As you start thinking of the new year and what you want to do during the coming year, take the time to look over the listing of available shows around the country published by the American Orchid Society or for a listing of orchid societies around the world The Orchid Mall has a listing of orchid societies all over the world many of which also have show schedules available online.
An orchid show is a place to see beautiful flowers and plants exhibited as well as to find good educational information on growing in your particular part of the world. The people there are growing locally and will be able to both tell and show you how their plants are grown. Most growers love to talk about their orchids with others who also grow them or want to grow them. Many societies will put on presentations about growing during the course of the show and you can learn a lot from them. Here’s a nice overview of South Bay Orchid Society “Orchid 101” schedule at their upcoming orchid show March 7 and 8. Very often they will have an “Orchid Doctor” who will look at plants brought in by the public and offer advice on what’s wrong and how to fix it.
Growers, societies, groups and individuals put together exhibits based on the show theme to highlight their plants. It takes a lot of work to have the plants in top condition just for the show and to set up even the smallest tabletop exhibit. Take the time to look and complement them. One of the most interesting aspects of this part of the show to me is to actually see the plants used. How big are the flowers? How big is the plant? Is it in a pot or in a hanging basket or on a mount? Each plant is labeled so you can find those that you like and then ask vendors if they are available in your area.
Of course, the biggest draw for the shows is the vendors who will have plants and supplies for sale. For me, this is one of the best parts of the shows. You get the see the plants – most in flower – before you buy them. There is no shipping and handling so you get more for your money. Meeting local vendors and starting a relationship with them will also be to your benefit. You can find out where they are and what hours they are open. Many vendors have open houses throughout the year and have educational days for both novice and experienced growers.