Naples Beach Hotel Orchid House
I have come to the conclusion that there are Floridians who love orchids and then there are Floridians who have full blown love affairs with orchids. A friend of mine from the real estate world (who has taken to naming her orchids) recommended that ‘for something different to write about’ I visit the Naples Beach Hotel and take the orchid house tour. It turns out that many years ago the owners of the hotel were inspired to cultivate orchids on-site after a trip to Hawaii. The hotel now grows and has maintained a substantial orchid collection since 1991.
Taking the tour wasn’t an immediate decision simply because I happen to be the third type of Floridian; the type who falls in love with orchids at the store, buys them and then watches all the pedals and leaves fall off. Orchids never bounce back at my house so I initially thought it best that I keep my distance from one of the largest collections of orchids in the area.
Eventually, curiosity got the best of me and on a random Tuesday morning I went to visit the orchids. After checking out the orchids in the lobby and common areas I hopped the hotel shuttle to the orchid house in the belly of the golf course. In the quiet, non-descript building there are about four thousand orchid plants in various stages growth. Some are in full blossom patiently waiting for the next hotel event. Some are mere babies doing time until they’re mature enough to produce blossoms. They’re all very beautiful.
The hotel hosts many weddings and special events so white orchids are a common request of guests. Both white and purple orchids pepper the greenhouse but there are some really unusual colors and exotic varieties to see, too. Vince, the orchid guide with the best job in the whole wide world, answered so many questions and even showed us a few of his favorite beauties. He even shared a few addresses of south Florida orchid growers, including a local grower, East Fork Orchids in Bonita Springs, Florida.
The tour really made me appreciate the work they put into cultivating orchids and inspired me to try to raise an orchid one more time in spite of my ugly past history with the plant. Vince made me promise to try growing an orchid again and I promised to send him an orchid obituary if it didn’t work out so well. Only time will tell how this adventure is going to go.
If you’re thinking of taking the orchid tour visit the hotel website at www.NaplesBeachHotel.com to learn more. Individual guest tours are currently on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. They also offer private group tours for up to 12 people, with the purchase of lunch. It’s a great way to get a group or club together for an interesting event.
Happy Trails and Greenhouses!
Special to Southwest Spotlight