As told by Vicky Riley, Team Leader of Horticulture
and Horticulturist, Darryl Coombes – Orchid House
Here at the Orchid House we have five and a half thousand Orchids in the collection so there are between fifty and three hundred Orchids flowering at one time. There are a lot of different species and Hybrids. We try to specialise in species, as nature intended them to be.
At this time of year, we have hard cane Dendrobiums, Vanda’s, and the Cattleya alliance. At different times of year, we have a different genesis of orchids. We have slipper Orchids out at the moment as well, they are pretty special. The flower has very prominent labella, they are a tropical orchid with lush green leaves.
So what is an Orchid?
An Orchid is mostly epiphytic, meaning something that grows on a tree. They are a herbaceous plant and very unique as most have a male and a female flower component on the one plant. They are very attractive to the eye because they are zygomorphic, meaning they are symmetrical this makes them very attractive to humans, they also have an amazing flower. A lot of the flowers mimic insects and birds because that is their pollinator. We have some amazing Australian native Orchids that are terrestrial, this means they grow in the ground. Over on Fraser Island or Wullum country you will find the Flying Duck Orchid, this is a very famous Orchid. Orchids are sought after because they are different, and a little bit difficult to grow.
So you want to buy an Orchid for the home?
The best idea when buying an Orchid is to do your research and find out where it came from. The next trick is to mimic that natural environment. The best Orchid for the home would be a Phalaenopsis, they flower for such a long time, and they are also not expensive to buy. Dendrobiums are great too.
Here at the Orchid House, Orchids and plants are offered for sale throughout the year when available. The sale of the Orchids ensures that we are able to buy more Orchids for our collection.
We have one paid Horticulturist and twenty six volunteers just for the Orchid House and our Orchid Nursery. We have host volunteers that greet our visitors and a nursery team that grow and look after the orchids, our volunteers are very special people. If you are interested in becoming an Orchid House volunteer pop in and see us. More volunteers would mean that we can offer more services, we would love to open seasonally on weekends, offer more tours, run more education programs and continue to take good care of our natural areas.
We are working on our schedule of events at the moment but can tell you that we will be having a wide variety of events to suit everybody. Christel Schrank will be talking about the food forest and edible plants. Doug Irvine will talk about native bees, we will hear from a frog expert, conduct potting workshops, and of course, we will run our very popular botanic garden open day, You can also take advantage of our guided tours that are available for groups, and once a month we conduct charity tours, so keep an ear out for those. We have some exciting projects planned so please stay tuned. For more information on upcoming events and workshops held at Orchid House and the Botanic Gardens go to the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens Face-book page or pop on to the Fraser Coast Regional Council web-page.
We believe that we are a hidden gem of Hervey Bay. For such a small entry fee you can explore the Orchid House enjoy a cup of tea or coffee get to speak to a passionate volunteer. And see some amazing flowers. At one of the best Orchid Houses in Australia.
The Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens are open daily
from 6.30am to 8.30pm
Admission is free
The Orchid House is open
Monday to Thursday
9am to 2.45pm
Friday: 9am to 2.30pm
Cost: $2.50 – This includes tea/coffee
Elizabeth St, Urangan, Hervey Bay