WINTER ESCAPE: Growing Orchids ‘Becomes Addiction’

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Valentine's Day is just a week away. You can skip the roses and find a tropical flower for your sweetie this weekend. You can also escape the cold and get inspired for spring.

Orchid Grower Bob Rust says, "Actually some of them are very fragrant." He goes on to say, "They're interesting because, you can see they come in all shapes and probably all sizes."

It’s become a passion for Bob Rust to grow the flowering plants. He says, "It's really not a hobby. It's an addiction, it's sort of like eating chips. You can't stop at just one."

Rust started with just one orchid 35 years ago. Now, the retired meat scientist and his wife have several hundred. He says, "We like growing them because of the challenge."

He shares his love of orchids with the Central Iowa Orchid Society. The fifty plus member group will share its knowledge of the tropical plant this weekend. The fifth Orchid Fest is Saturday and Sunday at Reiman Gardens in Ames.  Rust says, "You can come look at plants, purchase plants if you want to, ask any questions about them."

Orchid Fest is just one of many events this year at Reiman Gardens. And, this year they're going with an out of this world theme. Aaron Steil with Reiman Gardens says, "This year's theme, we're calling it ‘2014 A Garden Odyssey, and it's a Sci-Fi space theme."

All programs will be inspired by space. Outside a tulip display will replace the snow covered gardens this spring and the flowers will represent the solar system. Steil says, "So, we have areas that look like flaming comets. We have an area that looks like a starry night. We have different color tulips that represent different planets in our solar system."

For now, visitors will just have to enjoy a taste of the tropics inside, as orchid growers show off their warm weather plants in the middle of an Iowa winter.

Orchid Fest is this Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Reiman Gardens.