By Greg Presson, Executive Vice President, Distribution Center
Greg Presson, executive vice president, distribution center, has been an avid orchid gardener for many years. Knowing that many people have turned to new hobbies as a form of self-care during the pandemic, we would like to share some insight from our resident orchid expert on how he went from novice to expert. Greg’s collection of showstopping flowers can bring a smile to anyone’s face and his story of overcoming obstacles until you get to your breakthrough inspires us all.
Some people call it orchid fever, others call it orchidelirium, which is an obsession with orchids. Either is correct when talking about orchids enthusiasts. I was bit by the bug in the early 2000s—at that time I had no idea that this interest would become such a large part of my life. I started collecting orchids from grocery stores, mostly phalaenopsis orchids or an occasional cymbidium. Eventually I started visiting orchid growers around Florida whenever I had the time and extra money—the addiction was created!
I started buying more and more orchids, but no one told me that all these orchids have special growing conditions. Some orchids need a drink of water once a week plus full sun, other orchids need to be misted twice or three times a week with partial sun, and others need to be watered every day with shade, or even a combination of all of these things! Unintentionally, I was killing all the orchids that I just paid good money for, without knowing how to properly care for each unique variety.
I began to learn and read about all the different species, researching how and where these orchids grow in their natural environment and how to adapt them to the Florida climate (no easy task for some species!). An incredible local orchid grower named Bill Thoms told me to focus on POO (the power of observation)! My world changed and I became a successful orchid grower. Knowledge was the key and it paid off for me as I stopped putting dead orchids in the garbage can and started blooming some exotic species.
I spend a large portion of my time in my greenhouse taking care of all these orchids and making sure I stay ahead of any insect or fungus issues. Plus, I water the orchids almost daily with different fertilizers or potions as well as pull weeds, repot plants into new baskets, and generally clear up the space. I'm starting to work on breeding different orchid species and I’m hoping I'll be able to name my first orchid hybrid in the year 2022.
Now almost 20 years later, my collection of different orchids varies from bulbophyllums to vandas and everything in between. Little did I know back when I started this hobby, how it would help keep me grounded, even during unprecedented times like these. Here are a few photos of my favorites.
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