My friend and former dentist, Ken Ramsey, has begun a cottage business at his home in Starkville. This is the same guy who has not missed a Mississippi State football game in 40 years. He’s up to 403 games in a row. (Guess he’s looking for a way to finance future game trips since he retired from dentistry.)
He specializes in tropicals, and orchids are his personal favorite.
“I believe the orchid flower is one of God’s special gifts to mankind,” he said. “There are few plant species more varied and none more beautiful. Most believe that orchid plants, with their delicate and fragile looking flowers, must be extremely hard to grow. Nothing could be further from the truth. The ones I grow are tolerant of high temperatures, wind, and rain, and need only good light.”
Incidentally he doesn’t garden in his tuxedo.
They make really great houseplants and only require the basic necessities. These include: Occasional fertilizing (half-strength), occasional misting, water once a week during their growing season but less so during the winter months, good indirect light, and a well-draining, soil-less planting medium. They don’t like “cold feet” and do best with lows at or above 50 degrees.
Uh, oh, they probably wouldn’t survive THIS winter in my house since I’m experimenting with living minus central air and heat. I read somewhere you don’t get so many wrinkles when you stay cold. But I degress…
“Being in the deep south, my plants are subjected to occasional highs above 100 degrees F, with the average summer temperatures in the 90’s,” he added. “ My species flourish with a couple of hours of early morning sun and a couple of hours of late afternoon sun.”
All his plants spend eight months hanging under oak trees, subjected to natural conditions which toughens them, then they spend the winter months in his greenhouse or in his weatherized back porch. They can be grown in baskets, pots, ceramic bowls, or even mounted on various wood stock.
“If you need orchid supplies not available locally, I sell everything needed for successful growing.” He also grows Bromeliads (right), Tillandsias, Staghorn Ferns, Fiddleleaf Ficus among other tropicals.
I’ve seen, and even been the recipient of some of his specimens. He can ship the plants anywhere in the continental United States. Most tropicals are sent“bare rooted”, by wrapping the roots in moist spaghnum, he then he covers them with cellophane to keep the moisture in. Then the buyer simply unwraps the root and pots the plant up as usual.
Orchids would be shipped potted or in baskets and the fir bark that they grow in goes along with them. “Fir bark is pretty light so adds little to the shipping cost. I also ship rhizomes (tubers) of my Ginger and Canna (such as the Sunset Canna below) again wrapping them in something moist and then bagged.”
Among my personal favorites are the Staghorn fern. Most of the Staghorns are mounted on various woods and are shipped mounted. A few of my plants are so large or the mounts so heavy, they can’t be shipped because of high shipping costs. These large and/or heavy Staghorns would have to be picked up at my home.”
“If in doubt, the buyer has to contact me. I really like to have a prospective buyer contact me before selling or shipping a plant(s) anyway. I am not a Lowe’s, for heaven’s sake!”
Check out his website at
or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.