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Rainforest Orchid Fantasy March 7 to 9 in Tampa

Orchid fantasy mixes visions with real help

The Rainforest Orchid Fantasy, which bills itself as Tampa's largest indoor flower show, is Friday through March 9 at the

Bayanihan Center, 14301 Nine Eagles Drive (Race Track Road at Countryway Boulevard), Tampa. The sponsor, Tampa Bay Orchid Society, promises orchid vendors, repotting, books, gifts, supplies and refreshments, plus a 10,000-square-foot ballroom of orchid displays. Admission: $4; free parking.

Award hails her gardening exploits

Nina Bassuk, 56, a horticulture professor at Cornell University, is the 2008 recipient of the Scott Medal, given annually by the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College, for her "national contributions to the art and science of gardening." For almost three decades, Bassuk has worked on

finding tough plants to withstand stressful urban landscapes and on making those landscapes less stressful. She developed something called "structural soil," for example, which permits tree roots to survive in compacted soil under sidewalks.

Corral rainwater to use during drought

In Georgia, where they know something about droughts, horticulturist Jim Harrington has invented the rainwater pillow. It's a big bag, 10 by 10 by 2 1/2 feet, made of a reinforced polymer alloy, that is placed in a crawl space or under a deck and collects stormwater runoff by piping it from your downspouts. (Overflow valves prevent the pillow from exploding.) The water — 1,000 gallons of it — is available for hose watering, hose-driven sprinklers, drip irrigation, washing cars. Price: $2,500. (Free irrigating forever, and saving precious drinking water: priceless.) Learn more at www.rainwaterpillow.com.

Compiled by Times homes and garden editor Judy Stark

Rainforest Orchid Fantasy March 7 to 9 in Tampa 02/29/08 [Last modified: Friday, February 29, 2008 5:00am]

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