July 10, 2007 the newly discovered "Super Ghost" orchid of Blair Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary greeted me on my birthday and never let go. For three years in a row and three hot summer months of each of those years, I daily visited the sanctuary to watch every nuance of my delicate ghost for its three bloomings from July through September. One year, it bloomed five times, starting in late March. I think it was saying "thank you" for all the attention.
Inspired by this rare and endangered ghost orchid, full of mystique, magic and mystery, I published the fiction mystery, Ghost Orchid, in 2009. Libraries picked it up and so did the Visitor's Information Center in downtown Naples, Florida, considering the novel an example of local talent for display in its "Local Art" section. Pat's Hallmark in Sunshine Plaza in Bonita Springs has copies for sale and so does the gift shop at the sanctuary in addition to all online book sellers.
The novel takes the reader into a fictional family of loves, lies and redemption beneath the dancing ghost orchid, high in the canopy just off the boardwalk in the sanctuary. National Public Radio Review praised Ghost Orchid for the beauty of the Everglades that shines through on every page, the ghost orchid the heart and soul of the story.
The "rest of the story" is the cry for preservation of natural habitats to protect all rare and endangered species for generations to come. The ghost orchid doesn't do well in domestic environments and those growers who succeed are heralded for their perseverence against all odds. Keith Davis received an award from the American Orchid Society for his exquisite, domestic ghost orchid plant (photographs found at dkchristi.com).
If it's impossible to make a quest to see the "Super Ghost" (local hotels offer ghost orchid specials), then read Ghost Orchid by D. K. Christi for an armchair plus experience as the ghost orchid blooms one more year, my birthday present through eternity I hope.