Many orchid societies have been able to celebrate their golden anniversaries as clubs in recent years, but the Mid-Lakes Orchid Society (MLOS)
of Leesburg, Florida, can do one better. In 2006, we celebrated 50 years with one of the charter members.
David Littleton is one of the founders of this dynamic and active club and has rarely missed a meeting during those 50 years . He's even served as president five terms over the many years. During the first decade of the club, which was organized and chartered by Louis Hanson and 12 others in May of 1956, the local Federal Bank was a huge sponsor of the club, allowing accredited shows in the lobby and even purchasing the beautiful silver trophies for the winners. This turned out to be a great foundation for the club for the next 40 years.
MLOS has had more than 36 presidents since its conception, with David first taking the helm back in 1961. Many times, a president has had back-to-back terms. The MLOS is a tight-knit group that goes beyond just being members to almost becoming family. We mourn with each other when there is a loss of a member, and we celebrate when members reach different milestones in life.
One of the highlights of the club's events during a year is to visit the club members' growing locations. We usually do a town-and-country tours with one tour of visiting members who live close to where we meet and perhaps are simply growing orchids on a lanai or back porch, and then later, we visit members who live as far away as 20 miles who may have fashioned together a homemade greenhouse or who have had professionals come and get them up an running in a more elaborate way. It's very educational for all who are involved to actually see how others are growing those beautiful plants that they bring into our show-and-tell table during meetings. The club has always had a history of educating the general public about orchids.
Another highlight of the year is our annual potting clinic held at a local garden center in Leesburg. We advertise it in the local papers and have community members showing up in droved with orchids that perhaps they have inherited from Grandma and simply have no idea what to do with it. We'll identify its species for them, re-pot as necessary, and send them home with a new confidence that they, too, can produce the beautiful blooms that they thought only a relative could coax out of these plants. And hopefully, we can create enough interest that they may visit our club a time or two and consider joining with us to learn more about the wonderful world of orchids.
Yes, 2006 was our year to celebrate 50 wonderful years of organizing an orchid fan club, if you will, and today, no one is cheering on the club for another 50 years more than our own David Litton.
Submitted by Donna Goodwin