By: Carol Winker | email@example.com February, 2014
Staff and volunteers have been busy this week unpacking shipments of well over a thousand orchids and arranging them in time for the annual show and sale at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park this weekend.
Park manager John Lawrus hopes the event will bring out not only orchid enthusiasts, but also people who might wonder why this particular plant attracts so much attention. Even better, with recent rains during a normally dry season, the entire park is especially worth seeing because “Everything is looking good right now,” he reported.
The price of admission is the same as always, so visitors can spend the whole day if they wish – enjoying an array of orchids displayed by members of the Cayman Orchid Society in the Visitors Center, inspecting the plants for sale in tents outside, then exploring the park’s regular features that include a cactus garden, traditional yard plants, the color-themed gardens and palm tree walk.
For those with a high energy level, the nature trail provides an opportunity to see the variety of trees, shrubs and vines that are typical in Cayman’s terrain. A barbecue stand will cater to anyone who develops an appetite from all the activity.
Mr. Lawrus said the park holds the show each year in partnership with the Orchid Society as a joint fundraiser to benefit the ongoing development of the Orchid Boardwalk feature in the park and to promote the conservation of local orchids by showcasing the beauty of this plant family.
Orchids for sale will have come from Jamaica, Florida and Hawaii. They represent many regions of the world and are not commonly available on island, Mr. Lawrus noted. Well over a hundred species and hybrids will be represented in the sale.
This year, there will many orchids for sale that are not in bloom. The advantage to purchasers is better value because they won’t have to pay the full blooming-size price. The disadvantage, of course, is not seeing the flower. But Mr. Lawrus expects that most of the plants will be accompanied by a photograph of their flower.
Also, since the orchids on display in the Visitors Center will be labeled, viewers need only note the names of what they like and then see if their choices are available in the sale area. There is a better than good chance they will be: Mr. Lawrus says most of the plants in the show were probably purchased at shows in years past. The show gives Orchid Society members a chance to show what they have accomplished with their individual nurturing techniques.
As in past years, there will be talks and demonstrations throughout the day by knowledgeable orchid growers willing to share their experiences and expertise.
The orchid show and sale runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2. Admission is $8 for adults; children under 12 are free]]>
By: Jewel Levy | firstname.lastname@example.org December, 2013
Local plant enthusiasts are showing that Christmas tree decoration need not be all about tinsel and shiny baubles.
The Garden Club of Grand Cayman and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park are displaying Yuletide trees decorated with natural ornaments.
At the park’s gift shop entrance is a beach willow Christmas tree, one made from pieces of driftwood, another from coconut parts, one made from seashells, a regular pine tree and a live Australian “bunya bunya” tree.
The 20-foot-tall bunya bunya tree is decorated with garlands of sea grape tree leaves threaded with fishing line, twigs and other painted foliage.
“It is the largest living decorated Christmas Tree on display – that is, unless someone can prove otherwise,” said Mike Ferrero, the park’s assistant manger.
He explained that the tree’s cones, used by Australian aborigines, are a source of protein. “They would either eat [the cones] fresh, boiled, sprinkled with salt or buried them in the mud to preserve for later days,” he said.
The tree’s pine cones, about the size of an American football, fall to the ground and smash. The cone segments contains seeds the size of a chicken egg, shaped like a corn kernel.
The driftwood tree is made from collected driftwood. A dried juniper tree is decorated sea dollars and sea shells, while a dried Cayman agave hangs with star fish and conch shell horns.
“I think people should, if they can … grow their own Christmas tree.” Mr. Ferrero said. “There is so much you can do with it and you don’t have to worry about it spoiling, removing it, shredding or importation. It is something you can grow here and use all year round. It just takes a bit of pruning to keep it in shape.”
By: James Whittaker | email@example.com August, 2013
A small group of young volunteers is helping things run smoothly while learning some of the tricks of the trade at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
Wilson Dixon, Jovon Millwood, Julian Smith, Shaun Ebanks and Lewis Connolly, all 17, and Keiron Ebanks, 13, have been helping out at the park. Wilson started in February and since then, a full-scale volunteer program has evolved.
“Wilson’s kind nature is always welcomed by all staff from his first day,” said manager John Lawrus. “He has been involved in nearly all areas of work within the park, such as in the color garden, discovery garden and lakeside area.
“Wilson has strongly adapted into an environment of an organized volunteer experience program and performs well alongside all members of staff and other volunteers.”
Lewis volunteered on Sundays for four weeks, starting in September last year, and most recently in July for another four Sundays. He receives credits for his volunteer work from Triple C School. After graduation at the end of this school year, he hopes to enroll in the Cayman Islands Law School.
His father, Capt. Coolidge Connolly, who has a mango farm, “placed his son here to gain valuable work experience in the field of horticulture,” Mr. Lawrus said.
“Lewis has been involved in many different aspects of botanic garden work, including proper pruning techniques, as well as much of the work that goes on at our plant nursery.”
Mr. Lawrus said Lewis “is a polite young man,” who has a keen interest in horticulture.
North Side teenagers Jovon and Julian joined the program in June for the summer, putting in up to four days a week.
“Both of these young men have wonderful social skills and interact with all staff, and visitors at the Botanic Park are very proud of their accomplishments in such a short time,” Mr. Lawrus said.
Brothers Shaun and Keiron Ebanks also joined in July, volunteering two days per week.
“I have worked alongside the Ebanks brothers mainly in the nursery area, organizing and cleaning and introducing them to botanic garden nursery work,” Mr. Lawrus said. “In addition, Michael Ferrero, the deputy general manager, has taught them planting techniques in the color garden and in the front entrance area. Their youthful energy is a great addition to the volunteer program.”]]>
21 May, 2013
Retired civil servant and long-serving Chief Fire Officer Mr. Kirkland Nixon was honoured recently at the Queen Elizabeth Botanic Park in a ceremony that saw the Visitors’ Centre renamed for him.
A large granite sign marking The Kirkland Nixon Visitors’ Centre was unveiled by Mrs. Melba Nixon, wife of Mr. Nixon, and witnessed by several family members and a large group of friends, supporters and stakeholders in the tourism sector.
The renaming of the Visitors’ Centre was a project proposed by Tourism Attraction Board’s CEO Gilbert Connolly in December 2012, in “recognition of Mr. Nixon’s connections and contributions to the Botanic Park, his involvement and contribution to the community through service on numerous Government boards and committees.
Mr. Nixon served as the first chairman of the Steering Committee that was set up in 1994 to establish the Botanic Park and as chairman of the Tourism Attraction Board since 2002.
Acting as the Master of Ceremonies for the unveiling ceremony, Mr. Connolly told the gathering that the Botanic Park has been a success story and the product of 21 years of hard work, commitment and sacrifice by several individuals.
“It is that hard work and sacrifice that we acknowledge and it gives me a tremendous sense of pride to know that we are making this effort and taking the time to honour our own Caymanians who were dedicated to the development of the Botanic Park. Mr. Nixon provided the leadership for the development of the Park from its inception,” Mr. Connolly stated.
He also paid tribute to several other individuals who had been instrumental in the Park’s development. Special mention was made of Consuelo Ebanks, who served on the original committee to develop the Park, and who recently passed away.
A moment of silence was observed in Ms Ebanks’ honour. Also honoured were the other founding members the Botanic Park — Mrs. Karen Hunter, who served as the deputy chair and played a major role in the design of the Colour Garden, Harding Watler, Pat Ulett, Joyce Hilton, (deceased), Joseph Jackman, Theresa Leacock and Margaret Barwick.
By: Natasha Were | firstname.lastname@example.org May, 2013
Attention dads: this weekend it’s your turn to do the planning, organising and executing of family activities, while your spouse takes a well-earned rest.
Sunday is Mother’s Day, so the roles are reversed and mums get to sit back, relax and be spoiled.
Get in practice on Saturday and pack everyone into the car with sun hats, sunscreen and snacks and head out the Botanic Park.
There’s a family fun day and plant sale taking place on Saturday, from 9am to 3pm. It’s hosted by the Garden Club of Grand Cayman and promises to be fun for all ages.
The idea is to get kids interested in the great outdoors and the natural world. Garden Club members will help children paint and decorate natural objects like seeds and shells and a scavenger hunt will be organised and children given booklets to enhance their experience of the park.
Meanwhile, for adults there is a plant sale in the nursery, with 15 discount offered on all plants for mums. (If you forgot to buy a gift, it may not be too late …)
Kids will get to run around in the fresh air and parents can enjoy the peaceful natural surroundings. Refreshments will be provided and if you’re lucky you may just see blue iguana.
Admission to the Botanic Park will be reduced to $5 for adults and free for children under 12. The majority of proceeds will go to supporting the work of the Botanic Park and the colour garden.]]>
Orchid enthusiasts are looking forward to this weekend, but you don’t have to be a collector or cultivator to enjoy the annual Orchid Show at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park tomorrow and Sunday.
Hundreds of orchids will be available for purchase, but the event also gives spectators the extraordinary opportunity to examine a variety of orchids from privately-owned collections here in Cayman.
These plants will be gently transported from their customary environment in living rooms or shade houses to the visitors centre at the park. There they will be arranged by members of the Cayman Islands Orchid Society.
Members will also be on hand all weekend to answer queries from the public. The plants themselves will have labels with their name, thereby eliminating any need for the most obvious question.
In addition, the Cayman Islands Orchid Society will be having two to three demonstrations each day discussing orchid cultivation and care.
Orchids for purchase will be outside the visitors centre. More than 300 have been brought in from Hawaii, with more from Cayman’s traditional source, Claude Hamilton of Jamaica.
It was Mr. Hamilton who created a beautiful orchid and named it after the founding president of the Orchid Society, the late Joyce Hylton. It is hoped that this orchid will be part of the indoor display.
The orchid show opens at 9am each day and runs until 4.30pm. Admission is $8 and children under 12 are free of charge. There will be a barbecue each day from 11am to 3pm.
Visitors to the show who are thinking about buying an orchid for the first time will be grateful for tips from the general manager of the Botanic Park, John Lawrus. He suggests looking for healthy root development, making sure the leaves are free from any blemishes and that the growing points are not destroyed. Check the bulb or pseudo bulb to ensure it is healthy and fat if buying a Sympodial type orchid. Finally, John emphasises, try to make sure the plant has a specific name.
He also recommends visiting the Orchid Boardwalk, a few yards away, where hundreds of plants can be seen in a natural habitat.
The orchid show and sale is hosted as a fund-raising partnership between the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and the Cayman Islands Orchid Society.
25 January, 2013
As in mango trees, so in life: you won’t get anywhere without a bit of graft. – Photo: File
A special mango tree grafting workshop with the Botanic Park’s dynamic Mike Ferrero is filling up fast, our mates at the National Trust of the Cayman Islands tell us.
“This workshop was made possible thanks to the kind donation of mango trees by Troy Jacob,” explains Basia McGuire.
“Learn how to grow those mango trees you’ve always wanted and receive your very own grafted tree to take home. Participants must bring a suitable knife – we recommend a Stanley InterLock knife or Mintcraft snap-off blade which are available at most local hardware stores.”
The cost is $40 per person, which includes your tree.
The workshop takes place at Botanic Park Nursery on Saturday, 26 January from 9.30am to midday.
Please call 749-1124 or e-mail email@example.com to register.]]>