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.
I have been working on a post on orchids and stopped at this photo taken in February to study it once again. Not because of the brilliant composition or any other photographic skill. I always stop when I reach this one in my files because of the beautiful color and form. I think it will be in a very narrow category with the Jade plant (another post is coming on that one soon).
And of course it fits into Jude’s theme of “green” for her Life in Color challenge very nicely, I think.
I lived in the north long enough to know that as March nears, nerves begin to get prickly and souls are yearning for signs of spring. It could be guilt that I am in a sub-tropical local with flowers everywhere, but more likely just compassion that motivated me to search for just the perfect yellows for all of you who are currently color deprived in your environments.
This is my last post for Becky’s Square Perspective challenge and I’m a little late but it is still July 31 in the Eastern Time Zone of the U.S., so I can still post my most intriguing exploration of perspective. And think about what I learned through my camera.
The above square is a photo of the flower of a hens & chicks plant. I have some growing along the sidewalk in a really dry area leading to the front door. I’m not happy when they bloom because I’ve never found the flowers attractive.
I bought this single “hen” at the garden center in the spring but realized when I got home that I already had some of these with reddish leaves. I set it down in the garden thinking I would get to it later, and much later (like weeks later) I found it on the ground still not planted. My compassion for all things living compelled me to dig a hole and stuff it in. There. End of guilt.
To my surprise it bloomed just a few weeks later. No spreading, no chicks, and no attention from me. Just this one little plant with a big ugly bloom coming out of it. And I heard it begging me to take its picture as I was recording what was blooming in my late July garden. It had been a while since I worked at this type of macro photography so I decided to take a stab at using my camera to get a closer look. My aging body doesn’t do well getting down low to peer at little things close to the ground.
What a surprise when I edited photos to find how beautiful the small flowers are. There has to be a lesson here, don’t you think. If I hadn’t gotten close and intimate with this flower I didn’t like, didn’t see any beauty in, didn’t even respect or appreciate it enough to give it a proper planting – if I hadn’t taken the time to care and really look at it I wouldn’t have ever known how beautifully unique it is.