The Annual orchid Show at the Botanic Park opened on Saturday 8th March. The event, which is now in its 12th year, drew record crowds.
Park Manager Andrew Guthrie explained, ‘There are 30,000 species of orchids and well over 100,000 cultivars or hybrids. Some are very easy to grow and some are very difficult. Most of the orchids that we feature here at the show are the easier types of orchids to grow.’
The main exhibit was on display in the visitors centre and there was also a wide variety of orchids for sale including some that have not been available before.
‘They have a reputation for being rare and exotic so people are afraid to grow them, but if you pick the correct orchid for your conditions they can grow very easily year after year after year.’
Cayman has 26 orchids which are considered ‘native’ and there was a display of these as well. Some of them are quite common and well known, like the ‘Banana Orchid,’ but there are also some incredible rarities such as the leafless ‘Ghost Orchid.’ ‘It looks like a rope growing in the tree,’ said Andrew Guthrie. ‘It is related to the ‘Vanilla Orchid’ that you actually use in cooking and in flavouring. The native one has a beautiful flower but it doesn’t produce the vanilla pod for cooking.’
Mr. Kirkland Nixon, Cayman’s resident expert on orchids was on hand to give demonstrations on how to grow and take care of them. He personally has a collection of thousands of orchids and is the current President of the Orchid Society.