motes notes: an orchid class with dr. motes


 there's been a lot of talk around here about taking classes. It's a personal favorite subject of mine; this morning, I spend 45 minutes lost on the sites of Miami Ad School and UM looking for graphic design courses (along the way I got lost in wormholes of "Innovation" certificate programs and Jewelry Making For Fun). I finally pulled the trigger though and hit the big double whammy of taking advantage of my Fairchild membership and fulfilling all the big talk about taking classes. 

My first foray into Fairchild's adult education program: Vanda Orchids With Dr. Motes. 

I forgot to read the fine-print, so when I got to Fairchild for the class with my friend Ana Mari (one of MIAMI NICE's very first interview subjects) we found out that the second part of the class would take place Sunday morning, bright and early, at Motes' farm in Homestead. While the prospect of an early Sunday morning wake-up call isn't usually welcome news, we were both so far deep at this point that we got totally behind the idea. 

The class portion, held in a Fairchild classroom, was informative and scary. We were hoping to hear something like "it's super easy - here's the one trick you need to know!" Instead, we went home with pages and pages on what formula fertilizer works best, the name of a contraption that's best for distributing said fertilizer, the chemistry of water, the history of the vanda orchid and more.

Dr. Motes, who has a PHD in English Literature, but has dedicated his life to the vanda orchid species, is the exact kind of professor you want for an orchid class; that is to say, you feel like you're in an educational cartoon for adults. He often goes into mini-monologues quoting passages from literary classics, he knows everything about orchids and his wife wrote a rom-com novel called "Orchid Territory." 

The orchids at Motes Orchids stretch out as far as you can see. it's impossible to try and come up with an estimate of how many orchids there are on the grounds. They start as tiny little babies in bottles (see the last photo) and grow into all sorts of colors and sizes. What you should know about Motes Orchids is the orchids are Dr. Motes' own hybrid species. I can't really explain it much, because, if you know anything about orchids at all you know that there is much to know (and if you don't know anything at all I cannot highly enough recommend Adaptation, my favorite movie about Miami.), but my understanding is these are Dr. Motes' own orchid breeds. 

If you have the time, I recommend looking into spending an afternoon at the award-winning Motes Orchids. They have amazing free programming and all sorts of interesting ways to spend a day learning about the deep, dark hole of orchid knowledge. Check out their Facebook here