidolia. According to Wikipedia “Pareidolia is the tendency for perception to impose a meaningful interpretation on a nebulous visual stimulus. Common examples are perceived images of animals, faces, or objects in cloud formations. ” I am amazed at how many faces I see in things.

I believe the orchid below is called a Cypripedioideae orchid and it is definitely part of the Slipper Orchid family

The Phalaenopsis orchid is the most common in South Florida, however, there are so many different verities of colors and patterns that each one is uniquely beautiful. Currently I have about 15 Phalaenopsis orchids. As a rule Phalaenopsis orchids love defused lighting and moderate humidity. I have kept all of mine inside the patio in the shade. “Phallies” typically flower all year round.

Orchid growing is another outdoor hobby which I have come to realize that this is not something I can really ask Richard to help me with, given that he really should not be in the sun. So last weekend I set up my table on the grass and repotted my 25 orchids. That gave me a healthy respect for horticulturist like my cousin who has won many gold awards at the Chelsea Garden show, or someone like my dad or my uncle who is just a hobbyist. There is a lot of work to keeping the orchids healthy.

As we spend time in the sun I just want to remind you that the sun in Florida is super strong. Make sure to put on your sunscreen. Wear sunglasses and use a hat to protect your face. If you have any form of skin cancer or like Richard, melanoma, then make sure you are wearing UV protective clothing when you are out in the sun. Australia, Florida, California are listed as the top 3 places for melanoma. I am going to add South Africa to that listed because where we grew up the climate is exactly the same. Make sure that you are checking your body for moles that look different., or a mole that may worry you. Melanoma, we are told can spill over and travel from a mole site to another organ and go dormant for years. In Richard’s case it was 34 years before the melanoma made itself evident again. Take Care of yourselves. Prevention is better than trying to cure Stage 4 cancer.

This is my last post for the Naples Botanical Gardens. I hope you enjoyed them. The adventure is still not over. Look out for the post on Monday on the Cape Romano Dome house. I loved seeing this unique house in the middle of nowhere. Check it out on Monday.

Thank you for joining me. You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.