In the Orchid House with Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli

Waiting to Bloom

Coral Gables Mayor Raúl Valdés-Fauli had already been an avid collector of orchids – a habit he acquired from his father – when he bought his home on North Greenway Drive in 1977. That was when the assemblage began to expand in earnest. Today his collection exceeds 500 orchid varieties.

“They usually bloom in the spring and fall, and they are beautiful,” he says. “I bring some into the house, and some have a lovely, sweet smell.” Taking care of his floral entourage is no easy task, he says, involving fungicides, insecticides, fertilizer and the repotting of the flowering plants. “It’s nice Saturday and Sunday morning work, and you can see the rewards,” he says. His framed greenhouse can be covered in summer when there is too much sun; it can also be covered in winter during a freeze, “but I have never had to do that,” he says.

The orchid house should be in full bloom in April, the mayor’s last month before he retires from office.

Mayor Raúl Valdés-Fauli in his Orchid House
Coral Gables Mayor Raúl Valdés-Fauli in his orchid house