To go boldly where no man has gone before.
I'm talking of neither the Star Strek nor the Rosie O'Donell shows on TV. I built a cold greenhouse in SOCAL going on 2 years ago and I found the experience exhilarating. A good portion of the pleasure came from being able to grow plants one does not commonly find around here.
Our climate here is conducive to a large variety of plants that are found in every collection. Some reed stem Epidendrums grow like Dandelions in our yards and the gardeners take weed whackers to them when they get too big. People get away with planting Cymbidiums in the yard as long as they add a healthy layer of bark around the root ball.
The average collection includes Catts, Oncidiums, the AU Dendrobiums and a whole host of other plants that grow well in our backyards. In addition to that people grow Phaelies and others that have to come in the house during the winter. All that is good, the plants and flowers are beautiful, our orchid shows can be spectacular. Attending different society meetings in LA, it is quickly apparent that the same type of plants are seen over and over again.
With the cold house featuring RO water, 80% humidity, night temps down to 55F, day temps kept below 75F a whole new universe opened up. The entire group of cloud forest plants from Central and South America became possible. Suddenly Pleiones became easy as did a number of other plants from a wide variety of genera. I'm going to try Cypripediums. Bringing these plants to the orchid society meetings and meeting a small select group of individuals who share the interest became an exiting part of the hobby.
I go to San Francisco regularly as I have family up there and have gotten to know some of the growers up there. For them these plants I talked about are routine, they grow like weeds up there. The challenge of growing plants that simply will not grow in your native climate should produce an added dimension to the hobby. While blooming Dracula in SF produces a yawn, down here in LA, it is unusual, exiting and challenging to achieve.
After a number of years, we all generally know about orchids and one is able to observe and notice that certain genera are never seen on our display tables. Within limits (there is an underground AU orchid that I think I'll pass on) I think it adds to the hobby to try to grow these that are hardly ever seen in your area. This will obviously be different for various general growing areas.