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Delicate beauty: ‘Orchids in Wonderland’ offers NM-specific info on unique plants

Step into a utopia of orchids and learn how to care for the delicate plants during “Orchids in Wonderland.”

The event, which runs today through Sunday, May 13, will feature a display of orchids in an “Alice in Wonderland”-inspired theme. The orchids are grown by New Mexico Orchid Guild members. Guild members’ orchids will be judged and awarded ribbons if they are worthy. The guild and Santa Fe’s New Earth Orchids also will be selling special varieties of the unique plants. Eventgoers also are encouraged to bring in their orchids, which need repotting. They will be repotted by Guild members at the event.

Regardless of your orchid knowledge there is something for everyone at Orchids in Wonderland, including educational lectures, children’s projects, and potting supplies.

“We’ve got ‘Orchid Growing in New Mexico,’ so they will be talking about humidity and the light that we have here, aspects of that,” said Kelly McCracken, show publicity chair. “And then we’ll have orchid culture based on what they look like, so I’m titling that one ‘Orchids Can Talk,’ so that will be about how you can sort of tell how to take care of an orchid based on what it looks like and the different features and organs that it has.”

Everybody who volunteers at the show is able to answer questions on orchids and has experience growing orchids in the local climate. Orchid doctors also will be at the event.

“(An orchid doctor is) an experienced grower who is able to look at an orchid more or less identify what it is and see if there’s any problem with that,” McCracken said. “So they’re going to be able to identify it, they’re going to be able to tell you how to take care of it, what kind of culture it needs and if there’s something wrong with it whether it has a bug or a root rot problem, something like that. They will be able to tell you how you can take care of that and suggest what you can do for it. Of course, answering the age-old question of, why isn’t it blooming? How can I make it bloom?”

Anyone who wants to learn more about orchids can attend New Mexico Orchid Guild meetings, which usually occur the second Sunday of every month at the Albuquerque Garden Center. Most meetings are geared toward new growers. There are always veteran guild members present to answer questions. A growers forum, which focuses on an aspect of growing, is held before meetings. Forum themes range from watering to lighting. Two or three internationally known guests also come to speak each year.

“We generally get quite a few new members at the show, so the meetings are subsequent to the show,” said Keith Mead, president of New Mexico Orchid Guild. “They are geared toward beginning growers to help them out.”