The Orchid House

WELL...THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL, BUT INSIDE, THE GREENHOUSE IS DELIGHTFUL!
We challenge you to find any hotel in Western Kentucky, much less in Madisonville, that has its own Orchid House! Born of my passion for orchids, our little greenhouse is packed full of over 100 orchids, at least some of which will be in bloom at any time of the year. Some are quite unusual and not anything you could find in your local Kroger or Lowe's floral center. All of our guests are welcome to visit The Orchid House located on the grounds of Spring Lake Woods and see these facinating plants for themselves.

Jenny Gibson

My Orchid Saga

Before moving back home to join the family businesses, my collection of orchids exceeded 500 plants housed in a redwood conservatory of the grandest style I could afford. It all started with a gift of a common white Phalenopsis (commonly called a "Phal" or "Moth Orchid") that you would find about anywhere. I lived in a small apartment at the time and did my best to take care of my new treasure...but it just wouldn't re-bloom! So I scraped together enough money to buy another one, thinking surely the first plant was simply uncooperative. When the second plant didn't do any better, I admitted that perhaps the problem was with me. Thus, I embarked on what has now been a 15+ year-long journey to become an expert orchid grower. After reading countless books and magazines, annoying commercial growers from Chicago to Miami, attending every orchid show I could find and asking too many questions at the monthly orchid society meetings, I still can't say that I'm an expert, but my "Phals" now bloom like clockwork each winter. As my career advanced, so did my orchid collection in size: what started out as a healthy interest in the largest plant family on Earth, turned into pure obsession! I'm sure you Iris and Daylily fanatics out there can feel my pain.
When Lee and I married, we decided to buy a mini-farm in Southern Indiana and move out of the city. The only problem with the quaint spot in the country was no greenhouse! When we discoved soon thereafter that Emma was on her way, it pretty much cinched the deal in terms of the fate of my orchid collection. Oddly enough, however, that was okay...I had found other things that fulfilled me far more than any plant could. Now that doesn't mean that I was willing to get rid of them all, mind you. I did sell or give away many, many plants (probably the most went to my friend, the owner of Barbara's Florist in Louisville...by far the best place to buy orchids in our region), but there were some that were so unusual or special that I simply couldn't bear to part with them, basically taking the position, foolishly, that if I couldn't have them, neither would anyone else! Needless to say, many of my whittled-down collection of 200 orchids bit the dust during the 2-year time period between leaving their home in Louisville and finding a new, suitable one at Spring Lake Woods. Most that didn't just give up were seriously stressed and unhappy with the whole situation. It has taken another 2 years of careful oversight to restore my remaining collection to good health. In the Winter of 2010, my orchids finally forgave my mistreatment and rewarded my efforts with a blast of color.
I'm happy to share my peaceful corner of the world with anyone interested in these fascinating plants. If you wish, given a little advance notice I'll make arrangements to meet with you and provide a guided tour of the collection, make recommendations of Orchids that you could care for easily in your own home and even teach you how to care for and repot them. If you're an Orchid-maniac too..."Can we talk?"
To give you a taste of why Orchids can become such an obsession for so many, I've attached a slideshow to the right of some of my favorites that have graced the collection over the years. All pictures were taken by me (aided by the magic of digital photography) of my plants. While you can't grasp the scale here, some blooms are the size of a child's finger nail and others approach the size of an adult's hand. You may notice that some look strangely reminicient of an insect, like a butterfly or bee (which is not by accident), and others look just plain strange. In my eyes, they are all beautiful in their own way. Enjoy!