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The Storm

This is a discussion on The Storm within the The Outback Terrace Bar forums, part of the Land Plants category; So Darwin and I were at a certain fabulous orchid nursery near Myakka State Park ...

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  1. #1
    Tmai's Avatar
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    Default The Storm

    So Darwin and I were at a certain fabulous orchid nursery near Myakka State Park where we were camping. Just browsing, smelling, smiling, selecting, and other such comforting things. The sky was blue and the heat was just setting in. We had just left Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and our orchid antennae were humming. Thunder rumbled softly in the distance - a welcome sound (we thought) in parched Florida. Shortly after we arrived at orchid heaven we had selected a few additions to our orchid family and were perusing the phrags. No easy task for sure; there were many begging ME! ME! TAKE ME!
    Almost imperceptibly the thunder grew louder, then a crack of lightning flashed too close. We made a quick phrag choice (jerked one off the bench and ran), and headed for the checkout shack. Considering the greenhouses are about 1 mile x 1 mile large with concrete floors, running may not have been the best option. But, in a room with no walls and full of metal tables, in a high wind lightning storm one does what fear decides.
    So we dash to safety clutching our phrag (don't know the name yet) and hole up in an, ummm, about 4 x 4 foot room with electronic equipment, metal fixtures, breakables, no walls on about half the enclosure, a woman whose husband is stranded in another greenhouse, and one VERY scared cat. Dash to safety, yeah...
    The lightning strikes very close several times and the winds howl near 50 mph, blowing over everything not tied down or crammed together (crammed together read: me, my husband, and the woman - but she smelled nice). It happened so fast the orchid folks could not even drop the wind cloths and the showhouse orchids were destroyed. We could only huddle and pray. Then the hail began. It sounded like gunshot at first then softened to cannon fire. It's 90 degrees here and suddenly we were freezing. After one particulary close lighning bolt, the phone, which had bells the size of fire alarms mounted on the wall so to be heard by greenhouse workers, began to ring. Unfortunalty, Darwin's head was in close proximity (inches) to the bells and he almost marked his laundry. Thank goodness he didn't because we'd just bought a new car and would have hated to christen it with 'marked laundry'.
    Soon the storm let up to a downpour and the orchid lady trotted off to rescue the stranded husband. The sweet man had been trapped in the show orchid house and had been busy rescuing and moving the shattered orchids further into the house. He had previously considerately moved their vehicle near the checkout shack so his wife would not have to trek so far to the car. Shortly after his arrival at the checkout shack, they thanked the orchid lady, took their orchid and dashed through the maelstrom to the car. Surprisingly, he took off with the umbrella and left mamma and the orchid to fend for themselves in the sheets of rain. Guess he thought the orchid need watering. Had that been me, he would have received an umbrella up the behind and opened for good measure. She probably reprimanded him but we couldn't hear the screams for the howling wind. Or maybe that was her.
    Ah, but the story does not end there. After the weather calmed to a low roar, and the cat and I had crawled out of the box under the table, I commented that there was one orchid I had failed to collect in our mad dash to the now wrecked checkout shack. The orchid lady, knowing we were from out of town, inquired as to our wishes and then dashed off through the hurricane to find the needed purchase. She returned with three plants from which to choose: all fine specimens of Blc Hawiian Lightning 'Fiesta' (is that appropriate or what). Had I to do it over again I would have bought all three; her kindness and dedication to customer service was beyound the call of duty, and her only complaint was that her hood had filled with water and it dumped down her back when she pulled it up to cover her head. Truely, it was an orchid lover's actions. And the whole time she was worried about our safety while her beautiful orchids were being pummeled without mercy.
    Aside from being terrified of lighning storms (ears covered, eyes shut, alcohol if available) my only regret is that we had so little time to browse the huge, well tended and full greenhouses, and my puny purchase of 3 orchids did not do justice to the wonder of the gardens nor the quality of the service. Not to mention the growing wish list that could have been mostly fulfilled had we the time!
    Shocked and shaken from the storm, but comforted by the new 'chids, we doddered down the road to our campground home. Less than 10 miles from orchid haven not a drop of rain had graced the ground. Wow.

  2. #2
    Molly Taco's Avatar
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    I told you it wasn't safe to go there alone, TEEHEE !!!
    Cin

  3. #3
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    Wow, Tami, that is intense! Glad you and Darwin were safe.

    Cheers,
    BD

  4. #4
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    Yes, thanks, we were safe. So many orchids were harmed by mother nature tho we wanted to help clean up.
    Yah, Cin, ya choulda bean deah. Taak about raze de roof!

  5. #5
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    Isn't wonderful to have such a pleasant little adventure? ...............LOL Sounds like it was a trip Tami! Glad no one was hurt!

  6. #6
    Mehera's Avatar
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    Wow Tami. Risking life and limb for your collection--now that's dedication (or something). Will you PM me the name of orchid heaven? if I get to go back to Sarasota, I would love to visit.

  7. #7
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    ACK! I'm gone for only a day, and we have hail?! What grower did you visit?

    -Pat

  8. #8
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    I think you should go back and help that orchid lady clean up - by buying a few more 'chids....

  9. #9
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    Glad you all came through it okay - and that the car escaped being christened.

    Maybe we should send Pat off to check all is right in the hailed upon orchid haven

  10. #10
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    Sounds like all hail broke loose , glad you are safe .. I would also like to know what grower it is . Gin

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