Monday, 15 September 2008

Garden Club Meeting

My garden is photogenic. It looks good in picturesWhich is both a good and a bad thing because it does not always look as spry in the cold light of day. And since I stopped spraying with insecticides...well let's just say I'm losing the battle with the wilderbeasts. Sometimes after a long season of rain, I can only see the bare spots where I've lost my grass, or the acalypha that have been ravaged by the batchacs. And after weeks of torrential rain, I was on the verge of handing out snorkels and flippers when the Garden Club of Trinidad arrived to visit yesterday morning. It is always a pleasure to host this club because they are a group of very good gardeners; stalwarts such as Sandy Gibson with his remarkable orchid knowledge;Peter Moll from San Antonio Farms and his wife Chancy, who is a very able president amd who makes presenting look like a walk in the park.You can ask questions about particular problems that you may be having with a difficult plant.

Yes, it did rain but we had brilliant (scorching) sun in the morning before the heavens opened. The showbench theme of the month was pink and people came with their beautiful euphorbias...bromeliads...

orchids...heliconias...and foliage.
And even plants that were not pink came to show off their finery. George de Verteuil brought an exquisite example of a "bleeding heart" vine.And it was lovely to see Joanne de Gannes out looking so lovely. She is one of the most talented landscapers in Trinidad and Tobago and to see her put a garden together is a privilege. She has been ill and I know what an effort it was to make out to the meeting.

Her daughter Jeannine is the artist and the solid production manager of the Club's annual and much anticipated Calendar - Gardening In Trinidad.

Holy Ghost Orchid

Yesterday I was lucky to come across a very unusual orchid. Just one of those fortuitous moments. The Garden Club of Trinidad visited my garden yesterday and I was suitably humbled in the face of some seriously knowledgeable gardeners. The show bench theme was anything pink. But Sandy Gibson, one of Trinidad and Tobago's leading orchid experts, arrived with a spray from the Holy Ghost Orchid. Which was not pink but is so beautiful and rare that it trumped all other entrants. The Holy Ghost Orchid or the Dove Orchid as it is sometimes known, is the national flower of Panama.
I found it difficult to believe that anyone's national flower could end up being on the seriously endangered list but according to Wikepedia, the Holy Ghost orchid aka ...(Familia: Orchidaceae Subfamilia: Epidendroideae • Tribus: Maxillarieae • Subtribus: Coeliopsidinae • Genus: Peristeria (Orchidaceae) Species: Peristeria elata Hook. )(1831) is over-collected in its natural habitat..... This over collection has led to its status as a species threatened with extinction delineated in Appendix I of CITES. In its native habitat, Peristeria can usually be found growing near the edge of hardwood forests. In the fall, after the trees in the hardwood forest lose their leaves, the plants are exposed to full sun throughout the cool, dry winter. Species in this genus are either epiphytic or terrestrial in growth habit.

The orchid goes by the name dove orchid because of the distinct dove-like appearance of the interior of the bloom.

It is also beautifully scented. And after being passed around, the general consensus was that the smell is distinctly pomerac-like with a delicate rose-tinged perfume.