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Tens of Thousands of Orchids

There was a time when orchids were only in demand for traditional corsages. But now the unique flower tops the list for the most popular on the market for so much more than special occasions.

Behind a sign promising a greenhouse open to orchid enthusiasts, is a story generations long. Scott McCandless tends the greenhouses for Lines Orchids on Signal Mountain, that began as a labor of love for his great-grandfather Oliver Lines. "Just playing out here and I'd follow in his footsteps," McCandless says.

That orchid obsession began in England, and brought the family to Signal, where conditions for the flowers are pretty close to perfection. "Up here it's a little bit cooler you get more of a breeze," McCandless explains. "It's a much better climate."

What the mountain can't maintain, electricity provides so the orchids, once only coveted for corsages, can flourish by the tens of thousands in their vivid, vintage environment. "Through breeding, people can make the flowers bigger and change the colors and the thickness," McCandless says. "The substance can be different, whether some have a slight fragrance or not, there are sort of like endless possibilities."

When the crossing and pollination of the now favorite flower are done, McCandless keeps up with the young plants,  as they outgrow their pots and waits for the magic of Mother Nature. "Until they bloom you just don't know what they are going to look like," the fourth-generation grower says.

Most orchids take about three years of tender, loving care before they're ready for retail, or your visit to this Signal Mountain staple. "A lot of places, like the big box stores, their orchids are nice but you miss the experience," McCandless says. "To go to where they are grown, I think that's the neat thing about being here. You get to see the whole process not just buy the end product."

Lines' biggest customers are florists in Nashville, Birmingham and Atlanta, but you can also buy their blooms at their retail location in Warehouse Row and, of course, at their greenhouse on Taft Highway.

For more information on Lines Orchids, click here to visit their website.


By: Latricia Thomas

Tens of Thousands of Orchids

Tuesday, November 12 2013, 03:50 PM EST

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