Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 2nd 2013 Contents A38
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Asked how much control he had over the physical
characteristics of the hybrids, Lutchman said while
it involves in-depth study of genetics, a lot of the
process comes down to speculation.
"We can only speculate by knowing the genetic
structure of the plant and the parentage of both
plants and we know if we cross them the probability
that we will get. If we plan to grow 200 plants, we
can tell you, well, we will get 50 per cent of them
being red, which we are breeding for, some will turn
out brown, some purple. It all depends."
Many of his hybrids have won awards interna-
tionally and he believes there is a need to recognise
that when a hybrid is registered and awarded, it
become exclusive to the country it was bred in. Lutch-
man has funded his breeding projects and competition
fees on his own throughout his career but he admits
that it becomes very expensive to register new hybrids.
Generally a hybrid name consists of the two parent
plants species names combined but in many instances
the new plant carries a name given by the breeder
who first developed it.
Lutchman is a member of the T&T Orchid Society
(TTOS) and is currently preparing for its autumn
show, which is set to take place at Napa in Port-of-
Spain during the first week in October. The following
weekend, he will participate in the Miami International
Orchid Show, where he will put on a display in cut
flowers as well as a potted-plant display. Last year,
he won several awards at the event, including the
first-place trophy for the best international display.
Preparation for a show begins two months in
advance, but the flowers aren t cut until the morning
before he travels to the competition venue.
Asked whether he sees a lot of interest in gardening
in T&T, Lutchman said there was need to foster a
love and proper understanding of what gardening
"The first thing you need is the love of it," he said.
"A lot of people try to get into it for the money and
they get frustrated after a while, because it is not a
thing you just jump in and make a lot of money.
Especially with orchids because they take a long time
But he assures that he s not a part of some sort
of gardening elite. He is willing to offer advice to
amateur gardeners looking to better their craft. On
Saturdays, he hosts free consultations at his home
where people can come in by appointment
and ask any questions they may have on
how to care for a particular plant. He also
receives frequent calls from university-level
students looking for information on genetics
for their thesis.
Lutchman says young people with an
interest in gardening are not a rare species
and long gone is the stereotype of gardeners
as elderly women in oversized hats and
gloves pruning and pottering around their
bushes. Lutchman s 21-year-old son has
been working with him in the garden since
he was 12, and also travels with him to inter-
national flower shows. At these shows, he
sees many other young people with a passion
for buying and collecting plants.
He admits, however, that many people
still see gardening as something laborious
and it is not seen as a viable career option.
"People don t see it as a career option,
because I don t think we are encouraged to
even go in that direction. For years I have
been asking the agriculture ministry for
land space to lease and from administration
to administration it has been ignored."
Lutchman said while the University of
the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine doesn t
offer a programme in horticulture, students
are hesitant to take up study in related pro-
grammes like agriculture and forestry
because they are not sure they will be able
to secure jobs afterwards. And he says the
lack of support for horticulture in T&T
doesn t stop there.
Within the last ten years that he has com-
peted at the Miami International Orchid
Show, he has been hired by several US-
based companies to compete in the com-
petition on their behalf.
"Over the last five years, we have started
representing T&T at the show, but it is out
of our own pockets. Every year we have
Continues on Page A39
From Page A37
Very expensive to register new hybrids
Curtis Lutchman with one of his hybrid orchids, an
Ascocenda Tan Siew Im which he calls Curtis' Sun
Spots, at his home in San Juan.
PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
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