Every Mothers Day weekend, a local orchid grower has an open house. Attending this event is like being let in on a wonderful secret. Fiori D'Amore Orchids is located in a neighborhood just up the hill from where I live. From the street, you'd never suspect that the house with the beautiful garden is home to a massive growing operation.
The family who run this business have such a passion for their plants, which are simply mind-blowing. Take a look at those clusters of white-and yellow flowers in the top photo. Each flower cluster is the size of my thigh.
The size of this operation is hard to convey. There rows and rows and rows and rows of thriving plants.
The full sized plants often come with full-sized prices, but for more modest buyers like myself, there are a dazzling array of well-labeled divisions.
Somehow I got chatting with the owners. The discussion meandered from the multi-year drought we have just emerged from, to beekeeping, and somehow we ended up talking about the surprising variety of tropical fruit trees that can be grown in Oakland, California. The next thing I knew, the proprietors were inviting me into the private areas of their garden, and showing me their personal treasures: papayas, coffee and chocolate plants, cherimoya and dragon fruit.
I certainly wasn't planning on it, but I came home with two baby cherimoyas (lovingly grown from seed) and a cutting of a dragon fruit. And we won't discuss the number of orchids that I bought. (We certainly won't discuss the fact that I went to another orchid sale the next day, and came home covered in tiny biting insects. Nope, we won't discuss any of that...)
If you're curious what other gardeners are discussing head over to Our Happy Acres, where the Monday Harvest blog party is hosted.