Waikato Orchid Society 60th jubilee

The rain may have been lashing down on Saturday but there was a cosy atmosphere inside the Pavilion at Hamilton Gardens where a group gathered to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Waikato Orchid Society with a sneak peek at the orchid show, which opened to the public the next day, and a special jubilee lunch.

Two of the founding members were on hand to help cut the cake – Elsie Young and Rae James – and show trophies were handed out, followed by some Orchid Council awards. Having had the event postponed last year, it was lovely just to be together and hear everyone sharing their memories.

Apparently someone (from Auckland) was reported as saying of the first show in 1963, “I never knew orchids could grow so well south of the Bombays”! Waikato Orchid Society hosted National Expos in 2000 and 2005, and another Expo will be held in the area in 2023.

The club opened with 47 members and has about the same membership now, but in the 1980s, in the heyday of commercial Cymbidium growers in New Zealand, had an almost unbelievable 500 financial members.

Grand Champion of the 2021 Waikato Orchid Society winter show was Paphiopedilum rothschildianum ‘New Horizon’ x ‘Raptor’ grown by Jason Strong of Napier. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Grand Champion of the Show was Paphiopedilum rothschildianum ‘New Horizon’ FCC/AOS x Raptor GM/JOGA, grown by Jason Strong of Napier. Reserve Champion was Dendrobium Jairak ‘Blue Star’ grown by Yvonne Tong of the local club who, incidentally, also had Reserve Champion at the 2019 show with the same plant.

Phragmepedium kovachii, native to the cloud forests of northern Peru, was named for science only in 2001. Photo: Sandra Simpson
A novelty prize was awarded to Cattleya Lucy Ingram – the oldest hybrid in the show, registered with the RHS in 1897. Photo: Sandra Simpson
Oncidium Calico Gem, grown by Helen Barrio. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Waikato Orchid Show

Popped over to the Waikato Orchid Show yesterday which was the main part of the Plant, Garden & Orchid Extravaganza at Hamilton Gardens. The gardens were heaving with people on a beautiful sunny Sunday and a Scarecrow festival to boot – great to see families, often of three generations, enjoying the beautiful surrounds.

Here’s a selection of orchids at the show (I heard from a reliable source that only 1 point separated the Champion and Reserve champion – an amazing couple of plants).

Grand Champion was (deep breath) Vanda Sankamphaeng Chao Phaya x Patcharee Delight grown by Laura Meijer. The flower was much darker than this, far more purple in it – unfortunately, Vandas rarely photograph true to colour. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Reserve champion was this eye-popping Lycaste Shugakuin grown by Bill Pepperill, which was a mass of flowers (and this isn’t all of them). Photo: Sandra Simpson

Champion novice bloom was Cymbidium Bulbarrow ‘Tepus’ grown by Colin Stephens. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Champion cattleya was Epidendrum Pacific Tiki Punch x Pacific Padre grown by Leroy Orchids of west Auckland. Photo: Sandra Simpson

The pretty little Sarchochilus orchids are coming into full bloom right now. This is Karen Ann, grown by M Timm, and First in its class. As well as the sparkling white flowers, it also has red stipples on the flower stems. Photo: Sandra Simpson

Also known as the leopard orchid, Ansellia gigantea is native to tropical and southern Africa. Not many African orchids are seen at shows. The plant, owned by Ron Reeves, was Second in its class. Photo: Sandra Simpson