Saturday, April 30, 2011

FINCA DRACULA - THE ORCHIDS

This week the Love to Garden Club of Boquete took a field trip to Finca Dracula one of the largest collections of orchids in the Americas,.  Located on the other side of Volcan Baru from Boquete, it is above Cerro Punta, the highest town in the country.  We took the spectacular new Ruta Sur (Southern Route) highway, a major shortcut through some of the main agricultural areas of the country.  The original immigrants to this area were Swiss and German.  One can see why this mountainous landscape appealed to them.

The Finca (farm) gets its name from the Dracula family of orchids which are cultivated there.  Of the 189 known species of Dracula, they have over 150.  Many other species are also represented.  We learned that it takes several years for an orchid to bloom from seed.  They use various methods of propagation and produce many hybrids from selective fertilizations.

Finca Dracula was established in 1969, after the founder visited Thailand and fell in love with orchids.  He has played a major role in preservation of rare species of orchids, as well as in discovery of new species.  The lovely grounds, which feature many plants besides orchids, were landscaped by the best garden designer in Panama and feature several levels and waterfalls.  For more information, see their website.

Here are just a few of the pictures I took of their orchids.  Unfortunately I don't know the names of most of them, so we will just have to appreciate them for their beauty.  Images from the grounds are in the later entry.








































Some of my favorites were the miniatures, whose blooms were often less than 1/4" across:



I hope you enjoyed this vicarious show of Finca Dracula's orchids.  And I hope you get to visit there yourself someday.

-bjd

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