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.

National Orchid Show

Your reporter has spent the day going round and round – the exhibits, the sales stands – and met many orchid enthusiasts who are, well, all enthusing about the flowers on display, the displays themselves and swapping ideas and information, and generally having a whale of a time.

Winners were announced last night so it was great to see the ribbons beside plants and on displays today (one of the rosettes was pinned on to the Leroy Orchids display by yours truly – but just because I happened to be passing!).

Bob Hamilton from northern California was the first speaker and gave a fascinating talk about the history of orchids in cultivation, particularly Odontogloussums, which are his speciality.

But enough from me – I’ll let a few photos do the talking. The expo forms part of the Orchid + Flower Show and is at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland, finishing on Sunday.

Jenny’s had her champion plant for years and was thrilled with its success, especially as the contingent coming from New Plymouth had to deal with roads blocked by slips!

Jenny had several other plants with prize certificates, among them a ball of Dinema polybulbon (below). She told me some funny stories about transporting oddly shaped plants to shows, including standing a tall plant in the toilet of her motorhome to keep it steady.

Coelogyne lawrenceana (below) won Graham Jackson of the Manawatu Society a Champion species rosette, while the display as a whole took out the under 12 square metre title.

Commercial growers have mounted displays as well – one of the largest is by Tropifolia of Auckland, which had passersby ooh-ing and aah-ing at the banks of Phalaenopsis orchids (below, yellow is apparently the trend of the moment for these flowers).

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Phalaenopsis OX Little Moon won the Champion award for its class. Photo: Sandra Simpson