Florida - An Orchid Lover's Paradise

“The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.” (Hanna Rion)

Nestled in the courtyard of our hotel is a gently winding path blossoming on either side with a wide variety of bromeliads and orchids.   The Orchid Garden, as we call it, touches all of the senses.  And it is one of my favorite spaces on the Resort property.  The delicate, vibrantly colored orchids seem to bloom continuously, and their sensual flowers punctuate the background of rich red and green bromeliads.  If you walk from the hotel’s driveway towards the Gulf of Mexico, the Orchid Garden is a perfect transition from the hustle and bustle of Gulfshore Drive behind to the peaceful beachfront ahead.  

The garden’s beauty comes from the painstaking care of many gardeners.  As they say, “It takes a village” to raise a garden!  Each morning from November to June, you can find my father-in-law, Mike Moore, in the garden, moving an orchid plant to a better position in the sun, caring for blooms that are past their prime, or pulling up an errant weed. He makes the task look effortless, maybe because for him, it is not work.  It is a labor of love.  He is fulfilled by a well-placed orchid, a blooming bromeliad, or an air plant recently attached to a tree.  And he has passed down his passion for plants, as well as his green thumb, to my husband, his son, Mick, who cares for the Orchid Garden during the summers when Mike is in Maine.  Behind the scenes, Betty, the head of our housekeeping staff, enjoys nurturing young orchids in her home, caring for them and helping them grow.  Once the orchids are beautifully mature, Betty brings them to the Resort and thoughtfully finds a space for them in the Orchid Garden.

Over the years, so many guests have stayed with us in search of a relaxing beach vacation, a getaway, a chance to escape from the “real world”.  Initially, they are drawn by our beachfront location, the warmth of the Gulf, and our low-key, Old Florida charm.  But during their stay, they discover the hidden charms of our hotel - particularly in the Orchid Garden.  Our garden has provided the backdrop for many a travel photo, and our guests are frequently seen posing next to an orchid plant or a bromeliad unexpectedly poking out of the side of a palm tree or the inside of a piece of driftwood. We have even hosted a photo shoot of bikini-clad models in the orchid garden!

The next time you visit the Vanderbilt Beach Resort, spend a few moments in our Orchid Garden and restore your soul.  You may find a new favorite space.

-Diane Moore

Return to Blog »