I've grown tropical orchids for many years, mostly cool-growing miniature orchids, but in recent years have become interested in native orchids as well. We live in western Washington State and have in the state a total of 42 native orchids including varieties. Most of these we have seen including some that are rare and hard to find. Since we are also avid hikers and backpackers, our love for native orchids has become another facet of our love for the outdoors and fits well with our interest in photography, too. My wife is my hiking companion, my fellow photographer and has the same interest in the outdoors as I do, and since our children are grown and out of the house, these interests keep us busy, especially during the summer months when both of us are less busy with work.

Finding native orchids, however, is not so difficult as it may sound. Often we find them along the roadside, as was the case with the orchids shown above. Very often the hiking involved is little more than a nice walk. It is helpful, however, to make contact with someone who knows where to find them, either a ranger in a national park, a member of a native plant society or someone who is interested in native orchids. In some areas there are even native orchid societies that sponsor regular outings for the purpose of seeing these wonderful plants in their natural settings and there is the Native Orchid Conference, a national group. We have been for several years now members of the Washington Native Orchid Society and go on four or five outings with them each spring and summer.