In order to raise awareness of the public about the importance of orchid conservation, APROVACA is constructing a new orchid conservation park on a 900 square-meter piece of land, which encompasses orchids endemic to Panama, a new orchid greenhouse, an environmental education center, an organic vegetable garden as well as various kinds of bromeliads. Below are some of its key features.
New orchid greenhouse
This greenhouse was completed in February 2011 with a generous donation from the San Diego County Orchid Society. Here we keep a large part our orchids. We nurture them here by watering them if it does not rain, clipping yellow leaves, and transferring them to new pots when necessary, etc. We use a variety of potting media (coconut, tree fern, rocks, charcoal, wood chips, even styrofoam) to pot orchids. Most species prefer a mix of materials that achieve a good balance of moisture retention and good drainage. Also, we plant orchids in plastic containers, clay pots, and coconut shells or hang them in baskets or on pieces of wood. When these plants develop flower buds, we put them in the exhibition of flowering orchids.
Vanda Miss Joaquim
This purple flower is called Vanda miss Joaquim. It is a natural hybrid that was named after Agnes Joaquim, an Armenian descendent residing in Singapore, who discovered the flower in her garden in 1896. Three years after that, she entered the species in an orchid show and won first prize. About a century later, the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid was chosen as the national flower of Singapore. It prefers full sun, and climbs like a vine that produces a purple flower at its tip. The best of all, it blooms throughout the year unlike the majority of orchid species.
Bromeliads, named after the Swedish botanist Olaf Bromelius, are plants indigenous to Central and tropical South America. More than 3,000 species have been identified so far. Bromeliad plants are evergreen and have long, spike-like leaves that begin at the ground and form a rosette with the flower rising from the center. The foliage is said to be more widely patterned and colored than any other plant in the world. Leaf colors range from maroon, red, yellow, white, cream to gold. There are some that are spotted with a different color, whereas others have different colors on the tops and bottoms of the leaves.
The bromeliad family includes both terrestrial and epiphytic species. While the former include very well known varieties, such as pineapples, the great majority of the local varieties belong to the epiphytic group. Indeed, you can find hundreds of bromeliads attached to trees or even telephone poles in El Valle and throughout Panama.