My mother was a powerful force in my life, as well as in the lives of my siblings. She lived large, with passion, purpose and conviction, and imparted within each of us, a deep love of flora, fauna and the natural world. I first introduced her to orchids over 30 years ago. She started growing them and eventually became an expert grower, focusing mainly on Vandas. While she lived in Bayshore, New York, fellow orchid society members would visit her greenhouse, wondering how she grew so well, expecting to see some automation or a first rate growing facility, but most were surprised to see her very humble set up. They learned that it was simply her 'hands on’ nurturing, along with strong will and determination to grow them well, that made all the difference.When she moved to Florida nineteen years ago, she thought the climate would be more suitable for growingorchids, but soon discovered new challenges when faced with Florida’s extreme heat in summer, and belowfreezing cold in winter. Insects which were far more voracious than in New York, and less than ideal well water. Despite some serious setbacks, namely losing many of her prized orchids in an unfortunate incident where her plants cooked, (while away at the 1999 Miami Orchid Show), she still rose again and grew magnificent plants; some of which I had the pleasure of painting.Two crowning achievements of her orchid growing career came in 2003, when she won an FCC for her Vanda Julia Sorenson “Eric Bryant Mirro’, (named after her Grandson), at the Miami Orchid Show, and then the following year, 2004, when she won 'Best in Show’ for her Bulbophyllum Phalaenopsis, at the Greater New York Orchid Show at Rockefeller Center, NYC. Thereafter, as her eyesight started failing and growingorchids became too demanding physically, she became enamored of Macaws and adopted several of them as beloved companions, she devoted the last ten years of her life to them. I will miss her terribly but will continue to fulfill some of the dreams we shared.