The connotation of exclusivity that orchids and their cultivation carry is reflected in the fact that they are some of the most exquisite and expensive flowers in the world.
For Florence Wood, 76, of Bodden Town, growing orchids is a fascinating hobby she has grown to love. Defying any elitist stereotypes, the orchid aficionado is utterly down to earth when it comes to discussing her treasured plants.
“My orchids are just like mischievous little children. When the wind blows and I don’t watch them, they will tear each other’s blooms off,” she said.
“That’s when I have to change the baskets round to give them space to play and frolic.”
In Ms. Wood’s garden on Carmen Boulevard there are many other types of plants, such as ferns, lilies, bougainvillea and showers of gold, but these days it’s the orchids that are the real stars.
Ms. Wood said she always liked gardening but she did not get started growing orchids until fairly recently, after she collected some orchid clippings from her sister.
“My sister called one day to say she needed help with re-potting, and when I finished I saved the clippings and brought the little pieces home and sprouted them,” she said.
“My orchid hobby started from there – that was about five to six years ago,” she said.
This year’s flowers are only now coming into full bloom due to the cool weather.
March is the peak of blooming season for many orchids. Most are of easy culture and bloom in March, although depending on weather conditions in any given year, blooming season can be earlier or later for any species or hybrid. But overall, according to the American Orchid Society, the most common reason that orchids fail to bloom is insufficient light.
Ms. Wood’s orchids actually require little care. Just four times a year, she sprays them with a mist of water mixed with plant food.
“Orchids are considered air plants so instead of watering them, I give them a blast of mist,” said Ms. Wood.
Around the property, orchids that are not affixed to trees hang in pots from the branches of a neem tree in Ms. Wood’s front yard, producing a kaleidoscope of colors; others sit in pots around the garden.
“When members of the Cayman Orchid Society came by, they said they never saw orchid stems looking so large and beautiful,” said Ms. Wood.
“I could only say it must be the nutrients they are getting from the neem tree.”
Ms. Wood’s passion, like her flowers, only continues to grow as each year passes.
“Orchids are my pride and joy,” she said.
“I just play with them … they love me and I love them back. None answer back, they just turn and show me their beautiful colors.”