Monday, March 18, 2013

Heading for the finish line

We're more than halfway through this year's One Island One Book and for me, at least, it's been one of the most educational editions of the program. I learned a lot about orchids, from reading the book and from attending a talk at the Key West Garden Club.
The most important thing I learned, according to Garden Club board member Rosi Ware, is that orchids are "hardier than people think." We are blessed to live in a place with orchid-friendly conditions -- humidity and dappled sunlight, essentially -- so even the black thumbs among us (ahem) should feel free to give it a try.
The most important thing about growing orchids, Rosi said, was to make sure their roots were well drained -- not in soil, unless they are ground orchids. She also noted something else I never realized -- that the skinnier an orchid's leaves, the more it wants sunlight.
If you want to purchase an orchid -- and get information from an expert on staff -- Rosi recommends going to the MARC plant store at the old May Sands School (entrance is on Seminary Street). To learn more about orchids, come to the library at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to hear Jay Pfahl, president of the Key West Orchid Society. And to hear more about the Key West Garden Club at West Martello -- a remarkable institution in its own right -- come to the Library on Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. to hear from Historian Tom Hambright.
Still want to talk about the book (The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean)? You've got a final chance -- tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. at the Florida Keys Community College Library. The college is at 5901 College Road on Stock Island; the library is upstairs in Building A.
And remember, you can chime in any time on the readalong (below). See you at the library -- or in the garden!

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