Orchidelirium at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
“An orchid in a deep forest sends out its fragrance even if no one is around to appreciate it.”
From London to New York to Grand Cayman, luxurious shows attracting millions of people are held annually all over the world during the spring in celebration of the orchid.
Orchidelirium is the name given to the Victorian era of flower madness when collecting and discovering orchids reached extraordinary high levels, and it’s alive and thriving in the Cayman Islands.
Step into a world of stunning colour at the annual Orchid Show and Fundraising Sale, which will be held once again at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park on Saturday, April 6th and Sunday, April 7th from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
Elusive, desirable, gorgeous, complex, delicate and refined, one could argue that these hothouse flowers are the very embodiment of luxury. So, you might be surprised to learn that while considered exotic, orchids are actually not all that rare.
The orchid is the most common flowering plant on Earth and experts believe they have been around for at least 80 million years. The number of orchid species is twice the number of bird species and four times the number of mammal species. It is estimated that there are more than 28,000 species of orchid, which are found in almost all environments and the Cayman Islands boasts a number of these spectacular flowers, including 26 different varieties of orchids.
The official flower of the Cayman Islands is the wild banana orchid, which is only found in the Cayman Islands. This wild flower is unique in that it grows on another plant, but does not harm it in the way a parasitic plant would. Its tiny seeds are dispersed by currents and they settle and germinate on a host plant, usually a tree with rough bark such as Whitewood, Mahogany or Logwood. The growing orchids cling to its hosts bark by its roots, which absorb water and nutrients from the rain when it runs down the branches and trunk of the supporting tree.
A collaborative effort between the Cayman Islands Orchid Society and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, this year’s show promises to be the biggest since its inception. Hundreds of orchids imported from the USA, Hawaii and Jamaica will be on sale; such as the largest selection of Vandaceous orchids ever available, hundreds of blooming Phalaenopsis, along with Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Encyclia and many more.
“Over the years, funds raised from the sale of the orchids, as well as donations from members, have assisted with the development and maintenance of the Boardwalk at the Botanic park,” said Orchid Society member, Delorese Ebanks. “Additionally, the orchid show attracts a large population of the community to the Park and this year the proceeds go towards the continued development of the orchid conservation area.”
Bring the family and spend the day enjoying the beautiful and natural flora of the Park. The Visitor Centre will be transformed into an impressive exhibition of Orchid Society Members’ plants, set among a beautifully designed back drop created and donated by Sticks & Stones.
Attendees can also learn more about the care and culture of these amazing plants and the conservation of Cayman’s native orchids by attending a variety of educational talks. Visit the orchid conservation area and Boardwalk and then enjoy a lunch of jerk BBQ and local drinks. Of course, a visit to the orchid sale cannot be missed where hundreds of orchids will be available to purchase.
The Orchid Show and Sale is one of the busiest days at the park so make sure you get there early.
“The show is another great event to bring the community together while at the same time promoting the education and conservation of Cayman’s native orchids. The public as always supported the show and it has become an annual event they look forward to every year,” added Ms. Ebanks.
Opened in 1994, the Botanic Park is owned jointly by the Cayman Islands Government and the National Trust for the Cayman Islands – a nonprofit, statutory body dedicated to preserving natural environments and places of historic significance in the Cayman Islands for present and future generations. The Botanic Park is located in the district of North Side on Frank Sound Road.
Admission is $5.00 for adults and children under 12 are free. For more information call 947-9462 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com