Precious cargo

Orchids were being packed this afternoon for tomorrow’s trip to Auckland – yes, the long-awaited Orchid + Flower Show is nearly here. Tomorrow and Tuesday are display set-up at the ASB Showgrounds, with the show opening to the public on Thursday. We’re hoping that having had a good practice run with our display at our own show last weekend it will all be done in a snap tomorrow with Tuesday left for tweaking.

The display is being driven up by Tauranga Orchid Society president Barry Curtis, along with a good number of orchids, while there’s at least one other carload going up tomorrow, and a couple of people keeping a watching brief on particular orchids with a view to driving them up on Tuesday if they burst into bloom!

Packing the trailer took some thought – Tetris with plants, wooden crates, sun umbrella stands and collapsible tables! Photo: Sandra Simpson

It’s my first national orchid show so there’s plenty of learning, even at this early stage. I took some orchids that hadn’t been in flower for our show for assessment this afternoon. Two have made the grade so will be part of the precious cargo on the road tomorrow – an Arpophyllum giganteum that’s juuuust coming into flower and a large Dendrobium speciosum cross that’s in full flush. I’m looking forward to seeing them on our display (which gets judged as a whole, as well as all the plants being judged individually).

Moving trailing blooms long distance and keeping them in good order requires some clever thinking and Helen McDonald, who judges at international shows, came up with a solution for John Edwards’ lovely Coelogyne cristata. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Every plant has to be named to the satisfaction of the judges and show marshal – and with some orchids (Cattleya, Laelia and cousins I’m looking at you) changing their names on a regular basis that means checking and double-checking every plant label and, if need be, writing a new one.

We have a member who will be hand-writing on site all the plant labels for the display.

I’ll be at the show from Wednesday so, if the motel connection lets me, will post some details and photos as events unfold.

The owner of the plant below has clearly has some practise at moving his or her plants around. I got a crash-course lesson and left the 13 spikes on my D. speciosum wrapped in white, mostly to protect them from jiggling too much against the plant’s tough leaves.

How to protect orchid flowers while in transit – a beautiful trio of Cattleya Helen Gasko. Photo: Sandra Simpson



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