This past week we were walking into the Naples Botanical Garden, past the Orchid Garden, when a work truck filled with orchids grabbed my attention. I asked if they were taking orchids out of the garden or bringing new ones in – they said they were taking them out but would be bring new ones in soon. As they drove away I raised my camera and took some shots – thinking that this is a story. Jim chuckled about my taking this photo and I asked him when he had last seen a truck going down a sidewalk filled with orchids. He understood.
The orchid garden is outdoors, in a protected area enclosed by three single-story buildings. The Garden has a collection of over 1,600 species and hybrid orchids that are displayed depending on blooming season but also researched for conservation purposes. There are more orchid species (28,000) than any other flowering plant and there are species found from the artic tundra to the hot and arid deserts of the Arabian Peninsula – a temperature span from -4 F (-20 C) to 100 F (38 C). The Garden is invested in studying them because they are very are extremely susceptible to habitat changes and loss, an increasing concern with climate warming. That explains why people who live in cooler climates have to work hard to create inside environments to grow the tropical species while I have about 10 different ones that bloom outside on trees (with very little care) around my home. The only rule I have to follow is to make sure they don’t get too much sun.
Some of the orchids have been attached to trees so the orchid roots attach to and grow on the trunk, taking in moisture and nutrients when it rains while other orchids are growing in pots and wooden hanging baskets. All are strategically placed, like in the photo above at the entrance to the orchid garden. I think there are around seven different colors but all quite common. They make a splash when first seen and make a great backdrop for a quick selfie, but people don’t stop long to admire them blocking others from entering. Those attached to the trees aren’t blooming continuously, but because so many are in movable pots, there are orchids continuously blooming. The orchids in the trees around my home are either fall or winter/early spring blooming when I am here to enjoy them.
As visitors move into the garden they can find orchids to delight any taste, from very small (not much bigger than a finger nail) to big ones, and in multiple colors. Here is a sampling from a recent visits.
I have another orchid post brewing on lady slippers (or is it lady’s slipper, or ladies slippers???) Anyway, stay tuned.