Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In Memoriam - Sandy Murphy
The Twin Cities Orchid Lady

A Celebration Of Life

Sandy Murphy - The Twin Cities "Orchid Lady"

December 13, 1938 - October 22 , 2007

Sandy Murphy, My Mom the "Orchid Lady"- left us on (October 22) Monday afternoon at 4:25 when her spirit was released, to begin anew.

Let us all celebrate Sandy's gentle life and share in her enthusiasm and appreciation for all in life that is beautiful!

Sandy's love of Orchids started for her when she was a bright eyed college student at the U of M, studying botany and zoology - she had a professor, Dr Mclester who had divided some Cattleya Orchids, knew of sandy's interest in them - called her and told her there was a "Bunch of named orchids out in dump the behind the green house, they are Back Bulbs. And said - 'come and get them'!" - Good for Sandy as they were not supposed to give University property away - But since they were "In The Dump" He new she wanted them!

That was it - The rest is history - The year was 1956.

Sandra lived at home with her parents, in the beautiful Como park area of st paul while studying at the U of M, her father, a stone mason, built her first greenhouse for her new found love of growing orchids in 1957.

In March of 1964, when the Minnesota Orchid Society was formed, Sandy was there! She is one of the original twelve people that came together "to share in the glory of orchids"! In her role as a charter member of the Minnesota Orchid Society she has been the Chairman of two National Orchid Shows, held in conjunction with the American Orchid Society trustees Meetings.

Sandy has been on the American Orchid Society "Speakers List" for over 25 years, traveling the upper midwest giving talks, lectures and being invited to be the keynote speaker at many orchid events.

In her more than fifty years as an avid orchid grower and collector, sandy became an accomplished Orchid Hybridizer, winning countless local and regional awards and winning prized national awards of merit by the American Orchid Society.

Sandy was a very frequent contributor, writing articles and providing original artwork to causes and publications in Minnesota - she was an avid, and accomplished artist in the watercolor, scratch board and ceramic mediums.

Some of her written contributions include:

- The Minnesota Conservation Volunteer publication: Artwork and many articles - Which is published by the state of Minnesota Department Of Natural Resources

- The Minnesota State Horticultural Society - Untold articles - to many to list - especially in the mid 70's to early 80's

- She contributed original artwork for a series of note cards, that are probably still available in the Hort Societies State Fair Gift Shop.

- Sandy did the artwork for the plaque to identify the Minnesota State Heritage Trees for the Minnesota State Horticultural Society

- These trees are trees the State hort society considers 'noteworthy'. This plaque is in use today!

- in 1984, the Minnesota State Horticultural Society came calling and invited Sandy to be the official tour guide for their "Tropical Gardens Tour" which was a trip Costa Rica - a one week trip looking at orchids!

- Sandy provided original artwork for many of the "The Horticulturist" magazine front covers, published by the Minnesota State Horticultural Society.

- Sandy has been a friend of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for over 30 years, participating in many events and giving many classes on orchid growing over the years. She advised Dr Leon Snyder in acquiring Orchid Plants and orchid related books for the for the Arboretums collections. She won a National Wildflower Art Competition in the 80's for a water color painting she did of the State Flower Cypripedium reginae at the Arboretum.

- When the Minnesota zoo was built - At the time it was referred to as the "New Zoo" - Sandy and her wisdom, expert knowledge and orchid connections was the official supplier of all of the more that 1000 orchids for the zoo - Sandy went to the newly constructed zoo, surveyed the different growing areas and then decided which type of plants would grow best in the different areas, they all came from Thailand - To Sandy - For careful inspection - Then were delivered, in person by Sandy Murphy - To the "New Zoo" Making History In Minnesota. The Minnesota Zoo contracted with sandy to be the orchid supplier for the initial supply of the zoo's first orchid collection.

- Sandy would Often Give classes on Saturdays on Orchid Growing at the Como Park Conservatory.

- In 1992 Sandy got her dream to come true - she got her own orchid nursery, moved from her 'pretty big' back yard greenhouse to the former Robert Stern Greenhouses on the corner of Dowling and Humboldt In Minneapolis - up until the day she died she was up to the greenhouses, busy hard at 'work' with her beloved orchids, and more importantly, sharing her love of orchids with everybody that frequented the shop!

- Since Opening Orchids By Murphy, Sandra has been featured in articles in the Star Tribune, The Pioneer Press and the City Pages.

- Sandy had always been friends with garden guru Freddie Glassoe and appeared with him on the KSTP AM Radio Home and Garden Show, a few times.

- She has had Local Television appearances on Ktca TV 'Nighttimes Magazine', kstp TV, KMSP, KARE 11 - Ken Speak did a very nice feature on the "Orchid Lady".

- Sandy worked with Deb Brown at the U of M Extension Service on the Minnesota Gardening Television Program, she is featured in the "Growing Orchids" episode.

- In 2000 the Discovery Channel came calling, they did a very nice segment on mom, an expose', where she discussed growing orchids as house plants. Mom is now on re-runs on the DIY Network!

My Mom - Always a Lady, and My Hero,
Will Be Deelpy Missed.


When talking about Orchids, Mom would often say with a big smile, "If only I could live to be 100 - I would never get to see all of them and I could never become bored with any of them, they are so beautiful!"

Please Join Us In Celebrating The Life Of Sandy, at her Flower shop and Orchid Nursery, the place she loved to be.
Saturday November 03, 2007 - 1Pm to 4pm
Crystal Lake Floral Design
Orchids By Murphy
1420 Dowling Ave
Minneapolis MN 55412


Rosemary said...

So sorry for your loss Phil. She sounded like an amazing person... Someone the world needed. She will always be with you!

Sheila Murphy Brian said...

I was so sorry when I heard the news of "Aunt Sandy's" passing. Sandra was always such a colorful and interesting person, it is a great loss. My sympathy to you, Phil and please extend my sympathies to your Dad and Shannon.

Your cousin, Sheila Murphy Brian

Gary said...

so sorry for your loss. She was a great lady and will be deeply missed.
Gary from Bunny's