Curtis Lutchman, may soon have to build a separate room in his San Juan home to stash the scores of trophies and awards he and his son Stephan have won at orchid shows in the last eight years. The father and son duo plan to bring home more awards next month when they participate in the Miami International Orchid show on October 1. Last year they won several awards including the first place for the Best International Display. Lutchman, 46, said his passion for growing orchids began in 1987 as a hobby and blossomed into a profitable business that he handily couples with his wedding decor company. He started entering local competitions staged by the T&T Orchid Society (TTOS) in 1991 and has won several local awards.
Lutchman is an active member of the TTOS and has represented this country at international competitions with displays featuring hybrids he developed in his lab. He pays his way to represent T&T at international shows and does not get any funding from the state. In the past two decades he has painstakingly cross-bred several varieties of orchids to create 500 new breeds and has registered 50. The hybrid orchids of which he is extremely proud is a rare burgundy and yellow beauty that’s named after him—Dendrobium Curtis Lutchman.
Twenty-year-old Stephan got interested in orchids at the age of 12 and has been keenly interested ever since. “Orchids are not merely flowers for decoration but can be a profitable hobby that many young people can get involved in. “It allows for creativity and allows may youths to get involved with nature and the environment in a personal way.” Orchids are very attractive flowers, but are not always easy to grow. The older Lutchman advised passionate flower lovers to do their research before getting involved in orchids. “Undertake a level of research before coughing up hundreds of dollars to purchase plants which can sell between $100- $3000 each depending on the variety. Some imported plants may not be able to thrive under local climatic conditions and some newcomers may rush to purchase diseased plants if they are not careful.”
While several local orchids as the Cedros Bee Orchid (Oncidium lanceanum) and the Butterfly Orchid (Psychopsis Papilio) may be stunning beauties, Ramoutar warned against purchasing these since removing them from forests is illegal and the plants would stand a slim chance of survival because of the change in climatic conditions from the forest to a household environment. He said it was also important to learn about pest and disease control and the importance of setting up a proper greenhouse for the plants. My love for my flowers and the creation of beautiful living works of art are paramount to me and I need to show the world what I can do with flowers.”
Some the Lutchmans awards since last year include:
Redlands Orchid Show, Homestead Florida - Award of Merit by the American Orchid Society for Best Ascocenda.
Specie Symposium, Fairchild Gardens, Miami - Three American Awards.
Miami International Orchid Show - Best Display (for display featuring cut flowers grown in T&T) and American Orchid Society Award of Merit (for display with plants)
East Everglades Show - Six crystal/porcelain trophies, five silver medals and four bronze medals.
TTOS Show, NAPA - Five awards.
TTOS Show - Five crystal trophies in different categories, including the Best Large display.