It’s not every day your gran turns 90. To celebrate this momentous milestone, Gregg Brill, an avid orchid grower, named a new hybrid after his gran, Stirling Lodge resident Helen Brill.
Gregg has been growing orchids for over 10 years and has around 1,000 plants in his greenhouse in Cape Town. He is also the president of the Cape Orchid Society in the mother city, the second oldest orchid society in Africa.
He has travelled all over the world in search of orchids, including the rainforests of Columbia, Ecuador and Costa Rica, through to the swamps of Prince Edward Island in Canada. He has attended two World Orchid Conferences, in Johannesburg in 2014 and Guayaquil, Ecuador in 2017.
He champions two orchid conservation projects, one in the Western Cape where the project repopulates areas with endangered disa species, and the other in Kruger Park, where he grows the iconic leopard orchid (Ansellia africana).
When Gregg flowered a new orchid, a hybrid between Angulocaste Glencoe and Lycaste deppei, he knew that it was very special.
He contacted the Royal Horticultural Society at Kew Gardens in England to see if it had been named yet. When he got the news that this particular hybrid was not registered, he jumped at the opportunity to name it after his gran.
To mark Helen’s 90th birthday, Gregg registered the orchid as Angulocaste Helen’s Grace – a play on his gran’s full name – Helen Grace Brill.