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Beyond the White Coat Spotlight: Janet Smith, M.D.

Janet Smith, M.D.

Cardiologist, Norton Heart Specialists-The Springs Medical Center, Louisville
Orchid Expert/Gardener

How long have you been interested in orchids?

I have been raising orchids for 6 or 7 years. I have always thought of them as exotic and beautiful.

How did you get interested in orchids? 

My husband, John, would often give me one for a special event and I would enjoy its blossoms for a couple of months and then keep the plant in hope that it would flower again. It never did, but the plants survived. One day I decided that there had to be a way to get them to re-bloom. I did some internet research, purchased a metal rack from Lowes and some T5 light fixtures after a consultation with New Earth growing center, which specializes in growing indoor plants. I was amazed that the plants started waking up, putting on new growth and, finally, bloomed! About three years ago I attended the Kentucky Orchid Society annual show and then attended one of their meetings. Within a year, I was on their board and now am quite involved. John and I are in the process of building a greenhouse because the orchids have outgrown their eight square feet of space! It will give John a place to get a jump start on vegetable plants and I can expand the sorts of orchids that I can raise.

Why do you enjoy it? 

There are literally thousands of orchids and I find it very enjoyable to learn about the unique requirements for getting such plants to flourish and then watching them put on such a lovely show once or twice a year. It appeals to the scientist and the artist in me! I grew up on a five acre farm in southern Jefferson County. We always had a big garden (it took that to feed ten children) and we all learned how to plant, weed, harvest and can our food. I was in the National Junior Horticulture Association in high school and won their national competition two years in a row. It involved identifying plants, seeds, leaves and taking a test on other horticultural facts. I potted plants at the Boone Gardiner Nursery on Shelbyville Rd as a summer job in high school. I guess plants are truly part of my “roots!”

Does it help relieve stress of being a physician? If so, how?

I have spent a couple of “staycations” this summer “playing in the dirt,” as I refer to my gardening hobby. It is stress relieving and satisfying to be able to display such lovely flowers and to put fresh veggies on the table! I have also been able to decorate my new guest room as a result of my hobby. We also found an artist at St. James Art Fair a couple of years ago who specialized in fiber art and who had a piece based upon a Cattleya orchid. It was a perfect addition to our home!

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