With orchids galore, it's a splendid festival

Friday, March 12, 2010

A cart of orchids about to go home
with Giovanna Abreu and Edith

Neighbors Giovanna Abreu and Edith LaRiva drove in from Doral and were bargaining hard Friday afternoon at Fairchild’s 8th International Orchid Festival. “We come every year; we wait for it,’’ Giovanna said.

Sissy Scott drove from Orlando and sat with a full cart of orchids in the early afternoon with her friend Lori Godinez. “I’m just starting out,’’ Sissy said. “I have 15 or 18 orchids. My best friend Lori has taught me how to grow them. I have them on my porch in Orlando.’’

Lori’s cart contained a huge Cattleya guatemalensis destined for one of the hooks on her back fence.

“My husband says, ‘I hate this,’” she said. “Then he’s out there with the hose watering. I say ‘What are you doing?’ and he says, ‘Protecting my investment.’”

Shopping at Water Orchids were Roma Laurent and Antoinette Etienne, who confessed they come

Roma Laurent, left, and Antoinette
Etienne buying orchids Friday.

every year from North Miami. "I have a yard but not a shade house,'' Antoinette said. "I hang orchids in the trees."

Orchid flowers reflecting every color of the
rainbow are displayed in the Garden House.

Inside the Garden House, the Orchid Society of Coral Gables and nurseryman Tod Anderson created a lovely central display, complete with waterfalls. One glorious orchid after another is highlighted among the bottle palms and ferns of the tropical setting. Commercial vendors built tabletop displays, filling in the perimeter of the Garden House with perfectly grown flowers -- despite the cold weather this winter. Robert Randall of Carib Plants outdid himself and won a gold medal from the American Orchid Society judges for his exquisite display.  Check it out and be wowed.

Carib Plants won a gold medal for
this tabletop display.

Lectures will go on all day Saturday and Sunday, so you can buy an orchid and learn how to grow it, or visa versa. Saturday I’ll be signing Growing Orchids in South Florida, the second in a series of handbooks we’re developing around the theme Gardening with Fairchild.

Oh yes, about all that liquid sunshine. It is supposed to disappear Saturday and Sunday, and the forecast is for perfectly beautiful weather.  Join us!