photo: Sergio Araujo

Jorge Verboonen, a passion for orchids.

by
Delfina de Araujo

Jorge Luiz João Verboonen was born in Petrópolis, in l922, November 20 and passed away in 2000, in February. His life can be resumed in a phrase of his wife, Maria de Lourdes Ferreira Verboonen: "He was a happy men, he worked, provide his family, he earned his money from which he most loved: the orchids. He lived for his family and for the orchids, the two joys of his life".
His passion for orchids was so big that Lourdes says that they were her only rivals. Jorge Verboonen used to say that he could not done any thing but work with orchids. Many times he woke up during the night, with a hand spotlight, to look for some caterpillars or snails which were attacking his plants.
The devotion to his family was so strong that in the last Christmas, in despite of his weakness due to the disease that hurt him during the last 15 years, he insisted on the traditional Christmas' Supper to gather his family.
He never complained about the sufferings foisted on him, he loved the live and fought for it as much he could.
Two years ago, the couple celebrated their golden wedding and as he has promised to his wife to go Paris for this date, he kept his promise although he was still recovering from a serious surgery.
His love to orchids was so strong that the Sunday before he died, he asked to take a turn around the nurseries, as if he wanted to do a farewell visit. He went to nursery where he cultivated Masdevallia (the preferred between all) and examined the pots, admired the most beautiful and gave his commentary on. He admired the Cattleya staging and asked to see the flowers which got his attention. He went to the nursery with his collection and as he could not enter, he asked his wife to get the most beautiful because he wished to see them closer, to get them into his hands. He visited the new nursery and praised enthusiastically the conditions of the cultivation of the pots he saw. On this Sunday afternoon, he took his leave of his plants. After that, he returned to his bedroom to rest. On Wednesday, he silently said good-bye for all.