‘It bloomed and I was hooked’

Exotic orchid blooms on Sanibel

Published in the Sanibel-Captiva Islander June 17, 2015 issue

The coryanthes cacrantha orchid, which has a nickname of the "bucket orchid."

The coryanthes cacrantha orchid, which has a nickname of the “bucket orchid.”

Joe Salatino was pleasantly surprised last Wednesday morning when he walked outside and noticed his exotic orchid in bloom for the first time since planting it more than a month ago.

The coryanthes cacrantha orchid, which has a nickname of the "bucket orchid."

The coryanthes cacrantha orchid, which has a nickname of the “bucket orchid.”

The Sanibel resident found a grower in northern California after researching the coryanthes cacrantha orchid, which has a nickname of the “bucket orchid,” online. He said he wanted to take a chance and see if he could get it to grow.

The bucket orchid is a native of South America and has a scent similar to licorice.

“This is the most complex, interesting and beautiful orchid I have ever seen, or grown,” Salatino said.

Joe Salatino holds his bucket orchid.

Joe Salatino holds his bucket orchid.

Once the flowers bloomed, an euglossini bee, which is green in color, began flying in and around the “bucket orchid.”

“It opened and the bees started showing up and pollinating,” he said.

While living in southern California in the 1960s, Salatino used to drive past an orchid greenhouse with a sign that read “exotic orchids of the world.”

One day he finally decided to stop and the owner showed him around the greenhouse that expanded more than an acre and explained every orchid to him.

Six months later he returned to the greenhouse and stumbled across the cattleya orchid.

“I was stunned of how beautiful the orchid is,” Salatino said.

He was given instructions of where to place the orchid in his apartment, as well as how to water and take care of the flower.

“It bloomed and I was hooked,” Salatino said.

Soon after purchasing his first orchid, he came across a book that read “welcome to a journey that many people begin and few finish,” on the front sleeve.

His journey continued in Dallas, Texas, with more than 1,000 plants in his greenhouse. Salatino now has 175 plants on Sanibel at his home. He designed an outdoor space that fits into the environment where the orchids either hang or sit on a table.

Salatino said a lot of the orchids have different needs, some which are specific nutritional needs. A number of his orchids are kept shaded with a fan pointing on them because they strive better in cooler environments.

Once the orchid is placed in the best climate, Salatino said you can pretty much leave them alone.

“I love to find exotic orchids that are challenging to raise and get them to bloom,” he said.

The hobby that began in 1975 has brought a tremendous amount of joy to Salatino and his family and friends.

“It’s a wonderful hobby to share,” he said.

Salatino is a member of the American Orchid Society, Sanibel-Captiva Orchid Society and Southwest Florida Orchid Society. While living in Texas, he won many awards for his orchids and provided speeches to further educate others about the flower.

“Orchid people are pleasant and we have a mutual love for these plants,” Salatino said. “It’s a very peaceful hobby.”

Lucy’s first hike

Yesterday we decided to take Lucy on her first hike at a park not too far from where we live.

Ever since we brought her home at the beginning of April, I have been thinking about places we could take her. Let’s just say I’ve been pretty excited about including this little puppy in our outdoor adventures.

With the warm temperatures and blue skies yesterday, Jason and I both had the itch to be outdoors. So, we got everything we needed and headed to the car with Lucy close at our heels. As soon as we neared the car, Lucy became a little hesitant. This has become a little bit of an obstacle at the moment for Lucy. She’s not a fan of the car yet, which we hope to change because Jason and I like to be on the go . . . We like to explore new places when the time affords us the opportunity.

So, Jason scooped her up and we were on our way. I have found that she enjoys laying down between the two seats on the little center console. With that said, she typically gravitates towards Jason’s lap where she snuggles and lays down.

We went to Laurel Run Park in Church Hill, Tenn. again. We wanted to take Lucy somewhere we had already been, so we knew the trails and how difficult they may be for her. Since she is only three months old, we didn’t want to completely wear her out to where we had to carry her.

As soon as we parked, Lucy was greeted by two youngsters. She of course loved the attention and licked happily as the little boy said puppy over and over again. After the mom came over and got her kids, we started towards the trail.

The last time we hiked this trail everything was starting to bloom. This time the trails were lined with white, yellow and light and dark purple flowers. It was really pretty.

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The butterflies were back!

Last year when we first started making our ways to the different trails we would see butterflies every where, of every color. Although not the best picture, here is one of the one’s we saw on the trail yesterday.

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The vegetation alongside the trails are once again a beautiful hue of greens with the occasional beautiful color of flowers.

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IMG_1659The better part of our hike, I carried the leash as Jason led the way. I found that if someone was ahead of her she was in a hurry to follow. But, of course, I had to hand the leash to Jason a time or two, so I could take a picture of our little peanut walking the trails.

IMG_1622Usually when I take her for a walk outside our place, she stops every few seconds to sniff and find something to eat. That was not the case when we went hiking yesterday, which of course surprised me. I figured with all the smells she would stop every few seconds. But Lucy was happy jogging along keeping up with the both of us.

Since yesterday was such a beautiful day, there were a ton of people at the park. For the majority of the hike, I did not have Lucy on a short leash, but rather allowed her to roam as far as the leash would take her. But, when we saw people approaching us, I would shorten the leash.

It was adorable, as everyone passed by, I heard so many “ahhh, she is so cute.” More times than not, they stopped to give her a little pat as Lucy soaked up all the attention. It’s true, you make a ton of friends when you have a dog, especially a puppy.

IMG_1624Lucy seemed to have a great time. She became a little braver the farther we hiked the trail, often times jumping across puddles in the path and climbing rocks. Jason commented at the end of our hike that she always stayed on the trail.

IMG_1636Until, of course we went off the beaten path.

We walked past the waterfall since there were so many people enjoying the sight and playing in the water at the foot of the falls. When we came back around, there was no one there, so Lucy led us down the rocks.

IMG_1640She stood in the dry area by the falls, but would not get her paws wet. Lucy was not too sure about the water. We will definitely have to get her used to the water.

IMG_1643Lucy really did well on her first hiking adventure. She really surprised me. On the way back to the car, she was trotting along at a faster pace than when we first started. I figured by this point she would be tired, but nope she was on a mission. Instead of missing all the muddy areas, she went right through them, which made me smile . . . she wasn’t afraid anymore.

This little peanut is going to be a great companion on our hikes. I’m so glad she did well. Now instead of leaving her at home, she can accompany us on our adventures.

On the car ride home she did fantastic. We really wore her out. We even stopped at the store and she was too tired to care that Jason got out.

IMG_1666Our adventure yesterday really was special for me. It’s a lot of fun to watch an animal enjoy the outdoors. When we got home, she ate and then took a bath. She instantly fell asleep in my lap when I finished drying her off. She slept for a couple more hours after that in her little bed.

I’m so glad she got all of that exercise!

I finally spotted some . . .

Today after driving to Jonesborough and Gray for a few interviews, I stopped at the library in Kingsport to drop off some books that were due. As I was pulling onto the road that leads me to the library, this beautiful sea of orange, yellow, purple and reds grabbed my attention, especially off of the deep green leaves.

I’ve been waiting to find some tulips since spring began. These are one of my favorite flowers.

IMG_20140409_150418After I parked my car, dropped off my books and wandered around the library for a little while, I went for a walk down the sidewalk, so I could take some pictures. Of course, as I walked closer the beauty of these flowers only intensified.

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Once again, nature captured my attention . . .

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I love the spring season.