Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Redland Orchid Festival: Origins

The last big orchid event of the year has come and gone and here I am mentioning it now: The Redland International Orchid Festival. Well, exactly, because now it's all over I have the time. But it's also hard to decide: What is a blog? Is it basically just to promote your stuff like a tupperware party? It seems tacky to write up events In Which We Have a Commercial and Monetary Interest. (So Republican!) On the other hand there is the Need To Put Food On the Table. (Another whiny Dem!)

Well, Redland is the Big One - biggest orchid happening in the US! And the Motes's should make something of it because it was Dr. Motes who invented it. And it was an invention. A new mind set.

The idea of putting on an orchid show in the middle of May, outdoors, in South Florida, was considered nuts. Too hot. The season is over and everyone who could (i e the sort of people who had money to buy orchids!) was out of here. As though Miami Dade was the backyard of Buckingham Palace and after the races at Ascot, all the toffs motored up to Scotland for the grouse shooting. Or colonial India when the Brits made for the hill country, leaving the peasants sweating in the plains. Well, that does still happen. Apparently you can't swing a cat in the hills of North Carolina in the summer without hitting a wussy South Floridian.
Anyway, the reaction to Dr. Motes' proposal was: No-one wants to be here in May and those who are, won't come (too hot) and You're nuts.

Dr. Motes' argument was: Precisely because there was nothing on- what a great time to have something on! And more importantly, it would give orchid lovers the chance to see and buy orchids blooming at that time of year- All the orchid shows were clustered in the cool season - October through March.
And surely orchid lovers were used to working up a bit of sweat, looking after...their orchids!
And talking of sweat - who needs big exhibits? Bring in your plants for sale, lay them out on the tables, someone opens the gates and stand back!
And that, my children, is what happened.

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