Book opened orchid-growing to the world

Before there was an Orchid Thief, there was Rebecca T. Northen.

Northen, whose 1950 book “Home Orchid Growing” is still the bible for growers — amateur and professional alike — did for orchids what Julia Child did for French cooking, said one orchid lover. Her greenhouse still contained hundreds of orchids when she died April 30 at age 93 in Des Moines.

“She demystified this thing that was previously the purview of the rich doctors and the wealthy”

I have this book. The first book I ever bought on orchids, long before I ever got into the hobby in any serious way. It contains a lot of good advice but has few pictures, so for a rank beginner it was hard to visualize what she was trying to describe. But, it was the first book of its kind, and my introduction to orchids.

RIP, Rebecca.