National Orchid Expo 2019

All my good intentions to post here during the Expo in Palmerston North last week were dashed when my little laptop went phut on day two! So here’s a round-up of the winning plants.

Displays came from as far afield as Canterbury and Whangarei orchid societies, speakers from Australia and flasks of seedling orchids from Taiwan and Thailand were for sale. The organisers did a marvellous job and some 2,600 people were reported to have visited the show over its three days.

Conrad Coenen (Tauranga Orchid Society) with his Cattleya intermedia variety orlata ‘Rio’, winner of two Champion rosettes. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Orchid Council of NZ awards for individual plants:

  • Champion Australasian native orchid: Dendrobium Jiggi, Bill Liddy (Hawkes Bay).
  • Champion Cattleya alliance & Champion specimen: Cattleya intermedia var. orlata ‘Rio’, Conrad Coenen (Tauranga).
  • Champion Cymbidium: Cym. Ace of Spies, Villa Orchids (Joe & Betty Vance, NZ Orchid Society).
  • Champion Dendrobium: Den. aphyllum, Barry Baxter (Waitakere).
  • Champion hybrid: Paphiopedilum Vogue Wonder ‘Shellnick’, grown by Chris Whitby (Hawkes Bay, but exhibiting on his own stand).
  • Champion miscellaneous genera: Lycaste Auburn, Conrad Coenen (Tauranga).
  • Champion Oncidiinae: Oncidium Golden Rialto, Leroy Orchids (Lee & Roy Neale, Waitakere).
  • Champion Paphiopedilum & Champion species: Phragmepidiumcaudatum ‘Jacqui’s Dream’, Thomas Petrie (Hawkes Bay but exhibiting on Chris Whitby’s commercial stand).
  • Champion Phalaenopsis alliance: Phal. Yu Pin Dream Girl, Gillian Lyster (Nelson).
  • Champion Pleione: Pln. Loulan ‘Elegance’, Graham Jackson (Manawatu).
  • Champion Pleurothallid alliance: Masdevallia Hot Shot ‘Tis Gorgeous’, Paul Topp (Wairoa).
  • Champion Sarcochilus: Sarc. falcatus ‘Ira Butler’, Janice Brown (Wellington).
  • Champion Vandaceous alliance: Aerangis fatuosa, Gillian Lyster (Nelson, a tiny plant).
Grand Champion of the show: Phragmepidium caudatum ‘Jacqui’s Dream’, grown by Thomas Petrie. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Thomas Petrie is only 33 and has been growing orchids for 15 years! He trained at Wellington Botanic Gardens. Read more about Thomas here. The same plant was the 2018 OCNZ Orchid of the Year so it has done well for Thomas.

Reserve champion: Paphiopedilum lowii ‘Katipo’ (Jason Strong, Hawkes Bay but exhibiting on Chris Whitby’s stand). Photo: Sandra Simpson

Display awards: Champion commercial display: Chris Whitby. Champion tabletop display: Nelson Orchid Society. Champion society display, small: NZ Paphiopedilum Alliance. Champion society display, large & Grand Champion display: Waitakere Orchid Society.

Tauranga’s Helen McDonald received a second placing for her table-top display, ‘Memories of Japan’. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Bill Liddy was presented with an Award of Honour for outstanding service to OCNZ, including his decade-long stewardship of the Iwitahi Native Orchid Reserve (on the Napier-Taupo highway), and Colin McKenzie of the Otago Orchid Club, which is in its final year of existence, received a Special Service Award. Colin joined not long after the club was formed in 1976 and has been president for many years. The club had the champion display the last time the Expo was held in Palmerston North (2010).

And don’t forget that the Tauranga Orchid Show is rapidly approaching – October 11-13 at the racecourse, open 10am-4pm daily.

2019 Waikato Orchid Society Winter Show

Good lot of flowering plants and visitors at yesterday’s winter show in Hamilton Gardens. Hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed seeing the plants!

Champion plant was Cattleya Chocolate Treats ‘Ross’ grown by Leroy Orchids (Lee and Roy Neale, Waitakere Orchid Society) which had a staggering nine stems in flower. This is a cold-growing plant (formerly Lc) that can bloom twice a year. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Reserve Champion was awarded to Dendrobium Jairak Blue Star, grown by Yvonne Tong of the Waikato Orchid Society. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Cattleya (formerly Slc) Fire Magic, exhibited by Alan and Cheryl Locke of the Waikato Orchid Society. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Vanda Heather’s World was grown by Glenn and Manee Poffley of the Howick Orchid Society. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Sophronitis cernua, a warm-growing orchid from Brazil, was shown by Conrad Coenen of the Tauranga Orchid Society. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Australian native orchid Dendrobium teretifolum var. auerum was grown by Spencer Hillmer of the Waikato Orchid Society. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Rechingerara Leroy’s Wonder ‘Magenta Magic’ was shown by Leroy Orchids. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Cymbidium Mad Pixie ‘Salinas Gift’ x Ben Singer ‘Geyserland’ was shown by Alan Napper of the host society. Photo: Sandra Simpson
This Stenorrhynchos speciosum ‘CH’ x sib, a terrestrial orchid from Mexico and Central America, was grown by Conrad Coenen. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Pterostylis Nodding Grace, another terrestrial orchid, was shown by Ninox Orchids of Whangarei. P. Nodding Grace is a hybrid of two Australian native greenhood orchids. Read more here. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Orchid champions 2017

The Tauranga Orchid Show is proving a great success – so many people have said they’re smiling all the way round the Alice in Orchidland display, which is beautifully supported by displays from the BOP Orchid Society, Whangarei Orchid Society, Leroy Orchids and the BOP Bromeliad Group.

Last day tomorrow at Tauranga Racecourse from 10am-4pm, $3 entry.

The judges did their thing this morning and the results are …

Grand Champion: Cattleya jongheana grown by Helen McDonald. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Reserve Champion: Cattleya Tricky Michelle x Ctt Aussie Sunset, grown by Lee and Roy Neale of Auckland (Leroy Orchids). Photo: Sandra Simpson

Best Specimen Plant: Coelogyne cristata grown by Conrad Coenen of Apata. Conrad wins the new Natalie Simmonds Trophy, seen with the plant. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Orchids ahoy!

Apologies for not getting this posted sooner but I found myself exhausted after two half-days at the Te Puke Orchid Show – obviously, not getting any younger!

Despite a strange growing season – very hot and very humid for a long period – there was a nice display from both Bay of Plenty and Tauranga orchid societies, plus displays from commercial growers.

The champion orchid was last year’s reserve champion, so well done to Carl Christensen of Napier.

Oncidium trulliforum, grown by Carl Christensen of Napier. Photo: Sandra Simpson.

The plant also received an award from the national Orchid Council and Lee Neale was delegated to count the flowers!

Reserve champion went to Thomas Brown of Whangarei with his delicately coloured Ascocenda orchid.

Ascocenda Charlie Barg x Ascocenda Varot Gold, grown by Thomas Brown of Whangarei. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Thomas Brown was for a number of years head grower at the Eric Young Orchid Foundation on the island of Jersey but these days runs Kentia Palms in Whangarei, a business that also includes orchids.

With orchid enthusiasts visiting from Auckland, Taranaki, Whakatane and Hamilton, the show was a great place for good advice! For your enjoyment, here are some of the beauties that were in the displays.

Ornithophora radicans. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Cattleya Lulu x Cattleya Summerland Girl was on the display table of Lee and Roy Neale (LeRoy Orchids). Photo: Sandra Simpson

Attracting attention on the Neales’ display was Epidendrum Snow Cocktail x Pacific Sunset x Pacific Darling. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Dracula chimaera, grown by Conrad Coenen of Apata (near Tauranga), is also known as the monkey-face orchid. Photo: Sandra Simpson


Orchid evaporation

Tauranga has this weekend played host to a national seminar for orchid judges, which culminates this afternoon in the annual meeting of the Orchid Council of New Zealand. The Tauranga Orchid Society has organised not only a premises and display plants for the seminar, but also last night organised a dinner at the race-course for seminar registrants, as well as members of both the Tauranga and Bay of Plenty orchid societies, and it was a chance for the Tauranga group to mark its 35th birthday. (The seasoned members of the committee know what they’re about and it’s run like clockwork with very little input from committee newbies needed.)

Judges had come from all over the country – from the Bay of Islands to Otago and all points in between – for the seminar.

Guest speaker was Roy Walker who talked about “evaporation” as it applies to orchid society memberships throughout the country. Too many snowy tops in the room, he reckoned, and went on to challenge the Auckland region societies to increase their membership – having fewer than 1000 combined membership across four societies wasn’t good enough in an area with a population of more than 1 million – and the incoming national councillors to do something about making membership more attractive to younger people.

Roy’s talk caused cheers and, occasionally, jeers and one non-orchid person present commented that “some people in the room were not impressed”. I didn’t think I was hearing anything I hadn’t worked out for myself so maybe it was Roy’s somewhat idiosyncratic approach. Anyway, he did what a guest speaker should do – offered some laughs and was thought-provoking. Here is the evening in a few photos.

Roy Neale introduces guest speaker Roy Walker. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The New Zealand branch of the Cymbidium Society of America (CSA) took the opportunity to hand out awards from the parent organisation.

Joe Vance (left), president of the New Zealand CSA branch, presents an award to Conrad Coenen of Tauranga. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Yvonne and Allan Rae of Palmerston North with their CSA awards. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Susan Tucker accepts two CSA awards from Joe Vance. Ross Tucker was in the audience but told to sit down and let Susan take the limelight for a change! Photo: Sandra Simpson

Betty Vance kisses away the tear that rolled down Joe’s cheek when the couple’s three CSA awards were announced – for orchids they bred themselves. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Lee Neale receives a CSA Award for Leroy Orchids from Joe Vance. Photo: Sandra Simpson

After a delicious roast meal, the Tauranga Orchid Society marked its 35th birthday with the cutting of an enormous carrot cake (in fact, there were two of the delicious things to make sure we had enough to go round) – founding president Ron Maunder did the honours.

Founding president of the Tauranga Orchid Society Ron Maunder (left) with current president Barry Curtis just before the cake cutting. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The final presentation was somewhat spontaneous as the recipient couldn’t be there until just as the evening was ending, but the surprise and delight on his face was lovely to see. Bill Pepperell of the Waikato Orchid Society has grown the bloom named as the New Zealand Orchid of the Year – Fredclarkeara After Dark ‘Toulmx’, a black orchid. See a photo here.

Bill Pepperell with his framed certificate and photo of his orchid, presented by Margaret Lomas of the Orchid Council of New Zealand. Photo: Sandra Simpson

And why were we all there, whether judges or not? For the love of these extraordinary plants and flowers …

Dracula wallisii grown by Audrey Hewson of Tauranga. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Calanthe vestita, a terrestrial orchid that is deciduous, grown by Dennis Chuah of Auckland. Photo: Sandra Simpson

An orchid that looks more like a bromeliad or a hosta – Stenorrhynchos speciosum is native to Mexico and Central America. Photo: Sandra Simpson

This ball of Epidendrum porpax was transported carefully from and to New Plymouth by Joy Wray. Photo: Sandra Simpson

To find out where your nearest orchid society is in New Zealand, click here.

Te Puke Orchid Show 2015

Spent the morning at the Te Puke Orchid show – it’s on until 4pm today and tomorrow (April 11) from 10am-4pm and I can honestly say the $3 entry is well worth it. There is, as usual, a great display of flowering plants, plenty of orchids for sale (yes, I bought some more), other plants for sale, paintings for sale, orchid growing supplies (pots, bark, stakes, etc), raffles and a nice cuppa with home baking in the side room. You’ll find the show in the Memorial Hall in Te Puke’s main street.

As well as members of the host BOP Orchid Society selling plants, there are also a number of out-of-town commercial growers with orchids for sale, plants that you may not find elsewhere.

Here are a few photos from today to whet your appetite.

Tauranga Orchid Society vice-president Conrad Coenen decided to have some fun with the society’s display, cheekily titled ‘Fifty Shades of Autumn’. The male gardener is wearing a pair of furry handcuffs and has plenty of rope beside him (I’m not going to ask where the props came from!). Photo: Sandra Simpson

The dramatic colours of the slipper orchid, Paphiopedilum maudiae x maudiae. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Dendrobium subclausum var subclausum flowers on bare canes. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Miltonia Mayflower x Goodale Moir. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Granny’s Delirium

Been at the Tauranga Racecourse for most of the day, helping to put together the display for the three-day Tauranga Orchid Society show that opens tomorrow (10am-4pm each day).

Granny’s Orchid Delirium has been devised by the society’s vice-president Conrad Coenen and is a walk through Granny’s parlour then out past her patio, enjoying flowering orchids of all shapes, sizes and colours.

The Welcome sign. Photo: Sandra Simpson

I’ve lifted furniture, cut cloth, held stuff steady (although was unable to manage a staple gun, those things are hard to fire!), unloaded plants from cars, unpacked plants from crates and placed plants in the display under the watchful eye of those more experienced.

Conrad (left), Ute and nutty Bob. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Ute and I became the origami twins, wrapping framework in black cloth to match the in-situ black dividing panels and so creating the walls of the display. I also reckoned we could probably upscale and become the new Christo such was the neatness of our work. Oh, okay, Ute’s work.

Who is this Granny we’re talking about? Well, she’s a widow with a wide circle of friends and a loving family, but she’s kind of lost the plot after being given an orchid in bloom and has definitely caught orchid fever (no known cure).

Conrad and his Granny (left). Photo: Sandra Simpson

To find out more, come along to the Racecourse in Greerton – there are lots of plants for sale so you may find yourself infected by the same bug as Granny.

Rare chance to see

Had a marvellous time at the BOP Orchid Society show in Te Puke yesterday – lots of photos, lots of chat and bought a few plants.

The show is on again until 4pm today so if you’re in the area and you want to see some beautiful specimens make sure you go along to the Memorial Hall in the main street. Russell Hutton of Auckland, who has a sales table, has mounted a gorgeous towering display of flowering plants, many of them not often seen.

But the orchid I’m featuring here is in the main display and owned by Conrad Coenen of Apata (you may remember Conrad won the supreme award at last year’s Tauranga Orchid Society show, with another plant).

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Stanhopea oculata grown by Conrad Coenen. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Stanhopea oculata isn’t, in itself, that rare or unusual. What is unusual is that it is rarely seen in shows. Why? I’ll let Conrad explain.

“It had been in bud for about 2 weeks and was showing no sign at all of opening. So to try and encourage it, I moved the plant inside for a bit more warmth. Still nothing.

“So on Thursday morning after we’d had our morning coffee my wife and I breathed on it and lo and behold, the buds began to open sequentially all the way down the stem – and in about 15 or 20 minutes the whole spike was open … and by Sunday it will be finished.

“By the way, I don’t think our coffee breath had anything to do with it, it was just the right time for it to open.”

And that’s why Stanhopeas are so rarely shown – the show has to be perfectly timed to catch a flower that opens quickly and lasts just two or three days. (Compare that to Dianne Hintz’ Phalaenopsis White Witch which has been in flower for 18 months and shows no sign of fading!)

But what caught my attention about this plant was its perfume – walking by the part of the display it’s in I couldn’t help but turn towards it, lean in and try and identify which flower the amazing scent was coming from. Conrad describes it as vanilla-peppermint-chocolate. I couldn’t break it down into anything particular but it was phenomenal.

Stanhopea oculata is native to Central America and, like all Stanhopeas, must be basket grown and the basket lined with soft material as the flower spikes push out underneath the plant (ie, it flowers through the bottom of the basket).

Orchid Show, Part 2

Popped back to the Tauranga Orchid Show today, this time taking my tripod with me! (It makes a difference, believe me.) The show was judged this morning and so I was able to get photos of the grand champion – orchid and grower.

Conrad Coenen and his Grand Champion zygopetalum. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The champion orchid is a striking and dramatic colour combination, a deep plum that is almost black in places with green-outlined petals and a white-edged fall.

Conrad, who is vice-president of the society, and his partner Judy Shapland have a sales table at the show so if you’re going tomorrow, drop by and say hello. Judy is into clivias and breeds her own – her big event is coming up on October 6 with the Tauranga Clivia Display (see the Events page for details).

Reserve Champion is a gorgeous cymbidium, a striking burnished copper colour (grower Andy Price of Whakatane).

Reserve Champion, Tauranga Orchid Show 2013.

Another couple of people you should wave to at the show are Mary Parkinson and her sister Jo Dawkins who are beavering away just inside the entry. They work hard every year making up posies on the spot for people to buy and take home, one of the few times of the year they can be torn away from Te Puna Quarry Park where both are volunteers.

Jo Dawkins (left) and Mary Parkinson in among the flowers.

The Quarry Park’s new event – Spring Fling – is on next Sunday to celebrate gardens and gardening. Jo is leading a small group of organisers and Mary is planning some special butterfly events. See the Events page for details.