Pleading with their plants to go from bud to bloom, begging their plants to hold off opening flowers fully until next week, local hobby growers of orchids are anticipating the annual Naples Orchid Show and Sale next Friday (March 19, 2010).
Thousands of orchids of all kinds are being groomed, clipped and staked to compete or be sold in the show of the year, judged by teams of expert judges from the American Orchid Society. This is the Naples “Westminster” of Orchidaceae, the Oscars of the orchid world, the Olympics of artistic arrangement. Between this weekend and next, a flurry of frantic activity will take place, readying the show for public eyes.
What does that mean? It means when you walk into the show, you will be transported to “Jewels in Paradise,” the show theme for this year. The sights and smells of orchid perfume will provide a springtime garden atmosphere. Four large floor displays, each put together by one of the orchid nurseries selling at the show this year, will take center stage. These showcase specimen plants, the very best that the four commercial growers can produce to show off their wares. This year, several members of Naples Orchid Society will also compete in the large floor-display category.
Other members will be busy staging containers or tabletop displays for the competition. Containers are arrangements of not more than seven living plants in any kind of receptacle and are limited to 24 inches square and a height of 48 inches.
To win the competition in any category, the plants are polished to look their best. Dead leaves and spent flowers are removed, straggly roots are clipped or tucked in, leaves are wiped down with lemon juice to remove water spots and to make them shine. The flowers are staked with unobtrusive stakes to show their faces to the audience. The base, which underlies the plants in the container or on the table-top, provides stability and a topography to the overall miniature garden and takes ingenuity and knowledge of what works best to put it together.
Cut flowers are another category for members to enter, featuring their freshest orchid flowers in 14 inches wide and 20-inch-high arrangements. Earlier this year, long-time NOS member Anne Knox held a class, along with award winnerTricia Rose, to teach other members secrets of successful construction in these two classes of competition.
Individual plant competition is the one category open to the public. Orchid plants must be pest and disease-free, grown by the owner for at least six months, and remain in place for the duration of the show.
All entries will be accepted from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. next Thursday at the Naples United Church of Christ. All entrants must read and abide by the rules and regulations of the show, which can be found under member resources on the NOS Web site:
There’s more show information is located at the Web site as well.