Want to See Thousands of Orchid Blooms? Spend A Day At Purdon
Visiting the Purdon Conservation Area (near Ottawa) is a great way to improve your mental and physical health: take your kids on self-guided hikes through an uplands (hardwood) forest and see a real Canadian beaver pond. Enjoy “extreme” birding along the boardwalk of a rare Fen wetland and see endangered species regenerating, like the tree-kissing Woodpecker and butternut trees.
For three weeks in June, you’ll even get to see Joe Purdon’s legacy, and an inspiring example of fostering growth on your land: the famous fen of Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchids. Mr. Purdon discovered a small cluster of native orchids in the 1930’s and grew the colony to over 16 000 blooms. His generous deed teaches the importance of nourishing the land to improve life for residents who arrive after you.
From the end of Spring to the beginning of Fall, the Purdon Conservation Area (Ontario) is open Dawn till Dusk, Monday through Sunday.
- Free parking.
- Admission by donation.
- Fully accessible boardwalk, washroom, parking and picnic area.
- Check out the complete list of amenities or get an overview of Purdon’s terrain and trails with this printable Purdon Conservation Area Trail Map.
Printable Brochures for Self Guided Tours
Orchid Colony Management
MVCA manages the colony based on recommendations outlined in the Purdon Conservation Area management plan most recently updated in 2006, A New Management Plan for the Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Ted Mosquin, Liz Brown 2006).
The active management of the site consists of some tree clearing to allow more light into the fen, water level management through beaver pond also known as Purdon Lake, and hand pollination. These orchids don’t attract insects like other flowers; hand pollination helps ensure the seeds are propagated.
It can take up to 15 years for new plants to bloom so measuring of progress can be a slow process. This summer a group of orchid specialists will undertake a full census of the fen to record the number of blooms this season. This is done once every five years to track bloom success on the site.
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