Here’s a little skite (for overseas readers, a ‘skite’ is a boast) … and as it may be something that never happens to me again, I reckon I can get away with it.
In early October last year five New Zealand orchid judges turned up at my place to inspect one of my plants. I stayed out of the way and made a cuppa while they conferred, walking round the plant, looking at it closely, murmuring and making notes on official forms. Nerve-wracking.
The way the system works is that the judges who look at the plant can’t say one way or the other if an award will be given by the Orchid Council of New Zealand, as that organisation’s committee on awards (COA) has to meet and ratify all recommendations.
Last year was an unusual one for awards because not many orchid shows were held and shows are normally where the bulk of judging recommendations originate. To gain one of the several awards on offer, a plant has to achieve a minimum standard. A plant that doesn’t get the points across a variety of categories, doesn’t get a recommendation.
My plant was put forward to the COA and, after much impatient waiting from me, was given a Certificate of Cultural Commendation (CCC) which has a threshold of 80 points. My plant was given 85.5 points.
One of the nice things that happens when an award is made is that the owner, as well as being able to add the ‘letters’ of the award on to the plant’s name tag, can also give their plant a name that stays with that plant from then on (a cultural award is given to the grower, not the plant so the ‘letters’ stay with this plant only and don’t go with any divisions). I chose ‘Kotuku’ as the pure-white flowers with their feathery and winged look reminded me our native white heron.
Details about the plant are also sought, so fortunately I had a few records. Purchased in July 2013 at the BOP Orchid Society auction – that year it had 2 stems of flowers. After flowering last year I cut off 82 stems! For almost the entire year it grows outside, only moving under cover when the flowers start to open.