“It’s like a diamond in the snow,” Franna explained. “Most of the orchids are blooming, and I have them positioned so I can see them from the house.”
Franna, who lives in the Hillandale section of Silver Spring, Maryland, is talking about her greenhouse. One of her orchids is the offspring of the first orchid she bought in 1964.
“Five or six years ago, the electric went off in a winter storm and everything froze,” Franna added. “I decided it was just too much. I was going to sell it—or give it away. But I just couldn’t. It’s a part of our family and always will be.
“My husband used to take care of everything in our yard. Once we even grew pansies to sell, but we put them out on the patio for some sun and rabbits wiped us out. Allen and I exchanged orchids on Valentine’s Day. When our son was in high school at Takoma Academy and was going out on a big date, we’d buy another orchid plant. I’d make a corsage for his date, and we’d add the plant to our collection. Oh, the memories.”
“My husband and son bought a Janco kit and assembled it in 1971,” Franna said. “We just had to have a place to garden year-round.” The greenhouse is 10 x 14 feet and tied into the house’s hot-water heating system.
The greenhouse is home to Franna’s orchids and those of a friend who used to work at Kensington Orchid, which no longer is in business. A neighbor brings red and pink geraniums to overwinter. A bird-of-paradise plant thrives, but a gardenia doesn’t, probably because the temperature occasionally dips too low.
|'My Redskins orchid, burgundy and gold.'|
Franna loves her greenhouse. It’s memories, beauty, her diamond in the snow.