Saturday, October 20, at 1 pm in the Orting Library located at 202 Washington Avenue South Orting, WA 98360 a free “Growing Orchids” class will take place. The class is limited to the first 20 people that sign up online at: http://www.piercecountylibrary.org/calendar. The class is an introductory class that lasts an hour and a half. All participants will be able to obtain a free orchid that they will plant themselves. Jeff Parham, president of the Tacoma Orchid Society, will be teaching the class. He has been growing orchids since 1990, and is also a biology teacher at the Fife Alternative High School which also incorporates his orchid knowledge. Jeff explained a little bit about the class, “I will talk for an hour and then participants will be able to pot a plant. I will introduce the topic of orchids and diversity of orchids. I will also discuss their propagation, ecology, and how to grow them.”
Jeff has taught a similar class to students when he was prepping to become a high school teacher and said that the students loved it. Jeff commented: “Orchids are pretty fascinating and colorful. My mom’s favorite orchid smells like chocolate and is called “sherry baby”. That orchid is pretty common and can be found at the local nurseries, Lowe’s, and Fred Meyers. My favorite orchid is the “lady slipper” and the orchid scientific name is paphiopedilum. It’s a pretty fascinating hobby and there are different aspects to their culture, about 17,500 different species.”
When asked what he is most looking forward to with the class, Jeff replied, “I think it’s a lot of fun to share my knowledge about orchids and that it’s about knowing other people as well and asking really interesting questions. I get to share one of my passions with people and tell them what I know about growing them.” Jeff shared what to bring and expect for the class: “Be prepared to get your hands dirty since we’re planting orchids. Bring pen and paper as people like to write down tips for growing plants. Bring questions.”
Jeff commented on who he recommends attend this class, “People interested in gardening, orchids, and people of all ages. There are kids and members that are into their aged into their 90s. There’s one member of the Tacoma Orchid Society who is 94 years old and still has his first orchid he got when he was 19 years old…and it’s still alive. We have some pretty experienced growers and really fascinating people to be around.”
For more information about the event, please visit: http://www.piercecountylibrary.org/calendar. “I think that people that who grow orchids actually live longer, they seem to be happier and they have a sense of wonder. I’ve noticed that a lot of the most fascinating people in the world grow orchids. Orchids calm me down when I am stressed and make me a lot happier,” Jeff concluded.
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com