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cattleya"THE AMERICAN ORCHID SOCIETY: Once or Twice are NOT Enough!"

How many times have you experienced, “I’ve been there, done that, don’t need to go back”? I have these thoughts all the time after visiting different places. This past week I was reminded how “off” this is.

One of the first things Sam and I did, when we moved here in December, was join the AOS, figuring we would be likely to go back there a few times during the year to take photographs. “After all, we’re in Florida now and my photo/drawing art needs to reflect that. What better images than orchids!”

I stopped there recently, for my third visit, and after a walk in the garden, I realized how much more was here. This, for me, is certainly a place of peace where I can go to regain my balance and enrich myself. I love making discoveries, especially when my point-and-shoot camera is with me to help define them. The last time I was there, by looking up toward the sky, I excitedly discovered a banana tree. Yesterday I found wonderful flowers high in the trees. The huge staghorn fern, “the largest variety that there is”, on one of the giant trees, reminded me that I wanted to come back and photograph it in the morning light.

Peach-colored Angels Trumpets were fading and bright yellow ones called out from across the way. The anthurium plant I had been intrigued with and had photographed on our first visit, now has pods that were twisted and gnarled, and wonderful to look at. I actually wanted to play with them. (When I taught art many years ago, my students labeled me “Mrs. Texture.”)

I was fortunate enough to happen on Patrick, on this trip. He’s the one responsible for all the garden’s plantings. As he described some of the plants and their projected growth and overhangs, I could imagine walking in a veritable “Rain Forest” in a few years. How exciting! Maybe I can take Costa Rica off my wish list. According to Patrick the best times to visit are from Sept./Oct. to mid December and from March to May 15th, so hurry on over. His recommendation, for seeing variety, are once-a-month visits.

And the orchids, where are they? --in a wonderful greenhouse, fronted by a large fountain, with changing arrangements and a wonderful display of flowers on a rocky waterfall inside. Yesterday I saw charming, delicate lilac lavender and white orchids, among others. Colors, shapes and textures are varied and lush.

For those interested in the technical aspect of plants, information abounds. According to the web site, www.orchidweb.org, the AOS is #1 source of orchid information in the world. How fortunate we are to have it almost in our back yard. The Center is located at 16700 AOS Lane, Delray Beach - off of Jog Road, just south of Linton, right turn at Morikami Pkwy. The telephone number is 561-404-2020. Hours are Tues.-Sun. 10 AM to 4 PM.

Single Admission in $8.00, with $1.00 off coupons often running in weekend newspapers. Children under 12 are free. Admission to the gift shop, and the ongoing exhibits in the lobby, is also free. If you agree with me, that “once is not enough”, single membership for the year is $40 and family is $50. This includes a source directory; the book, YOUR FIRST ORCHID; a beautiful monthly magazine; and, of course, unlimited visits and boundless opportunities for wonderful photos!

Article written by Sheila Finkelstein for SAN MARCO MATTERS - San Marco Community newsletter, April 2003

UPDATE - To my great disappointment, in 2012 the American Orchid Society corporate offices and gardens moved to Fairchild Gardens in Miami, FL - SF

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©2001-2013 Nature's Playground - All rights reserved to all images and writings on this site. Written permission is required for duplication in any form. E-mail Sheila - Boynton Beach, Fl 561-752-8339.