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Edison, Ford Winter Estates to host orchid symposium

By Staff | Oct 1, 2019

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers is partnering with the Southwest Florida Orchid Society for the inaugural Orchid Sale and Symposium on Oct. 12-13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Experts will give free seminars on growing and caring for orchids, and several orchid vendors from around the state will have exotic and Florida native orchids for sale.

Parking and admission to the event is free.

The seminar schedule is as follows:

Oct. 12

* “Orchid Basics” (John Hampton) at 10 a.m.

* “Which orchids should I grow in Florida” (John Hampton) at 11 a.m.

* “Orchid Mounting Demonstration” (Gary Murza) at 1 p.m.

* “Orchid Pests Overview” (Gary Murza) at 2 p.m.

Oct. 13

* “Basics of Repotting” (John Hampton) at 11 a.m.

* “Orchids in the Landscape at Edison Ford” (Debbie Hughes) at 1 p.m.

* “Which Orchids should I grow in Florida” (John Hampton) at 2 p.m.

* “Air Plant Artistry” (Betty Ann Prevatt) at 3 p.m.

Participating vendors include Blue Pagoda, Evolution Orchids, Sunland Orchids, Red Hawk Orchids, Orchids Amour, Tropiflora and more. Also, orchids and other types of plants will be available in the Edison Garden Shoppe.

Orchids have a long history in Florida and at the Estates. Orchids were Mina Edison’s favorite flowers and she attached them to trees on her Fort Myers property, just as they grew wild in the Everglades. Today, that tradition continues and visitors can see many types of orchids growing from the trees all around the site. Orchids thrive growing under tree canopies, as they receive just the right amount of light and rain water. Throughout the site, there is usually an orchid blooming every day, all year long.

Horticulture expert Henry Nehrling and botanist John Kunkel Small visited Thomas and Mina Edison and gave them gifts of orchids. Nehrling himself spoke to the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs in 1929 and stated, “I am to report the epiphytic plants (orchids, bromeliads and ferns) were growing with exceptional vigor throughout the (Edison’s) property.”

“Collecting and growing orchids is a wonderful hobby that gives pleasure to snowbirds, long-time residents and those new to the area,” Horticulture Director Debbie Hughes said. “Orchids like heat and humidity, so here in Southwest Florida, we have the perfect climate for them.”

A limited number of carts will be available, so guests are encouraged to bring a cart or wagon for transporting plants. Also, a designated plant holding tent and loading spot will be offered.

Food vendors will also be on site.

For more information, call 239-334-7419 or visit www.edisonford.org.