Tauranga Orchid Show winners

Not surprisingly Tauranga Orchid Society member Craig Parsons won large for his HUGE Dendrobium nobile that came complete with a section of tree trunk! Craig told the story of this plant in a 2018 post on the Tauranga Orchid Society website. Read it here. Craig’s plant won both the Natalie Simmonds Trophy for Champion Specimen Plant and the Grand Champion title.

Craig Parsons holds the Grand Champion tray, while beside him is the Natalie Simmonds Memorial Trophy for Champion Specimen Plant. Photo: Sandra Simpson
How big is the plant? This shot of it being prepared for its official photo gives some idea. From left, Craig Parsons, Chris Hubbert (Orchid Council of NZ) and Ute Rank. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Reserve Champion was Miltoniopsis Princess Diana ‘Red Baron’, a so-called pansy orchid grown by Hubert Musiers and Tania  Langen (Ninox Orchids) of Whangarei. Photo: Sandra Simpson
The Alec Roy Memorial Cup for Champion Cymbidium went to Cym. Night Jasmine ‘Kannika’ x Devonianum, bred and grown by Andy Price of Whakatane (Hinemoa Orchids). Photo: Sandra Simpson
It’s not often you have the person an orchid was named for and the orchid bearing that name in the same room, but here’s Kannika Price beside the orchid that bears her name. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Champion display: Helen McDonald 1st, Leroy Orchids (Whenuapai) 2nd, Patricia Hutchins (Sunvale Orchids, Gisborne) 3rd. All small displays and all beautifully presented. Great to see Helen and Patricia (both TOS members) do so well.

Tauranga Orchid Show

Great buzz on the show’s first day – don’t forget to come and see it ‘live’ tomorrow and Sunday, 10am-4pm. Here are a few photos to whet your appetite …

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The Asia stand. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Lots of koalas on the Australia stand. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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The Latin America stand is full of colour. The Asia stand. Photo: Sandra Simpson

It’s a good time of year to see beautiful Cymbidiums.

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Cymbidium devonianum x Night Jasmine ‘Kannika’, bred and grown by Andy Price of Hinemoa Orchids. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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This unnamed beauty was on the Asia stand of the Tauranga Orchid Society. Photo: Sandra Simpson

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Cymbidium Mont Niron ‘Trinity’, grown by Kevin Davey of the BOP Orchid Society. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Ringmaster Barry back in action

Barry Curtis could be called the voice of the Tauranga Orchid Show, thanks to the popular repotting demonstrations he has been running for several years – and he will be back again at this year’s show from Friday to Sunday at Tauranga Racecourse.

“I saw it as something I could do,” says Barry, who has been president of the Tauranga Orchid Society for about 10 years. “Having been a school principal, I am confident speaking to groups.”

After retiring from teaching in Auckland, Barry and wife Elizabeth moved to Tauranga to run a motel and also grew callas commercially in Pyes Pa. The couple shifted to just south of Katikati about 11 years ago.

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Barry Curtis with some of his beloved cymbidiums. Photo: Sandra Simpson

“My Dad grew a few cymbidiums in his tomato house and, when he was no longer able to care for them, I took them on,” Barry says. “I’ve always liked taking a plant and seeing what will come out of it – it doesn’t have to be the biggest or the best to interest me.”

Most hobby orchid growers start with cymbidiums and move on to more exotic plants but Barry has hundreds of the easy-to-grow beauties in his collection.

“The great thing about cymbidiums is that you don’t need an orchid house – they’re happy in the garden, particularly under trees. I keep mine in pots and growing bags so when they flower I can move them to the front door and enjoy them for months.”

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Cymbidiums love the outdoor conditions at Te Puna Quarry Park. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Barry, who is also a volunteer in the orchid garden at Te Puna Quarry Park, says that when it comes to growing orchids outside the only no-no is full (burning) sun. Filtered light is perfect.

“Pot them in bark, not soil, and put them in a pot that is only just big enough for the roots, otherwise it takes too long for the plant to feel happy. Orchids need repotting when the bark starts to break down because the soil-like crumbs suffocate the roots – in the wild, the vast majority of orchids don’t grow in soil so need air round their roots.”

In his talks, Barry also shares easy-to-understand information on how a cymbidium grows, including what the pseudo-bulbs do (food storage) and how to split a mature plant.

He says people often worry about which fertiliser to use but “you can use any house plant fertiliser if it is mixed below half the strength it says on the container”. Otherwise, his recommendation is to throw on a handful of slow-release fertiliser twice a year. Barry makes up a special slow-release mix for orchids that is available at the show for a reasonable price.

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Whakatane grower Andy Price specialises in unusually coloured cymbidiums. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Read my story about orchid shows from this month’s New Zealand gardener.

To find a New Zealand orchid show in an area near you, go here. September and October are prime months for shows. Orchid shows around the North Island are on the Events page on this website.