From Al’s desk, Dec 31st 2008:
I thought of calling this essay, “Welcome to My Nightmare” but that’s a cliche, and not really true. I love my greenhouse. If it belonged to somebody else and I could come visit whenever I wanted without any “parental” obligations, that would be perfect. Greenhouse as grandchild. But, alas, it is mine. All mine. And this year the greenhouse has been a particularly difficult…child… I also considered “Be Careful What You Wish For” as a title. And even though I DO say this to every visitor who tells me they want a greenhouse just like mine, it really wasn’t the best title either.
This “About Us” page has been evolving since the beginning of time and I update and rewrite it every few years as things change. When I started my website in 1996 the Internet was a new place to do business. In fact, at that point, it may really have been just a “series of tubes”. A lot has changed. I also considered the title “A Short Cautionary Tale” not ironically in reference to it’s 7 page length, but to allow me to point out that it is mostly photos of my orchid addiction’s growth over the intervening years. So whatever I decide to call it, lets get started….
I have been an orchid addict all my life…, uum, I mean… I have been in business since 1996.
It all started innocently enough. When I was about 13 years old, way back in 1973 my aunt who was visiting from Hawaii brought me an orchid plant which I promptly killed. Had I had any sense the story would have ended there. But I didn’t and it doesn’t.
By the late 1980s I had amassed several thousand plants before I realized I was in deep trouble. There was no place to sit or sleep in my home. To care for the collection was costing me a fortune in time and money. All of my friends had drifted away. I slept little. And worse, I always had these little orchid bark splinters in my hands from repotting. It had all become too much. I decided I needed to simplify my life and so I sold or gave away all but about 12 favorite plants which I pretended were regular house plants rather than orchids least I loose my self control. The “O” word was not allowed and people who had known me during the 80s knew not to mention it. Then around 1995 a new friend who recognized the orchids as such gave me a new one as a gift and all hope was lost. I started collecting them again at a furious rate.