This couple is living among thousands of orchids in their Toronto condo
Living among over 2000 orchids may sound dreamy, but for the people in one Toronto condo it's a survival method.
Roehampton Orchids is now operating out of a residential space that even includes a self-watering terrarium set up in a shower, shipping orchids and other plants Canada-wide.
"I started Roehampton Orchids last year with my partner, Felix To. I've always had a strong interest in orchids, but it wasn't until both of us had to make career changes, we realized we could turn this passion into an actual business," Andrew Geimar told blogTO.
"What started as something we did on the side turned out to be a variable business for us. We also found we worked well with each other. I took care of the growing, while my partner handled operations and marketing."
The way the orchid business took over the apartment wasn't necessarily intentional, but more of a gradual process that happened over time.
"I didn't think much when I started growing orchids in our condo. It was a hobby, a passion, so I enjoyed it.
"I would buy and grow every single type of orchid genus I could get my hands on, I stopped counting after 300. If we were to estimate we would say we have over 2,000 plants in our space currently of various shapes and sizes," says Geimar.
"Eventually I had designed our space to accommodate orchids for various climates. We have a cold/intermediate and warm/hot growing space.
"Our second bathroom shower was unoccupied and that became the warm growing terrarium that houses our specialty 'jewel orchids.' Jewels have incredibly beautiful foliage and we grow them from seedlings."
You can browse by genus and size on their website, choosing from options like Bulbos, Paphs, Phrags and other terms that are likely somewhat lost on the non-orchid-inclined, though they're all dazzling to look even without a background education.
Orchids and plants range from around $25 up to $150.
"I had so many plants and people were constantly reaching out to buy and ask for growing advise, so we realized the need was there.
"We created a community group on Facebook called Canadian Orchid Growers where we moderate and teach people how to grow," says Geimar.
"We found the Facebook group has been an essential part of keeping people connected especially during these trying times. COVID helped propel that for us since we just had to make it work where we were.
"Now, working from our condo just seems normal to us, and allows me to have full control of the growing process while being in the heart of the city, where the demand is."
The orchid group on Facebook now has over 3000 members, and over 75 posts in the last week alone, almost 500 over the course of the last month.
"Given the circumstance right now, people need positivity and a connection to nature which our plants give them. Before finding a rare plant and having it delivered to your door was hard to do without intensive research," says Geimar.
"What we do is just make it easier for people to find the plants they love. Our hope is to continue to expand our business and make exotic orchids more accessible to everyone."
As for eventually transitioning the orchids out of their living space, Geimar says: "We are looking to expand to a larger space within the GTA this year."
While living in an orchid forest sounds pretty magical, it's probably not that practical, though you can always check out Roehampton to get a little piece of that magic for yourself.
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