For that very purpose, some orchids even drop all their leaves while in bloom, just like a rose-coloured hanging orchid we see here. Valtl Raffeiner removes some of the dried-up blossoms. For five years now, the orchid enthusiast has been collecting specimens from all around the world to test them for durability and marketability in the park’s own lab. “That’s my daughter Barbara’s job. She studied genetics and now runs our own lab”, the proud dad tells us. That is where Raffeiner’s orchids are cultivated as well. “From the seed to the first blossoms takes about five years”, he explains.
Past banana trees and across a suspension bridge we go, ending up in front of a head-high map of the world. It serves to give you some orientation, Valtl Ra≠einer says. “Most orchids are found near the equator in Asia, Central and South America”, he explains, pointing to the regions on the map. Whenever Raffeiner is not working at the park, he spends time with his family or travels the world. Strolling along the orchid path, he tells us about his adventures in the “real jungle”. In spite of being in charge of such a large business, he doesn’t seem stressed out at all. “You need to take the time to have a life”, he says. “That’s really important”.