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OCTOBER 7, 8, & 9

Orchid growers insist that orchids are not at all tough to raise. Just make sure the bulbs are in a humid but breezy environment, and that the pot is sitting in a hydrated bed of gravel, preferably somewhere in Holland…well, never mind. This weekend, greenish thumbs can fantasize about growing an orchid without necessarily owning one at the 1995 Orchid Show and Sale. The National Capital Orchid Society (NCOS) promises a vast selection of Robert Mapplethorpe’s favorite tumescent florae, which range in size from monstrous to minuscule. Enthusiasts these days are particularly high on an ostensibly easy-to-care-for variety known as “Phalaenopsis” (that’s “fail-a-NOP-sis”) plants; shop for some “Phals,” as they’re known, or simply trade floral lore (the word “orchid” is derived from a Greek word meaning “testicle”!) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the National Arboretum, 24th & R Sts. NE. FREE. (202) 245-2726. (Nathalie op de Beeck)