The Orchid Society of Minnesota – A Reflection on the Past, Some Musings About the Present, and a Thought for the Future
As our fiscal year draws to a close and we celebrate the anniversary of the OSM’s founding, I just wanted to take some time to reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re at now, and where we’re headed. This Society was founded back in 1964, fifty-five years ago. Many of us who have been around a long time were lucky enough to know a few of those early members and to hear their amazing, and often hilarious, stories. I can remember pulling some slides from the archives a few years back to show during a meeting with narration happily offered by the folks who were in the slides. They had such a good time reminiscing and we had a blast hearing how things were done back then. What I remember from the slides, though, were the images of small gatherings of people sharing a common interest, not only in orchids, but in each other.
Over the years, our Society has grown and it has become harder to have those close relationships due to the sheer size of the membership. As we suffer the loss of our long-time members, several just within the past year, it should serve as a reminder to us that, when all is said and done, it’s never really been about the plants, it’s really always been about the people that grow the plants and appreciate them. Without these people coming together, there would be no Society and no opportunity to share our love of these most wonderful of blooming beauties!
Today, while it is harder to get to know everyone in the Society all at once, perhaps we need to take a look at what we can do to get to know those with an interest common to ours. I encourage you to find something you enjoy doing and to get involved; volunteer, be part of a group working together on a project, go on a bus trip, be on a committee, the possibilities are endless and, as you do something you’re enjoying, you will begin to form those all important relationships with others in the Society. You may not recognize it now, but know that these are the friendships that will sustain you through all your trials and tribulations with these plants.
As we mourn those whom we have lost in the orchid world over the last year, let us think about their legacy and, perhaps, the one you will leave. I have a plant in my collection, and I’m sure several of you have the same plant. It’s Phragmipedium sedenii ‘Hickory Hill.” But how many of you know where that plant came from? Your quick answer, if you have a good memory or maintain records, might be, “Stan Smith.” But there’s more to that story. Many, many years ago, after the death of Lois Holmes’ husband, Henry, Lois decided to sell some of his plants. One of them was Phragmipedium sedenii and that plant was purchased by Stan Smith. So that he would know the plant as his own, he added the clonal name, “Hickory Hill,” which was the street he lived on at the time. So, if you have a piece of this plant, you now have part of the Henry and Lois Holmes collection and this couples legacy continues to live on. I have other plants which carry so much meaning as they have come from dear friends and they are the ones I cherish the most, no matter their flower or form. As you move through your collection in the coming days, I encourage you to think about your own legacy and what you want it to be. Rather than holding onto your plants, why not divide them and pass them on to your friends in the OSM. I assure you they will appreciate them and cherish the friendship they symbolize.
As I reflect back on my personal experience with the OSM, the word that comes to mind is “sharing.” When I was a brand new grower, I could not believe the willingness of others to share their knowledge and expertise with me. I look back on the many, many people who have come forward to volunteer as officers, committee members, and show chairs, sharing so freely of their time and talents so that I, as a member, could benefit from all this Society had to offer. And I have lost count of the number of plants my friends in the Society have shared with me so that I, too, could enjoy their beauty in my own home. As I evolved as a member, I have gained some knowledge and have tried to pass it on. I have tried to get involved in the things that interested me. And I have made many divisions of plants to share with those who expressed an interest in them. This has been my journey, my experience, but it doesn’t have to be mine alone. Won’t you consider where you’re at and, as we move forward as a Society into this next year, give some thought to getting involved by sharing your time, your talents, and your knowledge with others? I think that this is the legacy we all want to have, that when others think about us, they remember us as the good, kind people that we are. That while we may be forgotten to others who will follow us in the future, that our name will carry on as a person who cared enough to share this passion of orchids with others.
Member, Past President, Past Board Member, and Current Member of Numerous Committees of the OSM