- February 18, 2016
Joel Fedder, who died in April, was a philanthropist and avid supporter of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. He had been raising orchids for years in his greenhouse at his home on Longboat Key.
“He absolutely loved these orchids,” says Fedder’s daughter, Amy Pollokoff, of Baltimore. “Since his passing, the orchids were just failing. It would be devastating to us to see them fail or die.”
So, last week, the Fedder family contacted Selby Gardens with news that it wanted to donate Fedder’s orchid collection.
“My dad would want this. We know they will be taken care of,” says Pollokoff.
Pollokoff and her brother, Michael Fedder, along with Selby Chief Development Officer Ann Logan and Greenhouse Manager Angel Lara, went on a sight-seeing mission last week to check out the 175 orchids in Fedder’s greenhouse.
“The plants were very babied,” Lara says. “Joel was a very fastidious caretaker, and they had been missing that kind of attention.”
Fedder’s collection ranges in color, shape and size; some orchids are currently in bloom while others lay dormant.
For example, the coconut orchid smells like coconut when in bloom. The stanhopea nigroviolecea orchid has a bloom that comes out from the bottom of the pot instead of the top, like other orchids. And then there is the oncidium orchid, which has a nearly 20-foot blooming vine.
Currently the orchids are being treated, repotted and integrated into the culture of Selby Gardens. Many plants in Fedder’s collection are ideal for the collections that bloom year-round at Selby, as well as the upcoming orchid show next year.
Selby Gardents President and CEO Jennifer Rominiecki said Selby hopes to incorporate some of the donated orchids into the major orchid show it is planning to commemorate its 40th anniversary. That show is scheduled to open Feb. 13, at the annual Orchid Ball.
“We are honored that his family chose to donate their orchid collection to Selby Gardens,” she says.