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   The one question that I am asked more than any other one is "How did you get started in orchids?" With this question in mind, I decided to write this fun article about that subject.

    How did I get hooked on orchids? Easy. I bought one -- just ONE!
My first encounter began in 1981 when I spotted a strange looking plant while browsing in a nursery. It was an orchid planted on a piece of cork bark. I took a closer look at it and then made the momentous mistake -- I bought it. The owner gave me its botanical name Oncidium jonesianum.
   I took my new possession home and placed my treasure near my living room window where I could keep a close eye-out for those first expectant flowers. It was not long before it started growing long stems which I learned were flower spikes. After two months these flower spikes produced the most beautiful butterfly-looking flowers I had ever seen.

   It was incredible that something growing on a piece of bark could produce such lovely flowers. I was ecstatic! I had to have another one. I immediately returned to the nursery to see what they had. I wanted BIG blooms, so the salesperson recommended that I purchase a Cattleya.

   I placed my new prize near the window with my wonderful Cattleya. I hovered over my new Cattleya like a proud mother waiting for her first born baby to speak its first word. But alas, my Cattleya just sat there looking sad. I watered it, nurtured it, even sang to it, but nothing did any good. I was about to give up on this rebellious orchid and chuck it into the trash, when one morning around Christmas, I noticed a flower sheath forming! Success!

   My patience was, at long last about to be rewarded. I returned to the loving, nurturing mother's mode and finally, in February, I was blessed with five of the largest white blooms I had ever seen. The size and fragrance were overwhelming!

   Back to the orchid store I went. I was two for two! I obviously knew what I was doing, so this time I bought quite a variety of orchids. Into the living room they went. Needless to say, I was hooked. Each time one would bloom I rushed out and bought another one.
   One year later, our living room looked like a jungle suitable for a Tarzan movie. My husband even started calling me Jane and made weird Tarzan noises every time he went into the living room.
   Orchids were everywhere! They were hanging on the walls, hanging in planters from the ceiling, sitting on tables, and even the floor!
   In a brief moment of sanity, I decided to move the plants upstairs to a large spare bedroom with a southern exposure.
   Out went the bed and dresser, in came benches, humidifiers, fans, and grow lights. And yes, back to the orchid store I went again. I now had lots of room for more plants in my new "plant room."
   I hate to admit it, but with my addiction it didn't take long before my "plant room" suddenly became too small.
   My wonderful husband surrendered and bought me a small greenhouse. Then another. And yet another! I even went into business selling them!
   Finally, in 1996, I suddenly come to my senses and reduced my collection to only one thousand of my most prized babies. I am still severely hooked, but I was slowly recovering my sanity -- or so I thought. Along comes my brother, who suggested that I share my knowledge of orchids with the world.
   The next thing I knew, my orchid collection had gone digital. With his help, I now have my own web site on the Internet dedicated to orchids.

   WARNING: Orchids are like potato chips; you can't just have one. By the way, a new nursery just opened up in town. Yes I had to visit, and yes, I bought just one more orchid.