The entrance to the New House is a little green world under a rosemary bush, with antique benches and plants wherever we lay our eyes. The true stars of this porch, however, are the dozens of orchids Ana María Barberis has collected and cares for devotedly. Orchids are her passion, she explains; not in vain many visitors are fascinated with these enigmatic flowers, most of them native.
Orchids are, in fact, deeply intertwined in the region’s history. Of the more than 30000 species in the world, almost 3000 can be found in Peru. The edge of the Peruvian tropical rainforest, near the Sacred Valley, is ideal for these flowers: altitude, humidity, light, rocks and mountains make the environs of Machu Picchu the home of around 200 species. There are accounts of orchid gardens in the palaces of the incas and a legend about a princess who, separated from her beloved, ran in sorrow through the fields. Upon touching the ground, each tear was transformed into a beautiful orchid. It is called Waqanki, ‘you shall weep’ in quechua. This singular orchid, and every other native variety, can be found at Hacienda Huayoccari.