Saturday, February 22, 2020

A Celebration of All Things Orchid


Submitted Photo


Naples Botanical Garden is excited to present its annual Orchid Fest, a two-week affair running February 14–28, including the Naples Orchid Society’s Show & Sale February 22–23. The festival celebrates the allure of these prized flowers and offers ways for everyone in the family to experience them. 

Embedded in the festival are several potential stories we’d like to share. Please let us know which one(s) best fit your audience and reporting needs. We can accommodate journalists during the event or arrange interviews, visual opportunities, and demonstrations in advance. 

The Event 

Live coverage opportunities abound during the festival, which expanded from one week to two based on response to last year’s inaugural event. Each day is packed with demonstrations ranging from orchid care to landscaping tips to orchid art. In addition, staff will lead six daily tours dedicated to this beloved epiphyte. 

The Naples Orchid Society’s Show, “Wild About Orchids,” will run during the festival’s second weekend, February 22–23, and will spotlight prize-winning orchids of many species and hybrids. During those two days, exhibitors will showcase everything from floor-sized artistic displays to cut orchid flower arrangements. Six vendors will have plants available for sale, with Orchid Society members on hand to answer questions about orchid care. 

How to Care for and Landscape with Your Orchids 

In the last decade, orchids have become a staple of supermarkets and home improvement stores. Despite their popularity, some would-be buyers find their delicate beauty downright intimidating. 

Fear not! Orchids are easier to care for than you think. Garden staff will lead talks such as “So You Purchased an Orchid—Now What?” and offer tips to make sure even orchid rookies succeed. 

Ready to try your hand at growing them outside? Horticulturalists can offer your audience a primer on how to use orchids to enhance your yard, patio or lanai. Festival demonstrations include instructions on how to mount orchids in trees or affix them to other natural materials, such as driftwood. 

Orchid Artistry 

Orchids are works of art unto themselves, but they can be incorporated into visual and wearable art in different ways. Discover “Kokedama,” the Japanese practice of growing flowers encased in a moss-covered ball of soil. Learn how to make beautiful hairpieces from orchid blooms or use them to inspire living jewelry creations. Members of our horticulture staff will lead these demonstrations, showcasing their gardening knowledge and creativity. 

The Science of Orchids 

In the lab that Naples Botanical Garden shares with Florida Gulf Coast University, you’ll find hundreds of petri dishes. The Garden’s Director of Collections Nick Ewy, an expert in orchids and other epiphytes, is testing how to grow orchid seeds collected from the Garden’s Preserve. He’ll pot the successful sprouts, tend to them in the nursery and eventually introduce them to the Garden’s native Florida habitat, which includes an orchid boardwalk where guests can safely experience Florida’s swamps and their foliage. 

Orchids are complex, with specialized habitats, pollinators and fungi that the microscopic seeds need in order to grow. While hybridized orchids are increasingly common, those collected in their native habitats, such as the ones in Ewy’s lab, are not. 

Ewy can explain the process and challenges of growing these orchids from seeddiscuss the variety of Florida native orchids he’s growing, talk about the role orchids play in the ecosystem and what makes these plants so unique. 

Please note: This angle is best pursued in advance of the event. 

Orchid Facts: 

  • About 10% of all plant species are orchids. 
  • Orchids are the largest plant families worldwide with nearly 25,000 species of wild orchids and 10 times as many known hybrid varieties. 
  • North America is home to more than 200 orchid species; more than half of which are endangered or threatened somewhere within their native range. 
  • Orchids boast an array of evolutionary features; some even mimic the appearance and scent of bees and wasps to attract “mates” to pollinate their flowers. 
  • Vanilla is an orchid! 
  • Collier County was made famous in the 1998 book The Orchid Thief. 
  • Naples Botanical Garden has some 5,000 orchids in its collections, representing more than 1,600 different species, hybrids and varieties.   

For more information on Naples Botanical Garden, please visit naplesgarden.org/media, or contact info@naplesgarden.org or 2396437275. 

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