Purdon Orchids Almost at Peak

Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchid blooms slightly ahead of schedule

 June 24, 2016, Carleton Place — With the hot, dry weather the Mississippi Valley watershed has been experiencing over the past several weeks, the Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchid blooms at Purdon Conservation Area are nearing their peak a little early this year.

“There is still plenty of time to visit the site which, at 16,000 blooms, is renowned for having the largest colony of Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchids in the country,” said Community Relations Coordinator Shannon Gutoskie. “Purdon is a “Seven Wonder of Lanark County” and is owned and operated by Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA). As a water management organization, we are responsible for 410 hectares of conservation area lands across the Mississippi River watershed.”

The orchid colony exists today thanks to the care and cultivation of Mr. Joe Purdon—the conservation area is a truly amazing legacy of this local stewardship pioneer. After purchasing the property in 1984 with the help of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, MVCA pledged to preserve the site for public enjoyment.

The conservation authority cares for the colony following a management plan created by Ted Mosquin, a well-known ecologist, who has volunteered his expertise since the mid-1980’s. The active management of the site consists of some tree clearing to allow more light into the fen, water level management through the beaver pond (also known as Purdon Lake) and hand pollination.

“This unique wetland habitat is located north of the village of Lanark off County Road 8,” said Gutoskie. “Visitors can stroll along the boardwalk for an up close view of the flowers; interpretive signs lead you through the site identifying plants and wildlife; discover the woodland that surrounds the wetland and orchid colony by walking the 1.3 kilometre forest trail; stop for a rest and a picnic beside Purdon Lake. The boardwalk, parking lot and washrooms are wheelchair accessible and bus tours are welcome. Admission is by donation.”

For more information, including maps and directions, visit www.mvc.on.ca/places-to-see/purdon/. For the latest updates, call our hotline at 613-253-1756 and choose option 4.

MVCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in Ontario. Formed in 1968, MVCA’s mandate is to manage the watershed’s resources in partnership with our eleven member municipalities and the Province of Ontario. For more information, visit www.mvc.on.ca, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.


Shannon Gutoskie
Community Relations Coordinator
613-253-0006 ext. 225



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