The Critters of RF Orchids
While I was in Miami for the IAS Show, I took a side trip to Homestead, Florida, to visit RF Orchids*. I was lucky enough to get a tour from “RF” himself, Robert Fuchs, a third-generation orchid man who grew up on the property and now runs it. In addition to running an amazing orchid nursery, he also has a cameo in Susan Orlean’s book, The Orchid Thief.
The orchids were fantastic. I haven’t seen that many happy Vandas outside of Thailand. I even bought a couple Bulbophyllum hybrids that were small enough to be carried home easily.
But what really stood out at RF Orchids was all the stuff that wasn’t orchids. There was life everywhere. Birds in huge cages were scattered throughout the property. (The white one even had a conversation with me, if you count repeating things as conversation, which I do.) Dragonflies darted about and a cat dozed on a bench. In back was a natural pool that contained turtles, fish, and an alligator named Wilma. I even saw a basilisk, also known as a “Jesus Lizard” because it runs on water.
Besides the critters, the nursery also had some amazing non-orchid plants. Huge Anthurium with leaves the size of a person, bromeliads and tillandsia growing on trees like they belong. And a crazy palm tree with fronds that traveled 360-degrees around the base. Very cool.
And, oh yeah, there were orchids, too.
* Thanks to Zach for the tip!