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Patty Reeces passion blooms thru orchids
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Patty Reece launched her orchid-growing hobby 18 years ago. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Patty Reece loves her orchids.

She has hundreds of plants in her home greenhouse that she cares for like they are part of her family.

“I killed my very first one,” she said. “Probably gave it too much water.”

It was that first plant she received from a close girl friend in Escalon in 1996 that got her hooked while she and her husband operated a mini-mart in that community.  She described it as a beautiful phalaenopsis with five white flowers.

Reece’s passion about her orchids is evident with her involvement in this weekend’s 16th Annual Orchid Fest Show and Sale at the Sherwood Mall in Stockton presented by the San Joaquin Orchid Society. It starts today and runs through Sunday. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The New York Diamond Jewelry Store owner currently has a 20- by 30-foot  greenhouse at her rural Stockton home that replaced two smaller greenhouses.  She had orchid plants – some 30 of them – in her kitchen as well.  

She tends to her orchids every morning. On Sundays she waters and fertilizes them – a total of 944 plants.  All her orchids are named and their care is logged in a daily journal for continuing reference.  Each is tagged as to the date it was acquired, followed by the date they were repotted. 

Her love of the orchids has given her a sense of peace and a way to release stress, she added.  She also attends the monthly meetings where guests are welcome and growers willingly answer questions of people having challenges with their plants.

A second meeting each month presents guest speakers telling about the different types of orchids. The location is on Ad Art Road next to the CHP’s Stockton office, just off Highway 99.

“We show them once a year for judging by the American Orchid Society,” she said. “On some of the orchids we are allowed to name in the permanent records of the American Orchid Society if they meet certain criteria and parameters.”

Reece will be without her husband Carl at this year’s show.  He passed away last year.  She said he was “a grand friend and loving husband who is truly missed.”  Carl was responsible for much of the needed carpentry work and added his organizational and logistical skills at home and to the event.

Sought-after awards to be presented at the show are best corsage, best flower arrangement and best display of orchids.

Society members plan to be demonstrating planting procedures and will offer to re-pot orchids for members of the public. Orchids will also be offered for sale during the show at the mall.

Reece suggested those planning to take in the show to use the former Gottschalks Department Store side of the mall’s north entrance or the Pacific Avenue north entrance.  

For further information go online to www.sanjoaquinorchid or call 209.824.2300.