South Coast Orchid Society

A Note to All Our Members and Friends

May, 2020

How difficult it is to be separated from our friends in the orchid community! And it's not just our orchid friends that we miss; SCOS members have all sorts of interests and connections. Our members grow absolutely everything. We belong to many different clubs. We are active on Facebook and other social media. We care deeply about the natural world and the future of our planet. We enjoy music, technology, cooking, literature, all the arts, all the sciences. We are active in our local communities and society at large. Most of these activities have come to a screeching halt.

But we still have our gardens and our orchids. The orchids are oblivious to our distress; they grow and bloom even when we are too worn down to give them the attention we think they need. They have turned out to be faithful friends who give us hope.

About 50 years ago, I learned to appreciate the month of May. Just now, almost no matter where you live in the United States, the weather is just right, and nature celebrates. The days are warm enough, with the right humidity and sunlight, to wake up all the dormant flowers. It was the same no matter where I lived: Seattle, Illinois, Ithaca, Brooklyn, Indianapolis, and now Long Beach. Roses everywhere, extravagant peonies in the Midwest, wildflowers, cherry blossoms, iris, and in our Southern California backyards, orchids! We doubted they would survive the dark, cold winter, but here they are! Even though the season is just starting, our flowers are joined by many different butterflies, birds returning from their winter homes, and all the other gifts of Spring.

I see buds in unexpected places! Last fall, in some raffle plants from Nenita Sorella, I ended up with a little Tolumnea. Nenita had grown it in a tiny plastic mesh "thumb pot", with no media. The leaves and roots were healthy, so in spite of the warnings that Tolumneas don't survive outdoors, I nestled the tiny pot into some live Spanish moss that is draped over a hanging Rodriguezia decora. This tiny plant didn't even lose a leave over the winter (30% shade, some water when the weather was too dry). When the weather warmed up, my benign neglect was rewarded with two nice spikes and some very pretty flowers. The Rodriguezia is putting out new growths as well — the promise of things to come!

What will the world look like, even a few weeks from now? Challenges lie ahead that will test our patience and our ingenuity. But our gardens will nurture us, even when we are down. Wasn't that the point of growing them all along?

— John McCoy