Jurahame Leyva, who specialized in Lady Slippers, will discuss his novel approach to growing at the Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club’s monthly meeting on March 12 in Honalo.
Leyva grew up in Volcano and Kurtistown and graduated from Keaau High School in 2011. He is studying both tropical horticulture and astronomy at the University of Hilo and plans to graduate in 2015. The recipient of a scholarship from the Hilo Orchid society, Leyva has grown orchids for many years and has been involved in the society for 10 years.
“He will undoubtedly make a large contribution to our island agriculture community when he finishes his studies,” said HOS spokeswoman Sheryl Rawson.
Leyva first became interested with orchids at a young age.
“The first time I became involved with orchids was on an interisland trip,” said Jurahame’s mother, Rachel. “Like many parents traveling I was prompted to bring home a gift by my son. Jurahame was just six years old and asked if I would bring him an orchid plant from the plant sale I was attending. At the sale I found a very lovely pale blue Cattleya.
“I gave that plant an 80-20 chance of survival. 80% chance that it wouldn’t make it. Not because I didn’t think he was capable of growing it, on the contrary. But because there were a host of elements working against him, not the least of which were a flock of ravenous free range chickens and a litter of rambunctious kittens. Notwithstanding the deck being stack against him, he prevailed.
“Some months passed after the initial bloom when he brought the small potted Cattleya to show me. It had bloomed again and he was beaming! Right then and there I knew I was in trouble. He had succumbed to orchid fever.
“Many years have passed since that day and my son is still growing orchids. His love of orchids has enabled him to meet many wonderful people and we are forever grateful for all the support and encouragement they have given over the years.”
The Leyvas recently released a 46-page book titled “Growing Orchids – A Picture Guide: How We Grow Orchids in Our Hawaii Garden”, which is available online at amazon.com or though their website at http://www.hawaii-gardener.com/