We’ve been growing orchids since 1973, having been given a cattleya by a grower at the public greenhouses in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park (now the Atlanta Botanical Gardens) while a student at Georgia Tech. Over the years we expanded our collection through purchases, trades, and the collection of plants in South America, southeast Asia and China while on business trips.
As we were relocated (Atlanta GA, Louisville KY, LaGrange KY, Georgetown SC, Jackson NJ, Doylestown PA) we dragged the ever-growing collection all over the country, ending up in eastern Pennsylvania (our eighteenth place of residence) in late 1989. 27 years later, and we’re now in Oak Island NC, our retirement paradise.
In January of 1994, we experienced a total loss due to a heater AND alarm failure on a 7°F night. After that devastating “winter of the ice,” we bought a new heater and alarm system, followed by a few plants. After dividing them some time later, it occurred to us that by selling the divisions to other hobby growers, we could get some cash to buy more plants, and selling divisions of those would lead to more, and so on. So, a text-only list of three divisions was posted on the web, and a notice made on the rec.gardens.orchids newsgroup.
Within three hours we had two orders, and that was the beginning of First Rays! (A “new dawn”, if you will.)