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Orchids for show and grow

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Botanic Park general manager John Lawrus says orchid purchasers should look for healthy root growth. – Photo: Carol Winker

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.

orchid creatureOrchids 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.

orchid joyceHe 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.

 

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