From Friday the 24rd of October to Sunday the 26th, Alajuela had their annual orchid exposition, which includes displays and awards as well as a few lectures on growing orchids and a section for sale or auction. As James and I have written before, Xandari has a wonderful collection of this family of flowers in addition to the general gardens thanks to the industrious efforts of our head gardener, José Luis Ballestero. He has a little greenhouse near Xandari’s restaurant with about a hundred plants that are often in varying stages of development, depending on how much time he has to prune them.
The three photos above are examples of some of the orchids on display in Xandari’s common area, like the reception, lobby, and restaurant room. At the expo this weekend, there were dozens of species and hundreds of individual plants, including hybrids, miniature flowers, and some fantastically strange orchids that I had never even imagined before. Prizes in the form of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-place ribbons went out to exemplary individual orchids and a grand prize of a nice wooden trophy was awarded to the best overall orchid. José Luis received two ribbons for one species of orchid with long lateral petals, which he was happy about because the past two years he hasn’t had as much time as he’d like to take care of his plants and do as well in the expo competition as he used to (he’s been breeding the flowers for the past thirty years).
Xandari’s gardens, as they have for the past several years, provided the green background foliage for the expo, which gave everything a nice local backdrop. Here’s photos of the gymnasium before and after the flowers themselves were added (in the before pictures, it’s just Xandari’s foliage).